Professional Strongwoman Andrea Thompson is looking for her third world record of 2020 on Sunday, October 4th when she attempts to break the women’s deadlift record which is currently set at 683 pounds. Previously, Thompson set new records for the women’s elephant bar deadlift (281.7 kg/621 lbs) at the Arnold’s Sports Festival earlier this year and the women’s log lift (135 kg/297.7 lbs) as part of the World’s Ultimate Strongman Feats of Strength Series.
Well, at least someone is having a decent year.
In a recent interview with Barbend, Thompson told us she initially became aware of strongwoman competitions while doing CrossFit at her local gym. She says she was performing the workout “Grace” which consists of 30 clean and jerks for time at 95 pounds, when a coach took note of her prowess.
“She said I’ve never seen anyone do it as fast as you have and make it look really easy,” recounts Thompson. “You need to go into strength sports.”
Naturally, Thompson enrolled herself in Britain’s Strongest Woman straightaway with less than six weeks to prepare. She said that despite her lack of basic knowledge in the sport she felt confident in her deadlifting abilities early on.
“I found a coach – He actually suggested I do a smaller competition first so I went into a local competition which was another qualifier,” said Thompson. “And I came in first after two weeks of training.”
After finding early success back in 2015, Thompson made the difficult decision to drop CrossFit and focus entirely on strongwoman training. Over the course of the next five years, Thompson would go on to win Britain’s Strongest Woman four times as well as World’s Strongest Woman in 2018.
“Because I had just done the deadlift at the Arnold in March, my body was actually still recovering and I didn’t want to go and do another deadlift,” said Thompson. “The overhead – the log was the next best thing. I knew I was really good at it. Just not very technically good.”
Of course, Thompson has always known the deadlift is right in her wheelhouse. Shortly after fellow strongwoman Kristin Rhodes set the new women’s elephant bar deadlift record at 616 pounds (279 kilos), Thompson bested her with a monstrous 621 pounds (281 kilos) lift.
Thompson admits that the primary reason she struggled with the clean at first was because it wasn’t heavy enough (same, right?) and she often found herself relying too much on her bicep strength. However, once she set her sights on breaking the world record she knew she would have to buckle down and really hone her technique.
“It was a normal squat, overhead and deadlift program but focused more heavily on the overhead,” said Thompson. “A lot of assistance work – holding the log to my chest and gently dipping…Because my weakness was coming forward.”
Thompson said her last month of training was solely focused on overhead work as her debut on World’s Ultimate Strongman Feats of Strength series approached. Despite the previous women’s log lift record standing at a shade under 130 kilos, Thompson knew she wanted more all along.
“For me to do 130 kilos was about 500 grams more than what Dani [Danielle Vaji] had done and I was like, no one wants to break the record by 1 kilo. That’s really boring!”
Thompson says that she reached an agreement with her coach, Laurence “Big Loz” Shahlaei, that if she was feeling good after hitting 130 kilos she would go for 135 kilos. After a mishap on her first attempt, she regrouped and bested the world record she had just set.
I knew what I wanted. I wasn’t there just to break the record – I was there to take it properly.
Feature image from @worldsultimatestrongman on Instagram