Watch Stefi Cohen’s New World Record 518lb Deadlift at 119lb Bodyweight

Dr. Stefanie Cohen needs no introduction for most powerlifters. A force in the sport, she also has a state record in Olympic weightlifting and spent time as a member of the under 17 Venezuelan soccer team, but it’s fair to say she’s best known for her deadlift strength. She enjoys doing what many thought were impossible, first coming to the attention of many powerlifters last August when she became the first woman to pull four times her bodyweight raw. That was a 485-pound (220kg) deadlift at 121 pounds (55kg) bodyweight.

Nine months later, she made a 518-pound deadlift (that’s 235 kilograms) at 119.4 pounds (54.1kg) bodyweight. This was one of the standout lifts from the Kern US Open, one of the year’s most hotly anticipated powerlifting meets. Watch it below.

[Read our interview with Cohen to learn the most important lifting lessons she’s learned throughout her career.]

This is now the all-time world record deadlift for the -123lb weight class and for a hot second she also had the best Wilks score of all time with 642.78, until she was bested by Chakera “C.C.” Holcomb, who competed in the -181lb weight class. Holcomb set several world records of her own: the squat with wraps (617lb), deadlift (606lb), and total (1,587lb).

Cohen squatted 200kg/441lb and benched 97.5kg/215lb for a phenomenal world record total of 1,174 pounds (532.5 kilograms). She wrote of the meet,

Skipping my graduation commencement ceremony was a tough thing to do but absolutely worth it. The platform is where my heart is.

The last 6 months of training in preparation for this meet were absolutely brutal since my time and energy were limited by school and clinical rotations.

Now that that’s over I’m ready to train full time for the first time in my life and give it 110% of my effort.

What’s crazy is that this is far from the heaviest deadlift we’ve seen from her. That would be when we saw her at the Arnold Classic this March deadlifting 545 pounds (247.2 kilograms), a huge 27 pounds heavier than her world record.

The 26-year-old just finished up her physical therapy degree and has started her phD in sports medicine at the University of Miami. Combined with her job as a coach and co-owner of Hybrid Performance Method, she’ll have her hands full for the next few years — but we’re pretty confident she’ll keep breaking deadlift records.

Featured image via @fraziergraphix and @steficohen on Instagram.


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Nick is a content producer and journalist with over seven years’ experience reporting on four continents. His first articles about health were on a cholera outbreak in rural Kenya while he was reporting for a French humanitarian organization. His next writing job was covering the nightlife scene in Shanghai. He’s written on a lot of different kinds of things, but his passion for health ultimately led him to cover it full time.Shanghai was where he managed to publish his first health related article (it was on managing diarrhea), he then went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before he finished his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and headed to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.Nick’s interest in health kind of comes from an existential angle: how are we meant to live? How do we reach our potential? Does the body influence the mind? (Believe it or not, his politics Master’s focused on religion.)Questions like these took him through a lot of different areas of health and fitness like gymnastics, vegetarianism, kettlebell training, fasting, CrossFit, Paleo, and so on, until he realized (or decided) that strength training fit best with the ideas of continuous, measurable self improvement.At BarBend his writing focuses a little more on nutrition and long-form content with a heaping dose of strength training. His underlying belief is in the middle path: you don’t have to count every calorie and complete every workout in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and a stronger body. Plus, big traps are cool.