By now, Joe Mackey has a deserved reputation for being one of the strongest professional bodybuilders of all time. The International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) Pro League member has made past headlines for being a versatile deadlifting dynamo, having once pulled 385.5 kilograms (850 pounds) at the Iron Wars VI in 2022. With a new year in full swing, Mackey built on that strength feat, illustrating the months ahead might be even more fruitful.
On Jan. 13, 2023, Mackey successfully deadlifted 412.8 kilograms (910 pounds) during the Iron Wars VII contest in Signal Hill, CA. Mackey’s pulling showcase is a personal record (PR). It was one of the fitting headline moments for strength personality C.T. Fletcher’s annual competition allowing various athletes to display unique power. Mackey used a conventional stance, wore a lifting belt and lifting straps to help with his pull, and even had weight plates taped to the ends of his overloaded barbell to provide enough of a challenge.
Mackey’s staggering pull did not come without a struggle. The athlete grinds through his rep slowly as he tries to reach lockout, noticeably shaking as the crowd of onlookers around his lifting platform encourages the athlete to reach new heights. Eventually, upon his successful pull, Mackey almost appeared to be relieved he finished, shaking his head after emphatically dropping the weight before stepping away.
Mackey offered a succinct and prideful reflection about his massive lift in a post on his Instagram. The bodybuilder/powerlifter had unsuccessfully tried to pull the same weight during a training session less than one month earlier, making this deadlift achievement all the more momentous.
“I was able to get the lockout, but I wanted to hold it with my signature smile at the top!” Mackey wrote. “Unfortunately, 910 pounds kept wanting to pull me down, but … we’ll count it! Ever since I missed this one weeks ago, I’ve been thinking about this lift day after day! Nine hundred and ten pounds, much respect to you, but [expletive] you now! Next!”
In a bodybuilding context, Mackey might be separating himself from his peers and past icons regarding deadlift prowess. Eight-time Mr. Olympia (1998-2005) Ronnie Coleman once drew praise for a deadlift of 362.8 kilograms (800 pounds) during the year 2000 while working towards an Olympia title defense. Mackey has since cleared that bar by leaps and bounds, but was notably not preparing for any major bodybuilding competition like the legendary Coleman.
Without official records for competitive bodybuilders who want to test their strength through a powerlifting prism, it’s unclear where Mackey’s latest PR deadlift stands in the sport’s history. However, it’s very likely one of the largest-ever pulls by someone who also makes it a point to show off their professional physique on a stage.
The year 2023 has begun with a bang for Mackey. If this deadlift was his first significant step forward at the turn of the calendar, it probably won’t be the last time he’s heard from in the coming months.
Featured image: @jmackey33_ifbbpro on Instagram