BarBend’s Top 10 Strength Feats and Performances of 2017

As 2017 comes to a close, we wanted to take some time to reflect on some of this year’s biggest lifts and performances across all strength sports. We chose our top picks based off multiple pieces of criteria, which included records broken, commanding athlete performances, and what was most read on our site.

It’s worth noting this list has a level of subjectivity to it, and there are many more fantastic performances that deserved recognition throughout the year (many of which we hope we covered!).

The list below is in no particular order, and the 1-10 numbers are simply there to organize our favorite ten 2017 strength moments. And more than likely we missed a few lifts that you feel should have made it, so let us know your favorites in the comments below!

1. Stefi Cohen Deadlifts 525 lbs at 123 lbs Bodyweight

Cohen had an electric 2017, and it started with her goal to deadlift 4x bodyweight in competition. After accomplishing this feat in August, she turned her attention to hitting 500 lbs, and soon broke that goal within a month.

Fast forward to October when she was at an event in New York City and put on a show pulling a massive 525 lbs (well above her 500 lb goal). Check it out below.

2. Eddie Hall Wins the 2017 World’s Strongest Man

Eddie “The Beast” Hall had been aiming to own the World’s Strongest Man title for most of his strength sports career. In fact, many athletes relate to him due to his insane work ethic and his complete determination towards his goals (the 500kg deadlift, and so forth). And let’s not forget about his 216kg axle press world record he set back in April 2017.

Since winning the 2017 World’s Strongest Man, Hall has continued training, and we’re curious to see what 2018 has in store for this professional strongman.

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[What does the future hold for professional strongman Eddie Hall? Read our interview with him to learn more!]

3. Jennifer Thompson Benches 142.5kg at 60.8kg Bodyweight

Jennifer Thompson’s bench press is often considered one of the most impressive feats of strength in all of strength sports. Thompson regularly competes at 63kg and 72kg, and she holds records for the bench press in both weight classes for the IPF.

In March, Thompson crushed a 142.5kg (314 lbs) bench press at the 2017 Arnold Classic to claim a new world record for the 63kg weight class. Check out the huge lift below.

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4. Lasha Talakhadze Snatches 220kg

Georgian weightlifter Lasha Talakhadze made history at this year’s IWF World Championships by hitting the heaviest snatch ever recorded in international competition. In November, Talakhadze hit a 220kg snatch at the Georgian Nationals, so there was speculation as to whether he’d attempt at Worlds. Spoiler alert: He did.

Check out the epic world record 220kg snatch below.

5. Mat Fraser’s 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games Performance

There’s no denying that Mat Fraser had an outstanding performance at this year’s Reebok CrossFit Games. This was his second year winning in a row, and it seemed his performance only picked up as the Games went on. Fraser finished first in four of the last eight events.

In the final event, Fraser could be seen smiling with pure joy as his second consecutive Reebok CrossFit Games title began to resonate as reality.

6. Sarah Robles Wins Gold at Weightlifting World Championships

2016 Olympic Bronze Medalist Sarah Robles put on an outstanding performance at the 2017 IWF World Championships. She competed in the +90kg weight class and became the first American woman to be named a World Champion in weightlifting since Robin Byrd Goad in 1994.

Robles won gold in the snatch, clean & jerk, and total.

7. Ray Williams Squats 477.5kg Raw

As Williams says, “It’s money time!” At this year’s Arnold Classic, Williams competed in the Sling Shot Pro American and put on an amazing performance. Late in 2016 at USAPL Raw Nationals, Williams became the first ever powerlifter to squat 1,000 lbs raw in competition, and he’s done it multiple times since then.

At this year’s Raw Nationals, Williams barely missed a 490kg squat attempt. Check out his epic 477.5kg raw squat below.

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8. Yury Belkin Deadlifts 440kg at a 103kg Bodyweight

“Deadlift” and “Yury Bekin” continue to become more and more synonymous. Belkin has smashed multiple all-time powerlifting records for the deadlift, and he claimed the 242 lb all-time world record in October at the World Raw Powerlifting Federation’s World Championships.

Belkin pulled a monstrous 440kg beltless with a hook grip at a bodyweight of 103kg. Check out the insane feat of strength below.

9. 18 Year Old Joseph Pena Squats 1,025 lbs

Texas high schooler Joseph Pena recorded an epic squat back in March at the annual Texas High School Power Association’s Boys State Meet. Pena competed equipped and hit an epic 1,025 lb squat, which would be an IPF sub-junior world record had it been done in an IPF competition.

Pena ended up finishing the meet first with a crazy 2,145 lb total.

10. Kimberly Walford Deadlifts 257.5kg

Well-known powerlifter Kimberly Walford hit a ridiculous deadlift at this year’s Sling Shot Pro American Deadlift Competition, which took place at the Arnold Classic in March. Walford ended up deadlifting 257.5kg (567 lbs) at a bodyweight of 71kg. This deadlift tops the current world record of 243kg (which Walford also holds) by 14.5kg.

While this deadlift didn’t count as a world record due to it being a deadlift-only contest, it was a ridiculous feat of strength that deserves all the recognition we can give it.

Final 2017 Thoughts

Honestly, this list only scratches the service of some of the best lifts and performances of 2017, and it would be impossible to list off every feat worth mentioning, but we feel this is a great start. We’re excited to see what 2018 has in-store for strength sports as they continue to grow in the public eye.

If you have any recommendations for what or who should be on the list that we missed, comment them below for others to read and see!

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