When it comes to massive deadlifts, Rauno Heinla comes, he sees, and he almost always conquers. The seasoned veteran strongman now has another conquest to boast about. On July 22, 2023, during the 2023 Tartu Rammumees ja Rammunaine (TRJR) contest, Heinla successfully locked out a 540-kilogram (1,190.5-pound) 18-inch deadlift. An 18-inch deadlift is characterized by having athletes pull a barbell loaded with large diameter plates, leaving the bar 18 inches from the floor. Heinla’s mark is a World Record, surpassing the previous high bar by 2.5 kilograms (5.5 pounds). The athlete wore a lifting belt and utilized lifting straps to help with the pull.
The past record belonged to 2020 World’s Strongest Man (WSM) champion Oleksii Novikov, who finished an 18-inch deadlift of 537.5 kilograms (1,185 pounds) en route to his WSM title. Now, the record is in the 41-year-old Heinla’s possession — who adds to his hallowed reputation as one of the globe’s greatest deadlifters. Novikov offered Heinla a simple “congratulations” in the comments section of the Instagram post showcasing the record-breaking 18-inch deadlift.
A record deadlift of any variation is nothing new to Heinla. If anything, based on his productive 2022, it might be a surprise it took the Estonian athlete this “long” to add another deadlift accomplishment to his resume.
In early June 2022, Heinla broke the Silver Dollar deadlift World Record with a pull of 579.7 kilograms (1,278 pounds) at the 2022 Silver Dollar Deadlift Estonian Championship (SDDEC). He would follow that performance by breaking the Master’s Deadlift World Record with a pull of 476 kilograms (1,049.4 pounds), winning him the 2022 World Deadlift Championships (WDC) title.
Per his page on Strongman Archives, Heinla has had a highly active competitive run in recent months, most notably finishing as the runner-up in both the 2022 Master’s World’s Strongest Man (MWSM) and the 2023 Australia’s Strongest International (ASI). However, none of his recent full competition achievements can compare to now owning three separate deadlift World Records in three separate pulling events.
After securing another pulling World Record, Heinla will likely shift his focus to one of the biggest unicorns in strength sports: the all-time deadlift World Record of 501 kilograms (1,104.5 pounds) set by Hafthor Björnsson in May 2020. Heinla will get the opportunity to make history as a member of the 2023 WDC roster, which will take place as a part of the 2023 Giants Live World Open (GLWO) on September 2, 2023, in Cardiff, Wales.
The Giants Live organization is offering a $55,000 prize to any 2023 WDC athlete who can break the record and deadlift at least 505 kilograms (1,113.3 pounds). If there were a pick for any strongman capable of reaching the milestone, Heinla would undoubtedly be one of the more plausible options.
Featured image: @rauno_heinla on Instagram