Strongman Nick Best Pulls a 755-Pound Deadlift at Age 53, Continues Comeback From Lat Injury

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Roughly 11 months after tearing his lat, strongman Nick Best pulled 755 pounds off of the floor — raw. Now that’s what you call a comeback.

Best’s injury happened during the 2021 WRPF Kern US Open on April 24-25 (where he ranked third overall). Ever since he’s taken the appropriate time and steps to heal while he trains. His latest recovery feat — the staggering deadlift session recorded in his garage — might signify that he’s well on his way back to competing. 

On March 27, 2022, Best shared a video of him pulling a 342.5-kilogram (755-pound) deadlift on his Instagram profile. Also of note, the strongman opted for an over-under grip and did not use straps.

[Related: Powerlifter Jamal Browner Pulls A Conventional Deadlift PR Of 432.5 Kilograms (953.5 Pounds) In Training]

What makes this deadlift all the more impressive is that Best’s 755-pound pull isn’t dramatically far off from his best-ever deadlifts.

According to Open Powerlifting, Best pulled a career-best 382.46-kilogram deadlift (843.2 pounds) at the 2017 American Cup Los Angeles Fit Expo. Perhaps more importantly, it eclipses Best’s top recorded pull at the 2021 WRPF US Kern Open, where he sustained his lat injury. There, he notched a 330-kilogram deadlift (727.5 pounds). Best surpassed that mark at home while using a conventional stance and wearing a lifting belt by an astounding 12.47 kilograms (27.5 pounds).  

Nick Best’s Career

Best is no stranger to the competitive, professional scene. In a strength sports career dating back four decades, he’s appeared in 28 sanctioned powerlifting meets, winning 63 percent of the time (17 victories). Some major highlights include a gold-medal finish in his powerlifting debut at the 1991 United States Powerlifting Federation (USPF), along with a victory in the 1996 World Drug-Free Powerlifting Federation (WDFPF) World Championships.

Perhaps the most recognizable strongman competition Best has recently participated in is the annual World’s Strongest Man (WSM). Here are his complete career results from the event: 

World’s Strongest Man Finishes — Nick Best

  • 2010 WSM — 6th overall
  • 2011 WSM — Qualified
  • 2012 WSM — Qualified
  • 2013 WSM — Qualified
  • 2014 WSM — Qualified
  • 2015 WSM — Qualified
  • 2016 WSM — Qualified
  • 2017 WSM — 10th overall
  • 2018 WSM — Qualified
  • 2020 WSM — Qualified

When it comes to his powerlifting output, Best is no slouch either. Here are his career-best in-competition powerlifts:

Powerlifting Competition Records — Nick Best

  • Squat 395 kilograms (870.8 pounds) | Raw W/Wraps
  • Bench Press 250 kilograms (551.1 pounds) | Single-Ply
  • Deadlift 382.5 kilograms (843.2 pounds) | Raw
  • Total — 1,010 kilograms (2226.6 pounds) | Raw W/Wraps

The Road Back

Best entered the 2021 Kern US Open in a good place, coming off a win in his previous powerlifting meet, the 2018 IPL Old Dogs World Cup. As he told BarBend, the powerlifter was hoping to break his own deadlift world record of 370 kilograms (815.7 pounds) in the Over 50, 140-kilogram class.

Best’s world record attempt didn’t go as well as he’d imagined — he tore his left lat muscle at the tendon. While his competition was over, because there’s a limited number of nerves and arteries in tendons, Best thankfully didn’t experience much pain.

It was time to look ahead.

The next step for Best was surgery and then, recovery. According to Best, even this process wasn’t so simple at first. For many people, this sort of surgery would take around an hour. Best’s extensive muscle mass complicated this timeline and his surgery ended up lasting three hours and 45 minutes. 

[Related: Powerlifter Tamara Walcott’s Next Competition Will Be The 2022 WRPF American Pro]

Best didn’t waste any time from there on out. The knowledge he gained about body recovery throughout his lengthy strength-sports career allowed him to hit the ground running. Whereas many people might wait at least three months before starting formal physical therapy, Best was back pushing, pulling, and pressing a lot faster. Between his home gym and different local gyms he now usually trains around three times a week.

The Future

At the time of publishing, Best has not yet announced his next sanctioned competition. 

Looking ahead to the near future of the 2022 calendar year, Best could try his hand at the 2022 WRPF FQ Classic 2 on April 30-May 1, 2022, in Las Vegas, NV. He might also consider competing in the 2022 World’s Strongest Man on May 24-May 29, 2022, in Sacramento, CA. 

Whatever decision Best makes, it appears he’s still going strong after all these years. 

Featured image: @nickbeststrongman on Instagram

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