How Much Weight Can a Human Move? Remembering the Back Lift | BarBend

    Fans of old-school strongmen may already be familiar with it, but if you’ve never heard of the back lift, prepare for a surprise: It’s the lift that (possibly) allows the human body to support more weight than any other. other.

    powerlifter/strongman/purveyor of all things strength movement bud jeffries recently reminded us of lifting with the instagram post embedded below, which he loaded up with a barbell, plates, power rack and some rocks very heavy.

    from jeffries post:

    do back lift about 2500lbs for 10-12 reps and read the description before asking why I do this lift…I’m a strong man of old and this was a popular men’s training/show lift strong of yesteryear… and almost nothing overloads every tendon, ligament, bone and muscle in the body they like. it literally stresses everything and hardens the whole body. this lift is hundreds of years old and out of the box and fits my high strength goals in any possible position… but of course the real point of all lifts is bigger arms and 6 pack abs, right? TRUE? everything else is blasphemy….

    Unexpectedly, back lifting doesn’t always look the most impressive: Weights move a few inches at most and lifters hold them, well, on their backs, with their arms and legs flat against the ground or and/or a raised implement. but while the range of motion is rarely amazing, moving weights often are.

    remember, even if it’s just a few inches, jeffries supports 2500 pounds with his body. max overload.

    We’ve heard of some crazy historical backlifts before: Canadian strongman Louis Cyr reportedly lifted 4,300 pounds (loaded with 18 men on a raised platform). Paul Anderson set out to break Cyr’s record in 1957, as weightlifting historian Joe Roark wrote in a June 2001 summary of Anderson’s famous lift:

    On June 12, 1957, according to Paul’s later claims, he performed a feat that has received more publicity, especially among the non-lifting public, than any other lift in history: his 6,270-pound backlift.

    for a time, the anderson lift was listed in the guinness book of world records, although as roark points out later in his article, the claimed weight has varied considerably over the years and is actually quite Anderson was unlikely to finish anywhere near the claimed weight. mark (although he may have gotten closer to 5000lbs).

    In recent decades, back lifting has been relegated to an old-school strongman rarity, rarely tested or trained due to a variety of factors: difficulty standardizing implements, variation in lifting standards and the supreme difficulty of even setting up such immense loads.

    Once in a while, though, we’ll see him tested in front of a crowd. Below is a video of strongman derek poundstone doing a 2000 pound backlift variation. It’s worth noting that this variation achieves a very different range of motion than the “traditional” back raise, and Poundstone was given no instrument to brace his arms against (besides his own thighs). In this lift, the weight is supported by a hinge point, whereas in the traditional back lift, the entire weight is borne by the lifter.

    The current verified backlift record is held by Canadian strongman Gregg Ernst, who lifted 5,340 pounds in 1993. The video below is of another one of Ernst’s massive lifts.

    the usawa (general weightlifting association of the united states) still maintains records of the lift in their federation. His current high is 3050, lifted by Jim Schmidt in 2009. At the time, Schmidt was 53 years old and weighed 230 pounds.

    Below is a video of Schmidt punching around 3000lbs on his signature back raise machine. and you thought heavily loaded leg presses looked cool…

    Do you know of a heavier back lift? have you ever trained him? let us know in the comments below!

    featured image: bud jeffries on instagram

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