Weightlifter Tian Tao Shakes the Internet With 280kg Front Squat

This week has been a seriously heave week for big front squats. Two days ago, we wrote about Wes Kitts smoking a lifetime PR front squat with 255kg/562 lbs. Today, we’re back writing on another big front squat from Chinese -85kg weightlifter Tian Tao, and it’s got to be one of the biggest front squats we’ve seen in the recent past when it comes to a pound-for-pound analysis.

Yesterday, ShenZhen Weightlifting shared one of Tao’s latest front squats on Instagram and it’s shaken the social media strength community. Why? Well there are three big reasons that stand out to us. For starters, Tao normally competes in the -85kg weight class and just front squatted a massive 280kg/617 lbs, which is over 3x his bodyweight. The video doesn’t disclose Tao’s current bodyweight, but regardless that’s still an impressive feat even if Tao’s sitting heavier in off-season (or, more likely, working towards the new -89kg bodyweight category).

Second, he performed the lift without a belt, and it’s insane how easy he made it look with no hint of forward torso flexion whatsoever. This is standard with most of Tao’s squats, but it never ceases to amaze us. Lastly, he walked the weight backwards to re-rack it, which he didn’t really have to do, yet handled like it was nothing. This re-rack reminded us of the time Mart Seim walked 260kg/573 lbs about 12-steps, then pause front squatted it.

Author’s Note: The video below highlights Tian Tao’s latest 280kg front squat. For those experiencing viewing issues on mobile — check this link!

And while this front squat is extremely impressive, it’s not the first time we’ve written about one of Tao’s huge squats. Back in August 2017, we wrote about Tao back squatting an easy 310kg/683 lbs with no belt.

In April, Tao competed at the Chinese Weightlifting National Championships and took home first in the -85kg weight class with a 170kg snatch, 197kg clean & jerk, and 367kg total. We don’t know about you, but we’re excited for the next time Tao lifts on a national and international stage.

Feature image from @shenzhenweightlifting Instagram page. 


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Jake holds a Master's in Sports Science and a Bachelor's in Exercise Science. Currently, Jake serves as one of the full time writers and editors at BarBend. He's a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and has spoken at state conferences on the topics of writing in the fitness industry and building a brand. As of right now, Jake has published over 1,100 articles related to strength athletes and sports. Articles about powerlifting concepts, advanced strength & conditioning methods, and topics that sit atop a strong science foundation are Jake's bread-and-butter. On top of his personal writing, Jake edits and plans content for 15 writers and strength coaches who come from every strength sport.Prior to BarBend, Jake worked for two years as a strength and conditioning coach for hockey and lacrosse players, and was a writer at the Vitamin Shoppe's corporate office. Jake regularly competes in powerlifting in the 181 lb weight class, and considers himself a weightlifting shoe sneaker head. On the side of writing full time, Jake works as a part-time strength coach and works with clients through his personal business Concrete Athletics in Hoboken and New York City.