I’d choose the obvious option here, Ed Coan.
At his first competition at age 16, weighing 150lbs, he squatted 485, benched 295, and deadlifted 495. Pretty incredible start for who would be the greatest powerlifter ever. Apparently he deadlifted 435 the first time he tried it, stiff legged. Best lifts ever, 1019 squat, 584 bench, 901 deadlift, but of course everybody knows that.
I’d choose the obvious option here, Ed Coan.
Tough, if not impossible to answer. Ed’s a solid choice though (although one of his few losses was in his teen’s to another young lifter, who obviously didn’t ever match Ed later on).
Steve Goggins went around 350 320 480 at a very young age (believe he was 13 or 14).
The genetic freaks in the deadlift are probably easier to define, like Andy Bolton supposedly pulling anywhere from 573-661 his first try, in his teens. Internet usually says 661, but I seem to recall reading Andy himself saying 573.
Gary Heisey was a 6’7" steel worker from a few decades ago, supposedly hit 600x2 first time pulling, then 675 the next week… went on the hit 925 eventually.
Tough call, but Ed’s an obvious choice as overall powerlifter.
Ed is near the top. Ray Williams squats are pretty unbelievable to me. Drug tested, in sleeves and close to 1100. I think he has only been competing a short time too.
The Kaz was a pretty damn good powerlifter. He claims that the first time he deadlifted at 16 he pulled 585 or 600.
Ed is one of the greats of all time no doubt but my favorites are Lamar Gant, Dan Green and Pete Rubbish.
Stefi Cohen would have to be one of the greatest female powerlifters of all time.
It’s easy to say Ed Coan, but I’d like to mention some people who have come and gone who never really kept going for one reason or the other.
Chris Hickson was one of the craziest deadlifters I’ve ever seen to this day. He almost pulled 855 at like 20 years old weighing 260 at like 6’4" with a sub 400lb bench. Don’t think many or perhaps anyone ever had the strength he had on the deadlift at such a young age.
I think he got severely injured 4-5 years ago and then got busted for manufacturing/selling hormones and is serving a prison sentence, but he seems to be in a good spirits.
George Leeman, Kevin Nee, Jesse Norris come to my mind right away as well. I think Jesse is still in the game but just on hiatus (maybe).
Stefi Cohen and Larry Wheels are probably the top two most genetically gifted lifters in the game today. Hafthor is absurd. Same size give or take as Brian Shaw, but he moves like a smaller guy would whereas Shaw seems to be in slow motion.
It’s amazing how responsive to training some people are. I just saw an interview with Coan and Mark Bell in which Ed had this to say about his squat…
Ed: I trained the squat twice a week until I hit 500lbs, then I trained it once a week.
Mark: And how long did that take?
Ed: About six months.
Just kidding, he turned into a beast and I loved it.
Cailer Woolam? Ok, probably not the most, but definitely deserves an honorable mention at least I guess
Ronnie Coleman, he could have put up insane numbers if he continued with power lifting.
Lamar Gant should not have even been capable of BW deadlifts. His spine is very crooked.
He learned it didn’t bother him like it did others with scoliosis. For him, it had the effect of having an extremely short torso (which is good for deadlifting).
Nobody other than me puts Kaz on their list. Dude was a total freak. I think he would be elite in strongman and powerlifting now if he was young now.
Dude held his schools 100 yard sprint record for decades too.
He was already mentioned, so I didn’t feel a need to re-iterate. I went to one of his seminars and the stories are pretty crazy. He’d absolutely be a monster now if he was born 30 years ago vs 60.
Dalton LaCoe! He’s genetically cursed, but in terms of the sumo deadlift, he found out he was gifted at that, and I doubt there’s anyone more genetically suited to deadlifting. The bar may only be moving a few inches, but I don’t know anyone who’s breaking the floor with a 5x BW deadlift. Plus, talk about a horrible condition to fight through.
How about someone like Yuri Belkin deadlifting 970 at 227?
No matter what the lifter weighs, 970 is more impressive than 600. And Yuri is the sumo god. But, it’s BWx4.25, and this guy did BWx5 with a severe disability, so I’m definitely giving him serious props here, haha.
And 992 with straps!
God, when he yanks on the bar with the straps first before lifting it, you can see his power - the bar bends like nothing.
I figure threeway tie Coan-Kazmaier-Green if we’re talking genetically made for powerlifting. Larry Wheels comes close.
Also, I find it really funny how so many people skip straight to the deadlift. A freakish deadlift alone a freakish powerlfiter does not make.
So Gant and Belkin definitely qualify too, from memory both have seriously good benches and Belkin is no chump on the squat either.