Former pro runner and Olympian Nick Symmonds and distance running legend Ryan Hall are both currently training to hit an ambitious goal by the end of 2021: Deadlift 500 pounds and then sprint a full mile—all in under 5 minutes.
As a test of his progress, Symmonds recently took to the track to see if he could hit a marginally easier, but still impressive goal of deadlifting 400 pounds and sprinting 400 meters in just one minute.
Symmonds begins the video by acknowledging he’s steadily closing in on his goal of deadlifting 500 pounds—his current one-rep max is 425. But he needs some practice sprinting “off the bar” if he’s going to hit that sub-5:00 mark by the end of the year.
As a baseline comparison—and to give the video a little more drama—Symmonds invites three of his fastest buddies from his local CrossFit gym to take on the challenge, too. First up is “Chris,” a 47-year-old runner and avid gym-goer who Symmonds says is among the strongest people he knows. Chris pulls off the deadlift portion with ease, but has a slight delay getting started, and finishes with a still-impressive 66 second time.
Next comes “Justin,” a 34-year-old CrossFit coach and Games competitor who is much faster off the bar and slightly faster around the track, but still coming in just barely over the one-minute cutoff at 61 seconds. And then there’s “Tom,” a 41-year-old man who Symmonds suggests is even stronger than Chris, and younger, too. Despite the most impressive showing yet, Tom misses the mark—crushingly, by only half a second.
Finally, it’s all down to the former Olympian. Symmonds digs deep, and manages to score the elusive sub-60, with a blazing 56.63 second sprint. It’s an impressive feat—and a big step towards meeting his end of year goal. Turns out, it also represents a milestone of another kind: Gasping for air, Symmonds adds, “That is the hardest, most all-out I’ve gone since the London Olympic Games.”
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