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Donald Trump Jr.’s ‘Personal Record’ Deadlift Is A Terrific Lesson In How Not To Lift Weights

Yeah, it’s an impressive amount of weight, but he’s doing it all wrong.

For reasons unknown to pretty much everyone except the subject of the vanity video himself, Donald Trump Jr. took a break from … whatever he does … to show the world how strong he is. The video of his “personal deadlift record” shared on Instagram reveals, by Trump Jr.’s own admission, that he has some pretty terrible form.

Anyone with experience deadlifting or powerlifting, regardless of their policial leanings, would likely agree. He does manage to put up an impressive 375 pounds, which is no small feat, poor form or not, but the video seems to have kicked off more discussion about the importance of proper weightlifting technique than it does about how big and strong Trump Jr. is.


While intuition may suggest that lifting any amount of weight using poor technique demonstrates more strength than someone using proper technique, that’s not quite the case in powerlifting. Poor form in this arena demonstrates in most instances that the person performing the lift isn’t actually strong enough to tackle the weight they’re lifting but rather is taking an unsafe approach in order to hit a number for the sake of vanity or ego.

Trump Jr. is hardly the only recreational athlete compelled to put ego before safety, but he’s the one who bragged about his personal record using a video shared with a million Instagram followers. His technique is fair game, even with his pre-emptive disclaimer in the video’s caption.

Per a Lifehacker breakdown, an obvious issue is Trump Jr.’s very curved back during the lift rather than maintaining a straight back as he bends upward. This practice, in addition to lifting his torso before his legs are straight (another no-no), suggests Trump Jr.’s lower back muscles might not be developed or strong enough to safely handle the weight.

Following his lift, he drops the bar and celebrates a job well done. Only that’s not how you do a deadlift. Well, that’s maybe how you perform the first 75% of a deadlift rep.

It was only a matter of time — minutes perhaps — before social media users took a more personal approach to their criticism of Trump Jr.’s weightlifting technique.

Then there’s this, which might be a cheap criticism but isn’t an incorrect assessment of the family’s approach to goals:

If we’re looking for a silver lining here, there are two. First, Trump Jr.’s misguided hubris has people talking about the importance of weightlifting safety and form. Among the subset of the population that has read the commentary, that’s bound to prevent at least a couple slipped discs or at least hyperextensions.

Second, upon learning that a man that many Americans seem to loathe is actually, legitimately pretty strong, his critics have set their eyes on a new goal: to deadlift more weight than Trump Jr. can.

So in this regard, congratulations, Trump Jr., you’re an inspiration to many looking for their next exercise milestone.

If you’re going to tackle Trump Jr.’s personal deadlift record, there’s nothing wrong with that, but bear in mind that there are no shortcuts. Get a trainer, take your time to make sure your body is strong enough to actually handle the weight you’re trying to lift, and maybe don’t videotape yourself so the world crowns you the poster boy of how not to deadlift.

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