Throughout his extended strongman career, Ivan Makarov has risen in acclaim for his ability to do one thing at a rare, high level — deadlift staggering amounts of weight. As the 2021 World Deadlift Champion (WDC), a recent majority of Makarov’s career competitive appearances have largely focused on the deadlift, and his current social media mainly features the athlete’s latest pulling progress. One exception would be his commitment to overhead strength.
On Nov. 9, 2022, Makarov shared footage of himself successfully locking out a 190-kilogram (418.9-pound) strict overhead press with a barbell. According to the strongman’s post, the lift is a personal record (PR). Makarov wore wrist wraps, elbow sleeves, and a lifting belt to help notch the personal milestone.
This overhead press PR isn’t the first instance of Makarov challenging his upper body roughly once a week this fall. The training focus appears to be part of a pursuit for the overhead press reps World Record. (Note: At the time of this writing, it is unclear when and where Makarov intends to break the current mark, or where the rep figure currently stands.)
For example, with the same wrist and elbow wraps set-up, Makarov showcased himself completing a 140-kilogram (308.6-pound) overhead press for eight reps in mid-October 2022. An approximate week later, Makarov overhead pressed 170 kilograms (374.8 pounds) for two reps. Two weeks ago, he managed to finish 160 kilograms (352.7 pounds) for six reps. Now, in large part due to his hard work, he has a new single-rep PR.
According to Strongman Archives, the 31-year-old Makarov has participated in seven strongman competitions since the 2017 Strongman Champions League (SCL) World Overhead Lift Championships. While he used to compete in the full slate of a competition’s events, of late the athlete has almost exclusively centered on his energy on ensuring his max deadlift is up to a top standard.
That sort of commitment has paid off in Makarov putting himself within striking distance of elite company. The competitor’s all-time highest raw deadlift PR captured on camera is a 490-kilogram (1,080.2-pound) pull from a September 2020 training session. He has made numerous attempts at deadlifting 500 kilograms (1,102.3 pounds). Should he ever be successful lifting at least that much weight during a sanctioned competition, Makarov would become just the third strongman to deadlift 500 kilograms. The only other strongmen to deadlift at least 500 kilograms are former World’s Strongest Man (WSM) champions Eddie Hall (2017) and Hafhor Björnsson (2018).
Notably, Makarov has attempted to officially surpass Björnsson’s all-time World Record deadlift of 501 kilograms (1,104.5 pounds) from the May 2020 edition of the World’s Ultimate Strongman (WUS) “Feats of Strength” series. Makarov made an attempt at deadlifting 502 kilograms (1,106.7 pounds) at the October 2020 iteration of the WUS Feats of Strength series, but fell just short. Makarov more recently made an unsuccessful attempt pulling 505 kilograms (1,113.3 pounds) at the 2021 Giants Live World Open.
Makarov is at a point where many eyes will turn toward him and his loaded barbell any time he deadlifts. It appears he’s setting up a future where he, soon enough, will also be famous for his overhead prowess.
Featured image: ivan_makarovstrong on Instagram