Powerlifter Blake Lehew destroys a 385-kilogram (848-pound) beltless deadlift

Lehew appears poised for personal milestones this year.

Blake Lehew has been a powerlifting staple for years. A former USA Powerlifting (USAPL) Juniors Raw National Champion (2016) in the 74 kg weight class, Lehew now dominates at 82.5 kg. A standout performance at the World Raw Powerlifting Federation’s (WRPF) American Pro, where the athlete hit a heaviest-ever cumulative weight of 930 kilograms (2,050.3 pounds) says so much. Judging by the latest update on his training progress, Lehew seems primed for even more greatness to come.

On February 26, 2023, Lehew posted an Instagram video of himself successfully pulling a beltless deadlift of 385 kilograms (848 pounds).. The powerlifter completed his pull from a sumo stance with a traditional grip and he said he weighed 190 pounds at the time of the lift. Additionally, according to Open Powerlifting, the deadlift matches Lehew’s very best raw competition, which was also achieved at the last American Pro.

“I think the belt is a thing of the past when deadlifting.”

Aside from the beltless pull, Lehew had nothing else to grace this feat. He relied fully on his power to get into the lockout position.

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The main benefit of a sling is that it provides a rigid surface to brace against. Bracing means when you breathe in to stretch your entire core – front to back – to provide spinal stability and support. Your core is the center of your entire body; If it’s loose during a lift, your form will fall apart.

Take Lehew’s deadlift as an example. His back would arch and fold under the weight of the bar if he wasn’t braced properly. Elite lifters like Lehew have mastered their bracing technique. Still, belts help you brace yourself more tightly than you could if you weren’t wearing one, which is why Lehew’s 820-pound beltless pull is so impressive. While it’s not entirely accurate to say he could pull more if he wore a belt, it’s clear that Lehew is strengthening his core and optimizing his technique — two factors that add up to an overall stronger deadlift.

What’s next for Lehew?

In the caption to Lehew’s post, he alludes to an upcoming contest on his calendar. He has hinted at those plans since early 2023. At the time of this writing, it’s unclear which competition he’s referring to as he hasn’t offered any specifics on his social media platforms. The “six weeks in advance” reference would match a date sometime around Easter weekend 2023 in early April.

Given that Lehew has appeared primarily as a WRPF and United States Powerlifting Association competitor of late, there are a multitude of possibilities.

As per the WRPF 2023 calendar of events, there is WRPF Face Off on April 2nd, Drug Tested Out For Blood 2, Southwest Showdown, and War for the Valley on April 15th. According to the USPA’s 2023 calendar of events, the only date a contest that roughly aligns with Lehew’s schedule is the 2023 USA Powerlifting Battle at Bionic Barbell on April 2.

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Whatever event Lehew is about to perform at, it seems obvious that he’ll be ready to add another illustrious accomplishment to his resume. As one of the stronger stars in powerlifting today, he probably shouldn’t expect anything less.

Featured image: @deadliftingorang-utan on Instagram

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