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Strength Legend Paul Anderson - Claimed Lifts

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Strength Legend Paul Anderson - Claimed Lifts

Strength Legend - Paul Anderson

The following information was provided by Magnus…

“A few years ago in Musclemag International a writer called Steve Neece took exception to a lot of the claims made about Paul Anderson’s lifts. Neece rubbished Anderson’s claims and stated that he was not the strongest man ever, merely the strongest mid-1950s lifter. Neece actually seemed to be obsessed with Anderson’s lifts and made it his mission to talk down big Paul’s records in quite a few issues of the magazine. In the Guinness book of world records at the time it was stated that Paul had squatted 1,200 and deadlifted 820 – Neece claimed Paul never lifted 800 in the deadlift, and referred to a couple of contests where Paul performed lifts in exhibition, deadlifting 750 and squatting 929.

Strongest Raw Squatter of All Time - Paul Anderson

Neece cited Paul’s best exhibition deadlift as 750lb, then repeated that there was no evidence for a plus-800lb deadlift that Anderson had claimed. But Neece had not looked long enough because the evidence was there. At the over 40 Mr America contest in Denver, Colorado June 4th 1966 Paul performed a deadlift exhibition and succeeded with a weight called for of 790lb – BUT! – the actual weight was well over 800lb. The bar and weights had been used for the olympic lifting event before Paul lifted, and was weighed when some records were established. As often happened back then, the York Barbell plates were overweight by 2 or 3lb apiece, so when Paul picked up 790lb face value, it actually weighed anywhere between 805 and 820lb, but no one bothered to weigh it after Paul lifted so we will never know the exact weight he succeeded with. These deads were performed with no belt, barefoot and double overhand grip.

Neece also insisted that Paul’s limit in the squat was only 930 which he lifted at a contest run by Jim Witt. At Jim Witt’s contest Paul had cleaned and jerked over 400 and asked Witt if he would like to see a 500 lb. clean and jerk (this was mid-1960s before anyone had lifted 500). Witt said yes and Paul took either 460 or 480 as a final warm-up before trying 500 (I think it was 480) and cleaned it but unluckily the bar bent and injured Paul’s wrist so he could not complete the lift. With the jerk off the menu Paul did a squat exhibition instead – note no tight suits, no wraps, no belt and barefoot! Paul warmed up with a single with 805 then asked for 905lb and Witt watched him squat so easily it was ‘as if 200lb was on the bar!’ Then one of Witt’s guys came forward and said the bar was misloaded because  the plates were overweight so they checked the bar and it actually weighed 929lb.

Witt was mortified and explained to Paul that the bar was overweight by 24 lb. but Paul simply said ” forget it! Another 24lb is nothing!” As you can tell from that story 930lb was nowhere near Paul’s limit in the squat, but Neece called it his limit and claimed 1000lb-plus squats claimed by Paul were fantasy.

Okay guys, how about some stories from some of you?” ~ Magnus


Here is footage of Paul Anderson performing heavy deadlifts. Final weight on the bar is around 825 lbs using a double overhand grip!

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