Ivan Makarov is a former powerlifter and circus strongman from Georgia who has emerged as one of the greatest deadlifters in the world. Originally from the Ukraine, Makarov is a World Champion in his favourite discipline and is tipped to eclipse the current world record in the near future.
Born in the Donetsk region of Ukraine, the baby Makorov suffered from kidney problems but defied doctors’ predictions and by the age of sixteen he had begun his lifting career. He met his wife, Lika, in Georgia where he was touring with the Ukrainian state circus.
Ivan also works as a personal trainer alongside his professional strongman training and competing. He has promised to break the deadlift world record and has made numerous attempts, which though close, have not yet been successful.
Makarov made his first ventures into professional strongman competition in 2016 when he took part in the Strongman Team Open Challenge. He took his first competitive victory in 2018 when he won the Georgian Strongman Open Championships. That year proved a pivotal one for Ivan; he claimed the runner-up spot at the International Championship in Minsk and had a convincing victory at the Arnold Amateur European Strongman Championship in Barcelona, winning four of the five events. Later that year Makarov officially announced his intention to establish a new world record in the deadlift.
At that point, Makarov’s personal best was a relatively modest 405kg/893lb, although this lift was completed raw in a powerlifting contest, without the aids of a lifting suit, straps or the luxury of hitching the bar. In 2019 Ivan made his first attempt at the world record, failing a 501kg/1,105lb lift at the Geraklion Record Breakers. The following year he unsuccessfully attempted 502kg/1,107lb at The WUS Feats of Strength online series. Earlier that year he had completed a 490kg/1,080lb training lift, which if valid was the third heaviest lift in history.
In 2021, Makarov claimed the World Deadlift Championship, lifting his best-ever competition weight of 475kg/1,047lb, which must have been some consolation following his record attempt failures. That same night he failed a 505kg/1,113lb record attempt, an outcome which he repeated the following year in Cardiff, this time relinquishing his World Title to Estonia’s Rauno Heinla.
In 2021 Ivan captured the World Deadlift Championship title in Manchester during the Giants Live World Open contest. He successfully lifted 475kg/1,047lb, which at the time was the third heaviest strongman deadlift ever completed. He defeated a bevy of lifters who managed to lift 1,000lb/453.5kg on the night, but was unable to lockout 505kg/1,113lb having raised the bar to just above his knees. Had he completed the lift he would have set a new world record and eclipsed Eddie Hall’s 500kg/1,102lb, as well as Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson’s 501kg/1,105lb.
Makarov has already began preparing for his next phase of strongman competition and will no doubt be back to make yet another assault on the world record. Whether he will be the first to eclipse the current mark remains to be seen, but with age on his side and having come so close on so many occasions there is every chance he will achieve his objective. Makarov’s single-minded approach is exemplified in the motto he uses during his long periods of preparation: “lift or die.”
Makarov is active on social media and can be found on Instagram as @ivan_makarovstrong. His channel has over 55k followers and its content, as might be expected, includes all of Makarov’s incredible training and competition lifts. Ivan also has his own website: makarovstrong.com which he uses as a platform for his personal, online training. On YouTube, Makarov’s channel – Ivan Makarov – has around 23k subscribers and features plenty of content around his training and behind the scenes at competitions.
Makarov has appeared prominently on UK television’s Channel 5 broadcasts of the Giants Live World’s Strongest Man Arena Tour events, where he captured the World Deadlift Championship in 2021. His exploits in the 2022 contest will be aired during the festive period.