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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Nick is a content producer and journalist with over seven years’ experience reporting on four continents. His first articles about health were on a cholera outbreak in rural Kenya while he was reporting for a French humanitarian organization. His next writing job was covering the nightlife scene in Shanghai. He’s written on a lot of different kinds of things, but his passion for health ultimately led him to cover it full time.Shanghai was where he managed to publish his first health related article (it was on managing diarrhea), he then went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before he finished his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and headed to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.Nick’s interest in health kind of comes from an existential angle: how are we meant to live? How do we reach our potential? Does the body influence the mind? (Believe it or not, his politics Master’s focused on religion.)Questions like these took him through a lot of different areas of health and fitness like gymnastics, vegetarianism, kettlebell training, fasting, CrossFit, Paleo, and so on, until he realized (or decided) that strength training fit best with the ideas of continuous, measurable self improvement.At BarBend his writing focuses a little more on nutrition and long-form content with a heaping dose of strength training. His underlying belief is in the middle path: you don’t have to count every calorie and complete every workout in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and a stronger body. Plus, big traps are cool.