Scot Mendelson 715 Bench Press

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.

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BarBend's Co-Founder and Editorial Director, David is a veteran of the health & fitness industry, with nearly a decade of experience building and running editorial teams in the space. He also serves as a color commentator for both National and International weightlifting competitions, many through USA Weightlifting. David graduated from Harvard University and served for several years as Editorial Director/Chief Content Officer of Greatist.com. In addition to his work in the health & fitness industry, David has been a writer for Fortune and Fortune.com, as well as a contributor to Forbes.com, Slate, and numerous other outlets across the web and in print. He's especially passionate about the intersection of strength sports and quality, professional media coverage — overlapping interests shared by the BarBend editorial team and which drive their content strategy each and every day. David is a proud Kentucky native. In his free time, David is a voiceover actor and can be heard in animated films, independent shorts, music videos, commercials, and podcasts.