Weightlifters think an Instagram-famous weightlifter is using fake weights to boost his numbers. A very strong man by the name of Bradley Castleberry is in the spotlight because some of his fellow lifters suspect he’s fudging the numbers on some of his very convincing, very heavy bench presses.
The whole thing started when a lifter named Mike O’Hearn issued a challenge to the Instagram star to hold a private competition between Castleberry and a former NFL player, Heath Evans. The reason? O’Hearn doesn’t believe Castleberry can lift the numbers he says he’s lifting.
But how would you achieve this if you’re watching him lift very heavy weights on camera? Well, Nick from the Nick’s Strength and Power channel on YouTube says he’s using fake weights, or weight plates that weigh far less than the 45 pounds they’re supposed to.
The video offers up some pretty compelling evidence, though nothing is exactly proven. For one, Castleberry refuses to lift competitively despite the fact that his lifts would be world records, especially at his much lighter weight than most powerlifters who are benching 600+ pounds. One video Nick highlights has Castleberry lifting 675 pounds in two reps. He claims to weigh somewhere in the 240s, but there’s also speculation that he weighs less than that, making that lift and an additional rep even more unlikely.
And then there’s the fact that he’s often seen using different brand and shapes of weights than those seen in the background of his videos. Nick points out that his videos are shot at different gyms, but he’s always using hexagonal-shaped weights, while others in the background are round. There are plenty of places to get a few sets of fake weights, including the cleverly-named fakeweights.com. And cutting 80 pounds per weight on each side is a huge difference in weightlifting.
Match that with a few things Castleberry can do to the bar that is often impossible with huge weight amounts and Nick seems convinced that the internet-famous lifter isn’t as strong in real life as he seems online. Then there’s the safety requirements that Castleberry often eschews, like multiple spotters for extremely high weights. If the weight isn’t there, Nick suggests, there’s no reason to worry about safety.
It’s a super interesting look at the world of online weightlifting, but we’ll have to see just how strong Castleberry really is if he ever participates in this lift-off. In the meantime, we now know we can buy fake weights online, so we’re going to be pretending we can lift a whole lot to impress everyone.