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The Greatest Lifts In Powerlifting History

An old thread which has been revived at Get Big looks at the best lifts in powerlifting history. What qualifies a lift as a great one? Is it the amount of weight put up or the situation in which it's done or both? In other sports, the greatest moments often are from dramatic situations in playoffs or championships. Does that hold as true for powerlifting? Or does the format not lend itself much to the dramatic?

In my opinion, these are the greatest powerlifts of all time:

Squat - Fred Hatfield's 1014 @ 255 lb. Very deep and almost totally unequipped.

Bench Press - Mike MacDonald's 522 @ 181 lb. Totally unequipped.

Deadlift - Vince Anello's 800 @ 198.

TOTAL - Jon Cole's 2370 @ 283 lb. He almost benched 600 at the same meet. Totally RAW.

Squat: Shane Hamman (SHW), 1009 lbs

Benchpress: James Henderson (SHW) 711 lbs. Totally unequipped, and done in the IPF, with mandatory testing since it was a world record. May be the most impressive lift of any category, any weightclass. To me, this is the greatest lifter ever.

Deadlift: Ismo Lappi (165 lbs) 749 lbs. A true master of the deadlift.

what about Coan's 901 pull at 220?

I'll give a vote to Lee Moran's 1003 lbs squat, simply for the fact that he did it about 5 minutes after the bar flew off his back because the collar was not tight on one side. 50kg plates were flying! Bars were flying! People were running away! Lee didn't care... he just had the bar reloaded and then did it.

could paul anderson actually squat 1200 lbs? if so then thats the best.

Certainly one of the greatest lifts of all time would have to
go to Mel Hennessey, of Minneapolis (Saint Paul), MN.

Back in late 60s or so, Mel did 560 pound bench in the 220
pound class. This of course was raw, raw, raw. And to see
this guy lift was to witness absolute perfection: no noise,
no wraps, no bounce, no backbend; just pure, perfectly
executed strength, with proper pauses and the whole nine
yards. He weighed apx. 215 pounds of solid muscle.

1. 1994 IPF Asian regional in Manila. Twenty-year old Saroni of Indonesia DLd 738 lbs at 165 lbs (75kg) to break JR and SR world records. Dan Austin surpassed that SR record a few months later, but the JR record is still on the books 12 years later.

2. Brad Gillingham's last chance DL winning the SHW gold at 2000 IPF Mens World in Japan. About six men had a chance at the gold going into the third round of DLs. All red-lighteded but Brad. He took the last DL - and the last lift of the meet - to win. I think he DLd "only" 838, but the drama of the situation was as good as it gets. 3000 people holding their breath.

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Just watched video of Fred Hatfields 1014 squat yesterday. That's one lift I kind of forgot about. I agree that was one of the greatest I've ever seen. And I was just starting lifting back then. The gear wasn't worth a damn.

Also agree Jon Cole could be the strongest powerlifter ever. People forget about him.

Eh, Coan's 901@220 would have to be in there for the deadlift.

i still think kutcher oleksander is the man

Coan's 1019@242 sq
Coan's 859@198 sq
Coan's 901@220 dl
Coan's 859@198 dl
Bridges' 836@181 sq
Weil's 556@181 raw bp - might be the most impressive lift ever...
MacDonald's 603@242 bp
James Henderson 711@SHW raw bp
Konstantinov's 947@275 dl
Kutcher's 793@165 dl
Gant's 683@132 dl

Lee Moran 1003 lb Squat. The collar came off the bar and the weight dumped off all over the platform. He came back and did it in like 5 min. That was unreal.

Cole was a stud! He was also very explosive with strong Olympic lifts.

Big Don Reinhoudt's 2420 totally raw was one of the most amazing totals ever in my opinion.

Jim Williams' 675 lbs raw (he did have elbow wraps) with a MAJOR pause way back in the early 70s was also tremendous.

How about Tony Fratto (I think I have the name right) squatting a raw (no knee wraps, no suit) 749 lbs at 198 in the early 70s? Strong!

Shame on everyone for not mentioning the DL king:

Bob Peoples, 725.5 @ 189... in 1949!

Remember when George Halbert hit 683 @ 198?

coans 901@220 deadlift = best deadlift ever

weils 556@181 raw benchpress = best bench ever

gants 683@132 deadlift(a deadlift machine)

burdettes 501@181 raw benchpress (i saw this lift in vidor texas)

hatfields 1014 squat(all i can say is wow)

boltons 942 deadlift in a singlet

any bench that mcdonald did.

Chris Mason wrote:
Cole was a stud! He was also very explosive with strong Olympic lifts.

Big Don Reinhoudt's 2420 totally raw was one of the most amazing totals ever in my opinion.

Jim Williams' 675 lbs raw (he did have elbow wraps) with a MAJOR pause way back in the early 70s was also tremendous.

How about Tony Fratto (I think I have the name right) squatting a raw (no knee wraps, no suit) 749 lbs at 198 in the early 70s? Strong!


LEE MORAN WAS THE REAL DEAL. I REMEMBER SEEIN HIM WORKOUT AT IRON ISLAND (SADLY CLOSED) IN ALAMEDA,CA.

Why no mention of Sam Byrd's 1003 SQ at 198? It's in the past, so it qualifies as history.

Stay with it,
Shawn "Bud" Lyte
BMF Sports

mike macdonald 603 pounds bench was great coan 901 deadlift at 220 up there adrei stanazek ovr quituple bwt squat is great too . lamar gant deads were awesome at 132 bwt

Sam Byrd's 1063 @ 220 also should be right up there. Also as sated above Sam's 1003 @ 198 that broke all time History. But he beat that in Ohio at the IPA with 1050 at 198 which is the record right now. No one else has ever done it yet. For sure Sam has to rank right at the top right along with all the other Best of the Best.

Byrd's lifts do not hold a candle to any of Coan's at the same weight class. Coan squatted deep in a Z-Suit. I get sick of this All-Time record shit.

I started power lifting at John Coles Gym in Scottsdale AZ at the young age of 12 years because my older brother was sent there by his doctor to help build his chest to maybe help with his asthma before the day of portable inhalers. John Coles was a wonderful man and gave full attention to the young kids learning in his gym just like the competitive power-lifters that trained there too. He was awesome to watch, and helped me achieve a 420 pound bench press at 163 lbs. just after high school. I remember his son Sean who was quite a few years younger than me and had that freak of nature strength that his dad did at such a young age. I wonder if he ever became a champion power-lifter too. John did help my brother overcome his asthma by his Junior year in high school. With a chest so big, he could balance stand a beer can on it while he was sitting down.