Back in the mid-2000s, feats of strength were mostly static for fans. Most were stills from powerlifting or bodybuilding magazines, and internet image search was in its infancy. And video? Forget about it. Back before everyone had a 4k setup in their pocket, weightlifting, powerlifting, and strongman meets – with a few exceptions – were only filmed with bulky setups or not at all.
That is, until YouTube came about and changed everything with one 58 second clip of Scot Mendelson. There’s Scot’s wife slapping him – HARD – in the face as a pump-up. He’s got five people around the rack in case anything goes wrong. And look at the GUNS on his middle spotter!
Scot’s record bench press – which stood for roughly eight years and is now in the hands of Kirill Sarychev after he hit 738 pounds/335 kilograms – isn’t the most watched strength video on YouTube. And it will never be as famous as Ronnie Coleman’s legendary “Ain’t nothing but a peanut!” dumbbell chest sessions. But for us, it represented an impossible feat of strength that we could only begin to comprehend by seeing it on video.
Add in powerlifting legend Ed Coan as the judge, and you’ve got an historic moment in the sport. We’re just happy someone was there to catch it in the footage’s grainy, shaky glory.
But records are made to be broken, and even Mendelson’s legendary press would eventually fall. The heaviest verified competition raw (any other adjectives?) bench press we can find belongs to Sarychev and can be seen below.
Mendelson is still active in the powerlifting world and posts regularly to his YouTube channel. Coan is still a big draw presence in his own right, especially when he’s being hoisted around by Brian Shaw.
And they’re both immortalized in this video, which inspired us to put off homework for an extra few hours so we could hit chest day after class.
What inspired you to take up strength training? Is there a video, person, or event? Share your stories in the comments below.