Rauno Heinla is a professional strongman from Estonia who has been competing for over twenty years and has amassed several world records in variations of his favourite event – the deadlift. He is a two-time World Deadlift Champion and having turned forty, is now a master athlete.
Despite his age, Heinla still seems to be improving his strength and is showing no signs of winding down his competitive activities. He has a daughter, Marie Heinla, and when not training and competing he works with clients as a certified personal trainer.
Rauno began his competitive strength career in powerlifting and deadlifted over 400kg/882lb lifting “sumo” style, long before he came to the fore in strongman. He became involved in local strongman competitions in 2000 and won his first international contest – Estonia’s Strongest Man – in 2008. In fact, Rauno is the only Estonian to capture this title six times, with compatriots Tarmo Mitt and Andrus Murumets taking five titles apiece.
Despite over twenty-two years of competing in strongman, Rauno has never competed at World’s Strongest Man and has appeared rarely at major contests such as Europe’s Strongest Man or the Arnold Strongman Classic. Instead, he has become renowned for single lift events in the deadlift, and this is where he has made his greatest achievements. His 4th place finish at the 2021 Europe’s Strongest Man is arguably his best competitive result over a full contest, although he has also picked up competition wins at Strongman Champions League and Arnold Pro Strongman World Series events.
Rauno has twice claimed the World Deadlift Championships title, in 2019, sharing the win with USA’s Jerry Pritchett and in 2022, where he also established a new masters’ World Record of 476kg/1,049lb. This lift added an astonishing 40kg/88lb to Mikhail Shivlyakov’s previous world record.
Heinla holds records in multiple variations of the deadlift; in 2020 he set a new record for lifting 400kg/882lb for repetitions, achieving six successful lifts as part of the WUS Feats of Strength online series. He also holds the world’s best in the Silver Dollar Deadlift, with a gargantuan 580kg/1,279lb.
In 2022, at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena, Heinla successfully lifted the third heaviest competitive deadlift in strongman history, when he beat all-comers with a new Masters’ World Record lift of 476kg/1,049lb to win the Giants Live World Deadlift Championships.
After the contest Heinla remarked that he felt this lift was not his maximum, but he knew that if he attempted a new open world record it would most likely have ended in injury.
Rauno seems to be growing stronger with age and has recently proven himself to be the most credible candidate to take the deadlift world record to 505kg/1,113lb, having defeated his major rivals at the 2022 World Deadlift Championships.
Now a master, the Estonian is keen to capture the World Strongest Man Masters title and would be a very good bet to lift the trophy in the near future.
Rauno is also confident in his ability to exceed the world record using the sumo, wide style variation of the lift, having completed a 475kg/1,047lb gym lift with very little training using this technique. Whether this would be considered a true world record is doubtful but would nevertheless constitute the heaviest deadlift performed under any rules.
Rauno has his own website: raunoheinla.com which he uses to promote his personal training. He can be found on many social media platforms, including Instagram where he goes under the handle of @rauno_heinla. His account has some 36.8k followers who are regularly treated to his astounding deadlift feats. He is also active on Facebook as Rauno Heinla.
There is a multitude of videos featuring Heinla available to view on YouTube, mostly showcasing his training and competition performances. There are some interviews, including content from his 2022 World Deadlift Championships victory.
Rauno will feature on UK terrestrial’s Channel 5, over the Christmas period, as part of their World’s Strongest Man TV series, which includes the finals as well as the Giants Live WSM Arena Tour.