Meet The 5’4″, 140lb Teenage Girl Who Can Deadlift More Than You

by 5 years ago
Shelly Dead Lift


This is my favorite video in a long time.

Meet Shelly, a little girl with a shit ton of strength. In 2011, Shelly began weight training with her brother. At the time, she could deadlift 175 pounds, not bad for a smaller girl just getting started.

It’s been four years and Shelly hasn’t gotten much bigger but GOD DAMN has she gotten stronger. Here’s her story from her brother..

Hey guys!

Some of you probably remember when I first introduced my little sister and pupil, Michelle, on here after she hit her first 315 pound deadlift last August. Well, last week she hit another huge landmark by pulling a solid 350 pound deadlift at a body weight of 140 – 2.5 times her own body weight.

Here’s 315lbs from last year
Here’s the 350lbs PR

I also found this 350 to be significant because it’s exactly double what she could deadlift when she first started, which is kind of cool.

As for her training, we kind of revamped things after she pulled the 315. We adjusted her technique a bit (compare the 315 to the 350: 350 has a more compact stance, a slightly narrower grip, utlization of the stretch reflex, the pull is no longer initiated by “yanking” the bar from the floor, etc.) and we got her a real powerlifting belt. We wanted to give her some time to get used to the new technique and break in the belt somewhat/get a feel for it, so we started off the cycle pretty light at 225lbs, which was about 70% of her maximum at the time.

We ran a basic 5×5 once a week, adding 5 pounds each session. We did this until she got up to somewhere around 265-270 for 5 sets of 5, if I recall correctly. At this point we changed things up a bit. Instead of running a linear progression we switched to more of a “ramping” style to increase the intensity. The goal was to work up to a heavy set of 3 each session. Afer she hit the heaviest triple of the day we would take 30-50lbs off the bar and knock out a few more sets of 3 to accrue some more volume.

We ran this progression style for the next several months until she pulled 320lbs for a solid set of 3. At this point we decided to test the deadlift with the goal of hitting 350.

During this time period she was also squatting twice a week, one heavy and one volume day, as well doing some benching/pullups twice a week after each squat session. She also does some form of cardio 2-3 times a week, but she does that on her own so I don’t know too much about it.

As for where we go from here, I think we will continue to train with the ramping style for a little bit longer and see if she can eek out a bit more progress that way. The short term goal is obviously to get that extra quarter on the bar by pulling 365. I think she can do that if we continue with this cycle. After that we will most likely start all over again with a new training cycle by dropping back down to the 70% range. The goal then will be the big 4 plate landmark. I know she can get there, she just needs a few more years under her belt. But I’ve always talked about it as an inevitability rather than a possibility and so I’m pretty sure there isn’t a doubt in her mind that she will get it soon enough.
Anyway, if you have any questions about her training feel free to ask me!

And now, here’s Shelly in action.

Chris Illuminati is a 5-time published author and recovering a**hole who writes about running, parenting, and professional wrestling.