To the general public, the name “Ivan Makarov“
probably doesn’t ring any bells. Withing the Strongman community he is mostly famous for his unsuccessful 501kg deadlift attempt
back in December and the crazy Instagram posts cataloging his crazy heavy deadlift training leading up to the 501 kg deadlift attempt. After taking some time off from the social media limelight and recently announced that he will be having another crack at the world record, this time in an official tournament.
Which in itself is news, but not really a big one. The deadlift championships are in September, we are currently six days into May and things are changing very rapidly in the world as of this moment so setting plans for September isn’t really all that crazy or interesting, However, Ivan threw a curveball that managed to raise a few eyebrows and start the hype machine running. He announced that come September and the world deadlift championship, not only will he be lifting +500kg, but he plans on lifting 520kg!
Well, that interested me enough to contact the mighty Russian and ask him would he be down for a quick one on one with hopes of picking his brain a bit more and seeing what makes him tick. Since my Russian is non-existent and Ivan’s English is not that great. We decided I send over the questions and he will use google translate for answering. I tried my best in keeping with the context of Ivan’s google translation English, so the following is a mix of exactly what he said and the context of things he said translated to normal people English.
There are a lot of youtube videos of you doing circus strongman acts. How did you get started in that?
Yes, I had a period in my life when I worked as a strongman in a circus, performed ancient power tricks, tied nails, bent armature in my teeth, hammered nails into a board, concrete blocks were broken on me, and much more.
When did you start training for Pro-Strongman?
I have been doing Strongman for about 8 years.
Do you have a favorite Strongman?
Yes, I have a favorite Strongman that I like, and which I admire, Eddie Hall.
Did you watch Thor’s 501kg deadlift record?
Yes, of course. I watched it on air, once he set the record, I supported it. I think he heard me screaming; “Tor! Tor! Come on!” lol , but still, my favorite strongman is Hall.
You competed in powerlifting before. Would you consider competing in powerlifting again?
Yes, I used to perform powerlifting, but I was always closer to Strongman and my future career will only be Strongman.
You mentioned on your Instagram you had issues in preparations with the 501kg deadlift attempt. Could you give a bit more information on last year’s preparation for 501kg and what went wrong?
Yes, when I was preparing last time, deadlift 501 kg I had problems in the first place, these problems were with finances. I have no sponsors or any financial opportunities, so I would really like to find financial support and to find a sponsor so that I can fully prepare for the competition. There were also serious health problems, many people probably don’t know this, but I’ll tell my story At the age of 3 I had surgery, I had serious kidney problems, the doctors even told my mother that I would not live up to 6 years.
Now I feel good everything is in order with my health. I went through a lot of examinations, I got a good coach and I am ready for the record, I am ready to lift 500kg and a lot more. Let my example be a motivation for people not to stop moving forward, no matter what the doctors/people say. I will raise the world deadlift record, and next year I will do my best to compete in WSM and place in the top 3. (Ivan didn’t expand on how exactly do his past kidney issues relate to his troubles during the 501kg attempt preparation. I am guessing something related to these childhood issues either popped up during his training or were nagging him leading up to and possibly even after the event. How severe or mild were these issues, I can only speculate. However, seeing as he tells me he is feeling great now, I am assuming he fixed whatever it is that was bothering him/slowing him down.)
How come you don’t compete in international Strongman events like Arnold Classic or Giants Live?
I participated in Strongman before, but mostly amateur shows. More accurately I won the Arnold Classic Amateur in Spain in Barcelona in 2018. I hope to compete in WSM soon. I can also say that I got an invitation to Loglift World Championship in England.
This has been my dream for a long time. I always dreamed of performing in England(for Giants Live)
they make the coolest competition in the world in Strongman. I want to perform well there so that I get invited to “Giants Live
” events more often.
If you deadlift above the world record(501kg) in September, would you be satisfied or would you still try 520kg?
On the day of the competition, I will lift as much as it will be necessary to establish a new world record, but certainly, if I’ll have more strength in me I will go for a lot more weight. I will go to the end I am crazy in my actions I want to go the same way As Eddie Hall. I want to set a world deadlift record and win the WSM then I will calm down, I will be calm and I will know that I didn’t live my life in vain. (Eddie Hall has spoken at length about the insane measures and preparations he had to go through in order to pull 500kg. I am guessing he is talking about something like that. Going to great lengths to achieve a certain goal.)
What is your main motivation for training?
I want to win the prize money fund for the deadlift. This money will help me take my family away from the place where the war is going on (Donetsk, Ukraine) I want to create a good life for them. That is my motivation for lifting 500 kilograms. And believe me. I will do it. I will break the record or I will die trying.
Ivan is currently stuck in Georgia( the former Soviet Union country, not the American state with the same name), due to government lockdowns and is hoping to return to Russia to see his family soon. So good luck to Ivan, he speaks like a man who has set a goal for himself and won’t stop until he achieves it. I hope he takes that world record in September and ultimately wins WSM.