Superheavyweight powerlifter Tiny Meeker has gone where no other lifter in history has before. He advanced the equipped bench press world record to a staggering 510.29 kilograms (1,125 pounds). Meeker performed the lift wearing a multi-ply suit in bench-press-only competition at the 2021 International Powerlifting Association (IPA) Nationals at age 50. According to Open Powerlifting, it was 10.2 kilograms (22.5 pounds) heavier than his previous competition-best lift scored in 2013 at the USA-UA Lady Cougar Fundraiser Meet.
At the time of the lift, Meeker weighed 145.2 kilograms (320.1 pounds), meaning his new world record is just over 3.5 times his bodyweight. Check out the world record lift in the video below, courtesy of Meeker’s Instagram page:
View this post on Instagram
[Related: Powerlifter Angel Flores Featured on Season 6 of Netflix’s “Queer Eye”]
History of the Equipped Bench Press World Record
Heading into the 2021 IPA Nationals, Meeker’s 500-kilogram (1,102.3-pound) bench press from 2013 in the multi-ply division in the +140-kilogram weight class was his heaviest bench press to date. For context as to just how heavy that is, it is a single kilogram shy of matching the all-time heaviest deadlift scored by 2018 World’s Strongest Man champion Hafthor Björnsson.
Will Barotti held the all-time world record in the superheavyweight class with his 503.4 kilograms (1,109.8 pounds) lift at the 2020 Metal Militia (MM) World Championships promoted by Meeker in Unlimited competition. The all-time world record belonged to Jimmy Kolb, who scored a 508-kilogram (1,120-pound) press at the 2021 IPA Strength Spectacular in the 140-kilogram weight class wearing a single-ply suit.
Per Open Powerlifting, the two athletes closest to Meeker in the superheavyweight multi-ply record books are Ryan Kennelly and Scot Mendelson. Kennelly bench pressed 487.5 kilograms (1,074.8 pounds) at the 2008 United Powerlifting Association (UPA) Power Weekend. Four months later that same year, Mendelson locked out 465 kilograms (1,025.2 pounds) at the 2008 World Powerlifting Congress (WPC) World Championships. Twelve days before Mendelson scored that lift, Kennelly hit a 4876-kilogram (1,075-pound) bench press at the 2008 PRIDE Strength Wars in the 140-kilogram class.
When taking into account the heaviest bench presses ever, regardless of division, the following three lifts are the all-time heaviest:
All-Time Heaviest Bench Press
- Tiny Meeker — 510.29 kilograms (1,125 pounds) | Multi-ply
- Jimmy Kolb — 508 kilograms (1,120 pounds) | Single-ply
- Will Barotti — 503.4 kilograms (1,109.8 pounds) | Unlimited
After Meeker scored the new all-time world record, he did not rest on his laurels. He attempted to break the world record again via a milestone of 544.3 kilograms (1,200 pounds). Though unsuccessfully, he did manage to maintain the weight halfway through the press before signaling to his spotters that he couldn’t lock it out. Check out that attempt in the video below:
View this post on Instagram
[Related: The Best Strength Sports Moments in 2021]
Since making his competitive powerlifting debut at age 24 in 1996, Meeker has competed in 78 sanctioned meets. In every event he posted a total, he stood on the podium. His most notable wins are the 1998 Natural Athlete Strength Association (NASA) World Cup and 10 World Association of Bench Pressers and Deadlifters (WABDL) titles (2001-02, 2005, 2007-13). Meeker is likely to make another attempt at 544.3 kilograms (1,200 pounds) in 2022. He’s proven he is one of a very select few who could potentially lock it out.
Featured image: @tinymeeker on Instagram