• 3 August, 2022
  • 10 minutes

Deadlift history to be made? | Open & World Deadlift Championships 2022 PREVIEW

Has the Time Come for 505kg to Finally Fall?

On Saturday August 6th the world’s greatest exponents of the world’s greatest test of raw strength will be assembling in Wales for the Giants Live World Open and World Deadlift Championships.

Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena will be hosting the fourth leg of the Giants Live World’s Strongest Man Arena Tour and it will be the first time a Giants Live contest has been held in Wales. Competitors will be convening there from across the globe to see if anyone can claim the sport’s most coveted single-lift title and perhaps capture the elusive World Deadlift Record.

The Contenders

Returning to contest the World Deadlift Championships will be last year’s winner, Mighty Ivan Makarov, representing Georgia. In 2021, he successfully lifted an incredible 475kg/1,047lb, in Manchester, and was able to move 505kg/1,113 from the floor to just below the height of his knees.

He has been preparing meticulously for this event and his chance to eclipse both Eddie Hall’s in-competition mark of 500kg/1,102lb and Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson’s out of competition 501kg/1,105lb lifts. On social media, he recently posted videos of a comfortable 470kg/1,036lb training lift, as well as an unbelievably impressive partial deadlift of 510kg/1,124lb, from a height of around 15-inches.

Joining Makarov will be several of last year’s joint runners-up, including Ukraine’s Pavlo Nakonechnyy and Oleksii Novikov and Evan T-Rex Singleton of the USA. All these men became members of the highly exclusive 1,000lb club (453.5kg) at last year’s event.

Nakonechnyy lifted 475kg/1,047lb in training last year, but has understandably been much less active online this year. He is clearly a man of massive potential and will be looking to improve on what, for him, was a disappointing result, last year.

His compatriot, Oleksii Novikov, the 2020 World’s Strongest Man and current Europe’s Strongest Man, has been improving massively in the deadlift. He is the current World Record holder for the 18-inch Deadlift, with 537.5kg/1,185lb and performed a comfortable 7 repetitions in the axle deadlift at last month’s Strongman Classic at the Royal Albert Hall. Doing only enough to win the event, he looked to be capable of equalling or even eclipsing Martins Licis’ record of 8 repetitions with the 360kg/794lb axle.

Gabriel Peña set a new 18-inch Axle Deadlift World Record of 500kg/1,102lb, at the 2021 Static Monsters Worldwide, online contest. He was thrilled to break the 1,000lb club last year and was set to return to the UK to pull even more in 2022 but less than a week before the contest disaster struck- suffering an injury that has forced him to withdraw from the contest.


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A post shared by Gabriel Peña (@texastitangabe)

New and Familiar Faces

In addition to last year’s second place finishers, there are a number of new and more familiar challengers to both the world title and the world record. Of these, the man who has received arguably the most attention, is Canada’s Mitchell “The Moose” Hooper. The 2022 World’s Strongest Man finalist owns a 475kg/1,047lb personal best, performed at the Excalibur Max Deadlift Charity Event. He has stated publicly that he believes he can break the World record and is prepared to go even heavier that 505kg if that is what it takes to leave Cardiff with the title.

Returning to the fray will be Rauno Heinla, a former winner of the World Deadlift Title – the Estonian shared the title with USA’s Jerry Pritchett in 2019. Heinla, now a master, as he has turned 40, has also been active on social media, posting a remarkably routine 460kg/1,014lb lift.


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A post shared by Rauno Heinla (@rauno_heinla)

This training lift is an incredible 24kg/53lb in excess of the current Masters’ World Record held by Russia’s Mikhail Shivlyakov who lifted 436kg/961lb in 2020 for the “Feats of Strength” during lockdown. Heinla also took part in that series, establishing a new world record for repetitions at 400kg/882lb, with 6 reps. Furthermore, he also holds the Silver Dollar Deadlift World Record of 579.7kg/1,278lb. Impressive credentials indeed, and if he is not up to 505kg on the night, it is very likely the crowd will at least be treated to a Master’s World Record.

From South Africa, Chris Van Der Linde will be representing the southern hemisphere. On March 19th, 2022, at the Sunninghill Log, Deadlift and Axle competition, Chris deadlifted a personal best of 455kg/1,003lb to earn his invite to Cardiff. His previous record was the South African best of 440kg/970lb.

From The British Isles

The local man, Gavin Bilton, will be hoping the Welsh crowd will be getting fully behind his huge frame and pushing him towards the 1,000lb barrier he has stated is his ambition to break. With so many men exceeding this mark last year, Bilton’s Welsh record of 425kg/937lb was almost overlooked. He recently posted on social media a comfortable 420kg/926lb lift, in training, indicating “The Bull” is ready to charge!

England’s representatives will be the 2019 Britain’s Strongest Man, Graham Hicks and junior powerlifting champion turned Strongman Shane Flowers. Hixxy’s competition best of 410kg/904lb for 2 repetitions is a figure he will be hoping to improve on. Graham is more renowned for his overheard strength, although he is a brilliant deadlifter and has performed a stunning 405kg/892lb in powerlifting competition, without the use of straps, a suit or hitching of the bar. His recent 440kg for 2 seems proof enough that he’s capable of joining that exclusive 1000lbs-club.


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A post shared by Graham Hicks (@grahamhicksuk)

Ireland’s Pa O’Dwyer has been making rapid progress with his deadlift in training. He has lifted 400kg for 2 repetitions and is a man very much on the up, having placed 2nd at Britain’s Strongest Man 2022. Not forgetting the Scotsmen, Andy Black returns to the Open for the 2nd time, almost exactly 1 year after his debut in Manchester. The behemoth from Cumbernauld pulled 425kg in 2021 on little over 24 hours notice and has stated he’s aiming for 1000lbs this year.

The World Open

The World Deadlift Championships will be just event one of the five-event World Open, which was won last Year by Evan Singleton. The former WWE wrestling superstar was on a roll in 2021, winning twice on the Giants Live circuit.

Favourite for the overall victory though, has to be Oleksii Novikov, who has been unstoppable so far this year. The Ukrainian nearly pulled off a win at World’s Strongest Man, after three consecutive event wins in the final, and was only denied victory by the brilliance of Tom Stoltman. Oleksii has already won at Europe’s Strongest Man and The Strongman Classic and seems to be very well suited to the quick-fire, evening show format.

Watch out too for Mitchell Hooper, who came in an impressive second place in London, last month. His performance was not without its flaws, but the former golfer and marathon runner seems to possess huge raw talent and seems utterly focused, for the moment, in fulfilling his massive potential.

Event 1: World Deadlift Championships

For this year’s rising bar format, the increments the lifters will be attempting are:

Round 1: 400kg/882lb

Round 2: 425kg/937lb

Round 3: 453.5kg/1,000lb

Round 4: 475kg/1,047lb

Round 5: 505kg/1,113lb – New World Record

Round 6: To be decided…

Event 2: Carry & Load

Competitors will race in pairs with a 75-second time limit. The athletes must carry Farmer’s Walk implements weighing 150kg/331lb in each hand for 10m, then load three objests: a sandbag and barrel, both weighing: 120kg/265lb for 12m and 15m, and then finally a tyre of 100kg/220lb, for a distance of 18m.

This will be a gruelling test of all-round strength endurance and athleticism. Any slip-ups picking these awkward implement up from the floor could prove fatal.

Event 3: Log Press for Repetitions

The strongmen will be going head-to-head in pairs for 60-seconds. The log weighs in at 150kg/331lb and must be lifted above head to arms’ length and back to the floor for each repetition. The record for this event is 9 repetitions, although Luke Stoltman completed 10 reps, but locked-out his elbows fractionally after the referee’s whistle signalled the end of the allotted time.

Event 4: Hammer Hold

This event is as much a test of the competitors’ ability to endure pain, as it is a test of their upper-body strength. Athletes will go head-to-head, holding the 30kg/66lb hammer at arms’ length, perpendicular to the body for maximum time.

Once these men get beyond 30-seconds, their arms and shoulders will begin to burn-up as lactic acid floods their fatiguing muscles. Any time approaching or exceeding a minute will be likely to take the win here.

Event 5: Castle Stones

In pairs, the athletes must load all five stones of ascending weight onto the plinths of descending height, with a 60-seconds time limit. It is, as yet, undecided which set will be used; the “light” (100kg/220lb – 180kg/397lb) or “heavy” set (120kg/265lb – 200kg/441lb).

This event, in the absence of men like Tom Stoltman or Andy Black, could be anyone’s. This is always an event that supplies great drama and provides a fitting finale to the evening’s competition.

Giants Live Open & World Deadlift Championships FULL LINEUP

  • Evan Singelton (Champion)
  • Oleksii Novikov
  • Gavin Bilton
  • Ivan Makarov
  • Mitchell Hooper
  • Graham Hicks
  • Pa O’Dwyer
  • Shane Flowers
  • Rauno Heinla
  • Pavlo Nakonechnyy
  • Peiman Maheripour
  • Chris van der Linde
  • Andy Black

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