On July 10, 2023, World’s Strongest Man (WSM) champion Mitchell Hooper posted a video to his YouTube channel featuring a leg-training session with strength sports icon Nick Best. After some warm-ups and deliberative conversation with his eventual spotter in Hooper, the 54-year-old Best successfully locks out a 364.2-kilogram (802.9-pound) back squat with wraps starting at around the 4:45 mark in the video. According to Best in the video, it is now the 27th consecutive year that the athlete has squatted at least this much weight for one rep. In a post on his Instagram, Hooper called it an “absolute privilege” to watch Best continue his personal tradition.
“That makes 27 years now. The first time was in 1996.”
Best wore a lifting belt, knee sleeves, and wrist wraps to help him with his squatting achievement. Such an equipment set-up would count under a “Wraps” qualification in a sanctioned powerlifting context. Best remains an active professional powerlifter but retired from competitive strongman in November 2022.
After finishing his squat, Best and Hooper would spend the remainder of their session performing some deadlifts. At the peak of their pulling segment, Best repped out 227 kilograms (500.4 pounds), while Hooper worked with 275 kilograms (606.2 pounds). Best wore a lifting belt and lifting straps for his deadlifts, while Hooper appeared to have just utilized lifting straps.
Best’s latest milestone squat comes on the heels of the athlete pushing himself full throttle approximately a half year after a nephrectomy — the surgical removal of a kidney. In April 2023, Best shared footage of himself performing seated iso lateral rows with the highest weight of 244.9 kilograms (540 pounds) for eight repetitions. Then, roughly a month later, in late May 2023, Best recorded a 350-kilogram (771.6-pound) squat with wraps.
If the athlete had seen any ill effects from his surgery recovery, it wasn’t apparent with these two training tidbits. It also certainly isn’t evident if Best can squat the same weight he’s been squatting for nearly three decades.
At this stage in the year, it seems the legend is back to his customary full strength.
At the time of this article’s publication, according to his personal page on Open Powerlifting, it has been over a year since Best last competed in a powerlifting contest. The athlete has not yet announced when he will compete again but does not appear to have ruled out a return. Best may be waiting to recuperate completely before making any commitments — a logical bet that seems to be working out with flying colors in the gym.
Featured image: @nickbeststrongman on Instagram