Wes Kitts 500 Pound Jerk

American weightlifting has another 500 pound jerker, and his name is Wes Kitts. And before you call out the lift on a technicality: Yes, we know it’s from the back rack, and yes, it’s still impressive.

Also, if you know of any other active American weightlifters who can hit a 500 pound jerk, we want to know.

I’ve been thinking about jerking this weight since I attempted it last week. Haven’t been pushing intensity on jerks from the blocks in a few months and it’s safe to say I’ve gotten much stronger since I’ve come out to California. As of last Tuesday my best for this movement was 215kg and today I hit a huge benchmark of 227kg (500#)! I remember back squatting this for the first time and being excited so needless to say the celebration game may be a bit excessive haha! The whole day I’ve been thinking about this lift and looking forward to the attempt. Came into the gym focused on one thing and accomplished it. Small accomplishments turn into big things and I’m eagerly awaiting the transition! @cal_strength @thebarbellwod @schieksportsinc @athleteps @caffeineandkilos

A video posted by Wes Kitts (@weskitts22) on

To our (definitely not unlimited) knowledge, this lift makes Kitts the third American weightlifter — currently active in competition — to jerk at or over 227 kilos/500 pounds. The other two that we know of:

Both Wilkes and Swart are superheavyweights, making Kitts the lightest American (again, that we know of) to currently jerk 500+ pounds. Here’s Caine hitting a 230 kilo clean & jerk at US Nationals in 2015:

And here’s Cam Swart hitting a 227 kilo jerk out of the rack (though we’ve heard he’s gone as heavy as 237 kilograms):

Now onto the big question: Who did we miss? Is there another active American weightlifter who’s jerked 500 pounds in recent memory?

Donny Shankle hit 227 and 237 jerks from the back rack back in 2011 — embedded below, also lifted at California Strength — but we haven’t seen anything from him in the last three years approaching those numbers. Shankle is/was also a 105 kg lifter.

If you know of anyone we missed, please let us know in the comments below or email video to [email protected] This is one case where we think we’ve included everyone, though we sorta hope we’re wrong.

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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.