The 105 kilogram weightlifter Wes Kitts has just pulled off the heaviest power clean we’ve seen from an American in recent memory: 201 kilograms, or 443 pounds.

A post shared by Wes Kitts (@weskitts22) on

This is such an incredible lift that it had us wondering what the heaviest power clean we’ve ever seen from any athlete is. The answer: this 232kg (511.4lb) masterpiece from Iran’s Behdad Salimi, which we’re quite sure is the heaviest ever caught on film.

The last time Kitts maxed his power clean, he managed 421 pounds (191 kilograms), making this a sizable ten-kilogram addition to his personal record. On Instagram, Kitts described the buildup to this lift.

When Dave [Spitz] told me to get my mind around this on Wednesday, I was pretty sure I couldn’t do it. He later told me he was also pretty sure I couldn’t do it haha! We honestly don’t have a great idea of where I’m at or what I can do. We just know the training is working and I’ve gotten much stronger.

He went on to say that he doesn’t monitor the records of other weightlifters; he only focuses on his own progress and potential. “I have my goals and my team,” he says. “That’s all I need!”
The 26-year-old Kitts trains out of California Strength in San Ramon, CA, and holds a BS in Exercise Science from Austin Peay State University. After playing football in college and later competing with the New York Rhinos in the National Professional GRID League, Kitts directed his efforts toward Olympic weightlifting with laser focus. His current PR in the snatch is 174kg (383.6lb), an American record that he set in December 2016 at the USA Weightlifting (USAW) American Open.

It’s pretty clear that Kitts has put himself on a path to potentially break the American record in the clean & jerk as well. Just last week, he successfully completed a 215kg (474lb) lift, which is just 5 kilograms off from the current record in the -105kg weight class that was set back in 1999 by Wes Barnett.

Given his current strength (and his enormous new power clean PR), we think 2017 might just be the year he takes home a new American record in the lift.

[Did you know the 2017 World Weightlifting Championships is coming to America this November? BarBend partner USA Weightlifting is hosting the world’s top weightlifters for 2017’s premiere international weightlifting competition. Help support the sport and reserve your spot by booking tickets today through USAW, and learn more about our partnership here.]

Featured image via @weskitts22 on Instagram.


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I’m a journalist with over seven years' reporting experience on four continents, with most of that spent covering health-related issues. My experience includes covering cholera outbreaks in Kenya and the clubbing scene in Shanghai, which is also where I wrote my first health article for an English language magazine. (It was on diarrhea.)After returning to Australia to finish up degrees in Journalism and International Relations I wound up in New York City, where I’ve worked for Men’s Health, VICE, Popular Science and others. I try to keep health relatively simple — it’s mostly vegetables and sweat — but I live to explore the debates, the fringes, the niche, and the nitty gritty.