3 Most Freakish Displays of Wrestling Strength
It’s common knowledge that wrestlers are some of the strongest pound for pound athletes on the planet. While a wrestler’s strength may not always translate into weight room strength and vice versa, there are instances where functional “man strength” and weight room strength intersect for a freak show. As the strength coach for the Ohio Regional Training Center since 2012 and the primary strength coach for the OSU wrestling team during 4 of those years, I have witnessed my fair share of unbelievable displays of strength and power. There’s an old adage about John Smith (the most decorated American wrestler in history) that he was incredibly fast and strong on the mat but could barely bench 135lbs. It’s probably an exaggeration, but regardless I was lucky enough to work with wrestlers that were incredibly talented but also LOVED to lift weights…and it showed. Here are the 3 most freakish displays of strength I have ever witnessed:
Athlete: Nathan Tomasello
Rep: 4x Big10 Champion, 4x All American, NCAA Champion
Weight: 125 (132 at time of video)
Freakshow: 455lb Deadlift at 132lbs
Why it’s freaky: A 455lb deadlift at 132lbs is impressive no matter what - roughly 3.45 x BW - but those numbers may be fairly common in the powerlifting world. Take into consideration that Nate pulled this max DL during wrestling preseason, when the volume of work is extremely high and includes weekly stadium sprints, long endurance runs, and grueling bike sessions…in addition to daily wrestling and strength training. I have no doubt that Nate would have been a 500lb+ deadlifter if he was just lifting weights.
note: I could not locate the video of 455, but here is a video of him pulling 435 a week or two before hand with relative ease.
Athlete: Kyle Snyder
Rep: Olympic, World, and NCAA Champion
Freakshow: 1400lb Prowler Sled Push
Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few years then you are familiar with Kyle, the youngest American Olympic Gold Medalist in wrestling history. You are probably also aware that in addition to his flawless wrestling technique and tireless work ethic the man is STRONG. While Kyle’s numbers in the weight room on the main compound lifts are impressive, what stood out to me is Kyle’s ability to apply that strength in a real world situation. Ever wonder why he can move world class heavyweights with ease? Watch him push this 1400lb sled and wonder no longer.
Athlete: Teshan Campbell
Rep: multiple time NCAA qualifier, dubbed the “Swolebody” in an OSU room full of them
Weight: 165-174 (175ish at time of video)
Freakshow: 495lb Zercher Squat
While That Man Shan may not be a household name in the way the previous two wrestlers were, this display of freakish strength is without a doubt the most impressive. Nate and Kyle grew up lifting weights, but when Teshan transferred to OSU from PITT he came in without a ton of lifting experience. One glance at him - a stocky ball of fast twitch muscle - and you wonder had he been a few inches taller if he could have been playing in the NFL at free safety. I knew by seeing his frame and genetics that he would excel in my program, but I was not prepared for how strong he actually was. His first week of summer lifting he pulled 525 and hit a crazy Zercher Squat of 495, despite never doing the lift before and only kind of understanding the technique. Needless to say, after this I rarely had him Zercher Squat…he was already so strong in this position it made more sense to concentrate on other things. One more note to the freakshow: prior to this set he hit 405 and I was impressed. After all, this was his first time doing the movement. I said “ let’s go one more. Move up 5 or 10lbs?”. Teshan smiled and said “how about plates?”