Jamal Browner has made a name for himself as a powerlifter collecting competitive victories and World Records, particularly showcasing his deadlift prowess. On Sept. 2, 2023, he explored the challenge of a new strength sport by competing at the World Deadlift Championship (WDC) performed under strongman contest rules.
Just seven days after his appearance at the WDC, Browner returned to the gym for a “YOLO” deadlift training session — his annual personal tradition after a major contest. On Sept. 9, 2023, Browner posted a video on his YouTube channel documenting his attempt at a weight that no athlete in the history of any strength sport has successfully completed.
Browner, who competes in the 109.7-kilogram (242-pound) powerlifting class, is seen tackling a 510-kilogram (1,124-pound) on two separate attempts, followed by an attempt at 505 kilograms (1,113 pounds).
In the training video, Browner is first shown performing progressively heavier warm-up sets. He began at 120 kilograms (265 pounds) before moving through 220 kilograms (485 pounds), 320 kilograms (705 pounds), 370 kilograms (815 pounds), 420 kilograms (925 pounds), and finally 460 kilograms (1,015 pounds). After completing the first set, he wore lifting straps and a weightlifting belt for the remaining lifts.
Browner then made the enthusiastic decision to jump to 510 kilograms (1,124 pounds). He lifted the barbell off the ground relatively quickly before stalling at his knees. On his second attempt at 510 kilograms, Browner is seen with talcum powder across his thighs to reduce friction and aid the lift (a common technique in powerlifting).
He was able to get the bar slightly higher on his knees before returning the weight to the ground, where he quickly unstrapped his grip and walked off the platform while speaking with spectators in the gym. By his demeanor, one might mistakenly think that the effort of lifting more than a half-ton wasn’t all too exhausting for the strength athlete.
The final attempt of the day was 505 kilograms (1,113 pounds). Browner was able to smoothly bring the bar to just above his knees before hitting a wall and struggling for several brief seconds before replacing the bar on the ground. Browner later stated that all three attempts were performed over a 30-minute period.
Unsuccessful lifts are potentially less exciting and dramatic than fully locked out repetitions. However, what sets Browner apart from the deadlifting pack, aside from the sheer weight itself, are the conditions under which he performed. In training for the WDC, Browner spent nearly four months lifting with a conventional deadlift stance due to the strongman ruleset.
Browner’s previous heaviest successful deadlifts, including a 455-kilogram (1,003-pound) deadlift in competition and a 500-kilogram (1,102-pound) deadlift in training, were performed with a sumo deadlift stance. The recent “YOLO” session was only his second time returning to the wider stance in roughly 15 weeks and, as he stated in the video, his technique has yet to return to 100%.
Browner previously attempted a 510-kilogram deadlift during a “YOLO” session roughly two weeks after his performance at the 2022 USPA Pro Raw Championships. In that attempt, he lifted the weight from the floor but was unable to reach knee-level.
Top 5 Heaviest Deadlifts of All Time (Captured on Video)
- 502.5 kilograms (1,107 Pounds) — Powerlifter Krzysztof Wierzbicki in training, April 2022
- 501 Kilograms (1,104.5 Pounds) — Strongman Hafthor Bjornsson at 2020 WUS Feats of Strength
- 500 kilograms (1,102.3 Pounds) — Strongman Eddie Hall at 2016 World Deadlift Championship
- 500 kilograms (1,102.3 Pounds) — Powerlifter Jamal Browner in training, Sept. 2022
- 487.5 kilograms (1,074.7 Pounds) — Powerlifter Danny Grigsby at 2022 WRPF American Pro
For further context of Browner’s capabilities, two-time World’s Strongest Man (2021-2022) Tom Stoltman announced plans to attempt a 505-kilogram deadlift at some point in 2024. One of the current heaviest all-time deadlifts (501 kilograms) belongs to 2018 World’s Strongest Man Hafthor Bjornsson, who outweighs Browner by more than 60 kilograms (132 pounds).
Browner has not announced whether his next competitive appearance will be a powerlifting contest or another venture into strongman. In either case, the ground-breaking 510-kilogram deadlift remains on his radar. According to Browner, he plans to take four or five days rest before attempting the weight once again. So the record may fall sooner rather than later.
Featured Image: Jamal Browner / YouTube