A 600lbs deadlift is extremely rare, and the vast majority of recreational gym-goers will never achieve this. Additionally, whether someone can accomplish a 600lbs deadlift will mainly depend on their training experience and their body weight. As an example, an intermediate lifter, someone who typically has around 2 years training experience, should be able to deadlift twice their body weight. Therefore, an intermediate lifter would need to weigh approximately 300lbs to potentially achieve a 600lbs deadlift.
The Weightlifting & Powerlifting Deadlift Records
I think before we get into the realms of exactly how rare a 600lbs deadlift is, it’s a good idea to look through the various weightlifting and powerlifting deadlift records.
You should also remember that these are elite athletes, typically those who lift weights in a professional capacity.
So, when we initially look at the lightest body weight category of 114.6lbs, the record deadlift is held by Indian powerlifter, E.S. Bhaskaran.
And his record happens to be a 564.4lbs deadlift.
So, even as an elite athlete, E.S. Bhaskaran has not managed to deadlift 600lbs.
That being said, this equates to 4.92 times his body weight.
Now, no matter what anyone tells you, this is unbelievably impressive.
In fact, there are very few people in life who will ever be able to deadlift 4.92 times their body weight.
I’ll cover some of the deadlift standards you can aim for as a recreational lifter in a moment.
It’s not until the next weight class of 123.45lbs body weight that we have an elite lifter hitting a 600lbs deadlift.
The man in question is American powerlifter Lamar Grant.
Now, Lamar initially lifted 524.5lbs at this body weight in 1974.
However, in the same weight category a few years later he managed to deadlift 638.4lbs.
Lamar went on later to deadlift 683.4lbs in the 132.3lbs weight class.
Both of these still stand as world records in the individual weight classes.
Plus, Lamar holds the distinction of being the first person in human history to deadlift over 5 times their body weight.
Once more, I’m sure you’ll agree, this is hugely impressive.
Now, this is all well-and-good for an elite powerlifter, but what about the rest of us?
Is it Possible to Deadlift 600 Pounds?
So, while a 600lbs deadlift is potentially child’s play for elite powerlifters, is this achievable as a recreational gym-goer?
In truth, there are two main attributes that can help a recreational gym-goer achieve a 600lbs deadlift.
These are training experience and body weight.
In effect, as a complete novice to the gym it is highly unlikely that you will be able to deadlift much more than your own body weight.
And realistically if a person weighs 600lbs it is doubtful that they will have the strength and conditioning to even deadlift half of their body weight.
So, while how much you weigh is an important factor in how much you can deadlift, your overall strength and conditioning is even more important.
Going back to our elite level powerlifters for a moment, clearly they have an extremely high level of strength and conditioning.
In fact, more so that most of us can ever hope to achieve.
That being said, as your training experience grows, you should generally be able to deadlift much more than your own body weight.
Once you get into the realms of being an intermediate lifter, someone who has trained regularly for at least 2 years, you should expect to be able to deadlift twice your own weight.
However, this would obviously mean that even as someone with a couple of years training behind them you would need to weigh approximately 300lbs.
And I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that there aren’t many “average” people in the world who weigh 300lbs.
Advanced & Elite Lifters
It’s not until we get to advanced lifter status, training for 5 years or more, that we start to see people hitting that 600lbs deadlift.
That being said, according to StrengthLevel.com, a community where lifters record their weights for various lifts, it isn’t until an advanced lifter is 280lbs that they’re able to deadlift 600lbs.
There also happens to be a number of elite competitive lifters who record their details at StrengthLevel.
And even then it appears that as an elite lifter, they’re not hitting a 600lbs deadlift unless they weigh 220lbs or more.
So, this in itself should tell that it’s quite rare for most people to ever deadlift 600lbs.
In effect, this equates to only the top 5% of recreational gym-goers ever being able to deadlift 600lbs.
And even then, it’s highly unlikely that anyone will achieve this in their first 5 years of training.
How Do I Get a 600 Pound Deadlift?
Okay, I’m hoping that you understand by now that it’s simply not feasible for every lifter to achieve a 600 pound deadlift.
And I include myself in that statistic too.
Being a short person, who weighs well under 200lbs, even though I can regularly deadlift over 3 times my own weight, it’s unfortunately still not enough to hit 600lbs.
And in reality, I would never want to weigh 200lbs.
While I love lifting, the way it makes me look, the way it makes me feel, I never want to get to the stage where I start looking “unnatural”.
And trust me, at 5ft 6in tall, I’m pretty sure 200lbs would not look good on me.
Size, weight, and experience apart, there are obviously ways to train to improve your deadlift, and perhaps even achieve that elusive 600lbs.
For me, there are 3 very simple rules for increasing your deadlift.
Firstly, you have to actually be deadlifting on a regular basis.
As obvious as this sounds, many gym-goers often avoid deadlifts simply because they know how physically taxing it is.
But, you need to ensure that you deadlift every single week, and typically more than once a week too.
Secondly, don’t stick to just the conventional deadlift, but practice a number of variations too.
As an example, the sumo deadlift will generally allow you to lift more weight anyway, plus it targets your glutes much better.
Straight-legged or Romanian deadlifts will target the hamstrings more, plus the fact that you typically never allow the weight to touch the ground until the end of your set will help to improve your grip as well.
Furthermore, trap-bar deadlifts will target your upper back and traps much better, both of which go through isometric contraction with conventional deadlifts.
The third and final rule is to NOT always be chasing your one-rep max.
Yes, I know that your aim is to lift as heavy as possible, but in truth your progress is likely to stall if you’re doing this every single workout.
Personally, I’m a huge fan of high-rep deadlifts with a lighter weight.
In fact, you’ll often find with most of the compound lifts, you can actually make huge strength improvements, even though you’re training with high reps.
Plus, the variation of rep ranges will usually help you to burst out of a training plateau.
What is the Heaviest Deadlift in History?
At the time of writing (January 2024), the heaviest deadlift in history was achieved by Hafthor Bjornsson, also known as “The Mountain” from the television series “Game of Thrones.”
That being said, Hafthor is also often referred to simply as “Thor”.
On May 2, 2020, Bjornsson set a world record by deadlifting 501 kg (1,104 lb) at his gym in Iceland.
This lift surpassed the previous record of 500 kg (1,102 lb) held by Britsh strongman Eddie Hall, which was set in 2016 at the World Deadlift Championships.
Thor and Eddie are also extremely well-known for taking part in “The Heaviest Boxing Match in History” on 19th March 2022.
Thor won by a unanimous points decision.
The Heaviest Strongman Deadlifts
|🏋️♂️ Heaviest Strongman Deadlifts 🏆
|Date & Place
|Hafthor Bjornsson (Iceland)
|501 kg (1,104 lb)
|May 2, 2020, Reykjavik, Iceland
|Eddie Hall (United Kingdom)
|500 kg (1,102 lb)
|July 9, 2016, Leeds, England
|Brian Shaw (United States)
|465 kg (1,025 lb)
|March 2016, Arnold Strongman Classic
|Zydrunas Savickas (Lithuania)
|455 kg (1,003 lb)
|2014, Big Z Classic
|Benedikt Magnusson (Iceland)
|453 kg (1,000 lb)
|2014, Europe’s Strongest Man
|Andy Bolton (United Kingdom)
|457.5 kg (1,009 lb)
|November 2006, WPC World Powerlifting Championships
|Jerry Pritchett (United States)
|454 kg (1,001 lb)
|March 2017, Arnold Strongman Classic
|Mikhail Shivlyakov (Russia)
|450 kg (992 lb)
|March 2019, Arnold Strongman Classic
|Konstantin Konstantinovs (Latvia)
|426 kg (939 lb) without a belt
|Jón Páll Sigmarsson (Iceland)
|420 kg (925 lb)
|1987, Pure Strength
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Please note that this list is strictly based on Strongmen and therefore doesn’t include the all-time powerlifting records or the International Powerlifting Federation “non-equipped” deadlift records.
The progression of the deadlifting world record will always be separated into these 3 separate categories.
So, I hope you understand that a 600lbs deadlift is extremely rare.
In fact, this is typically only achieved by an elite level athlete with competitive powerlifting experience.
That being said, whether you can deadlift 600lbs will also come down to how much you weigh.
As an example, an intermediate lifter, someone who has around 2 years experience, should generally be able to deadlift twice their body weight.
Therefore, for an intermediate lifter to achieve a 600lbs deadlift they would generally need to weigh approximately 300lbs.
I’m sure you’ll agree that most “average” lifters in the gym don’t weigh 300lbs.
However, with proper training and nutrition, and a good few years of deadlift training behind you, you can certainly achieve a deadlift of three times your body weight.
One way to increase your deadlift is to work on your glutes, and a great exercise for this is hip thrusts. And it just so happens that I’ve compared hip thrusts to deadlifts in terms of weight lifted and muscles worked.
Hi, I’m Partha, owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the Register of Exercise Professionals, United Kingdom. I have been a regular gym-goer since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My aim is to help you achieve your body composition goals.