When it comes to epic and unnecessary feats of strength, the Millennium Dumbbell is up at the top of the list. I’d heard of this crazy dumbbell before and decided to do some research to figure out what exactly is going on here and why.
What the Heck Is the Millennium Dumbbell?
The Millennium Dumbbell is an extremely impractical dumbbell that was created as a strongman challenge. This is not a dumbbell like you’d find at your local gym, or one that really anyone in the world would use for day-to-day exercises.
The strongest men and women in the world have extreme difficulty picking this baby up, and the list of people who have done so one-handed is very short. I’m talking, very short. We’ll get into that later. You could say it's an extreme way of measuring one's fitness level, if you can pick it up you are very strong.
Where Does The Millennium Dumbbell Get Its Name?
While I wasn’t able to find the exact origin, the common thinking is that this name refers to it being the ultimate dumbbell and that only one of one thousand strongmen would be able to lift it.
It was introduced by strongman Steve Gardner as a step-up from the previous ultimate dumbbell, “the one-inch dumbbell”.
What Are The Weight And Dimensions Of This Monster Dumbbell?
The Millennium Dumbbell weighs in at an enormous 228lbs. This alone is not what makes the dumbbell so hard to lift.
The handle itself is 2.38” thick in diameter. That’s huge. Like, really, really huge. For some comparison, the handle is about the size of a soda can.
The larger the handle is, the harder it is to get a proper grip on it in order to lift. To lift this dumbbell then, you not only need to have the strength to lift 228lbs off the ground with one hand but also the grip strength to support that weight with such a big handle.
This dumbbell favors those with very large hands. If your hands are smaller, it’s extremely unlikely you’ll be able to get the grip needed to lift it even if you can deadlift 1000lbs on a standard Olympic bar.
Is The Millennium Dumbbell For Sale?
If you’re reading this and thinking, that would be a fun addition to my gym, you’re not alone. After searching through forums where people have asked the same question, I came up with the answer.
Unfortunately, the Millennium Dumbbell was limited in its production and the molds for the initial Millennium Dumbbell have been retired or destroyed at this point. One of the people involved in creating the dumbbell said shipping would cost around $1,000 to get this to a home or gym in the US.
It was never meant to be a mass-produced item, and it is not for sale. Several companies make extremely large dumbbells that are for sale like the Rogue Monsterbell, but even these fall quite short of the original design in weight and handle size.
They’re simply not practical or usable for most people, and selling them doesn’t really make sense.
What Is The Millennium Dumbbell Challenge?
The Millennium Dumbbell challenge is fairly straightforward. You simply have to lift the dumbbell off the ground with one hand. Extra points if you can perform a full deadlift.
While this sounds simple, it’s only been achieved by a handful of people. While the exact number of people is unknown, it’s believed to be under 10.
Who Has Lifted the Millennium Dumbbell?
As I said, it’s a short list. A few of the known lifters who have completed this challenge are Laine Snook, Steve Gardner, Odd Haugen, Brian Shaw, and Joel Sword.
Laine Snook - Millennium Dumbbell Record Holder
Let’s start at the top and work out way down. Laine Snook is the only person to not only lift the Millennium Dumbbell, but lift two of them at once!
The video in question can be found here and is definitely worth checking out. You’ll get a sense of how impressive this is as we go down the list.
If you watch this video and think it doesn’t look that hard, that’s only because Laine is a monster of a man. He is 6’8, so that should give you some perspective as to how big these dumbbells are.
Joel Sward - Millennium Dumbbell Lift
Joel Sward can be seen picking up the Millennium Dumbbell here. Joel is also a huge guy and has an 800lb deadlift under his belt.
You can see him struggle with this dumbbell and despite his incredible strength, he cannot do a full deadlift with the weight.
Steve Gardner - Creator Of The Millennium Dumbbell
Steve Gardner brought the Millennium Dumbbell into this world and was the first person to get it off the ground. You can see him lifting the dumbbell here.
Steve Haugen - Grip strength Legend
Steve Haugen is known in the grip strength world as one of the best. He runs a shop dedicated to grip strength and is known for his incredible grip strength.
You can see Steve lifting the dumbbell off the ground here, and also the ridiculous amount of weight he’s able to grip with one hand.
Brian Shaw - Strongman legend
Brian Shaw is a well-known, extremely humble, and likable strongman. He’s 6’8 and weighed around 440lbs in his prime.
You can see Brian lifting the Millennium Dumbbell here. Keep in mind, this man has set world records for deadlifts of over 1,000lbs. And he still struggled to lift this dumbbell. Crazy right?
What Is The Thomas Inch Dumbbell? Is It Different From The Millennium Dumbbell?
Thomas Inch, an English strongman, invented a new dumbbell to meet his desire for hard-to-lift weights. He created a dumbbell that weighed 172lbs, with a handle diameter of close to 2.5”.
As with the Millennium Dumbbell, the handle of the Inch Dumbbell was about the size of a soda can. While the weight of the dumbbell itself is not impossible for an intermediate to advanced lifter to pick up, the handle made it impossible for most.
Who Is Thomas Inch? Why Is It Called The Inch Dumbbell?
Thomas Inch was an English strongman who was born in 1881. He held the title of “Britain’s Strongest Man” for the duration of his career, and was known around the world for his crazy feats of strength.
Thomas Inch was known to collect weights that were hard to lift, such as dumbbells with odd shapes and handle sizes. These dumbbells proved to be a challenge for him and his muscly friends when they felt lifting normal weights was too easy for them.
The name of the dumbbell then comes not from its handle diameter, but from its creator’s last name. Since Thomas created the dumbbell, he used his last name to identify it.
Thomas succeeded in his mission of creating a near-impossible-to-lift dumbbell. He was one of a handful of people at the time that was able to pick it up off the ground, much less perform a full deadlift.
What Is The Heaviest Dumbbell In The World?
As long as we’re on the subject of ridiculous heavy dumbbells, let’s talk about the heaviest dumbbell in the world. I’ll break it down into two categories. Hardest to lift, and heaviest.
What’s The Hardest-To-Lift Dumbbell In The World?
If we’re talking the hardest dumbbell in the world to lift, the Millennium Dumbbell takes the cake. It’s only been lifted single-handedly by around 10 people based on the videos and records I was able to find.
So for the hardest to lift, this dumbbell still takes the cake due to its ridiculously large handle size.
Okay, Well What About Purely From A Weight Perspective?
The current record for the world’s heaviest dumbbell, purely from a weight perspective, is the 420lb dumbbell created by Furious Pete. You can check out the video of him having this dumbbell made, and see the ridiculous proportions on his YouTube channel.
This dumbbell has a standard handle size, which makes it much, much easier to grip than the Inch Dumbbell or the Millennium Dumbbell. With that said, it’s ridiculously heavy for a dumbbell which makes it incredibly challenging to lift.
With that said, you can see Jujimufu lift the dumbbell single-handedly. Juji is a well-known strongman on youtube and is incredibly strong. Due to the fact that there is only one in existence, not many people have had the chance to lift this dumbbell.
I have no doubt that the people who have lifted the Millennium Dumbbell would be able to lift the 420lb dumbbell as well. At the time this video was recorded in late 2017, Furious Pete says that no one has been able to lift it single-handedly.
I attribute this to lack of attempts by the world’s strongest men, and not due solely to its weight. There are no videos of people like Brian Shaw, or Laine Snook attempting to lift Pete’s dumbbell.
What Exactly Is The Point Of Creating Such Heavy And Impractical Dumbbells?
It’s all about the challenge. These aren’t useful or practical dumbbells and are used as feats of strength. You won't be doing Zottman curls, seated tricep presses or alternating dumbbell press using these dumbbells for sure.
When you’re at the top of your game in the strongman world, you start wondering how far you can push the limits of what is possible. These dumbbells are a result of very strong men wanting a challenge, and bragging rights over their friends.
And personally, I think it’s great.
If you’ve enjoyed this article and like these crazy feats of strength, I’d recommend checking out the World’s Strongest Man competitions on YouTube (or live depending on when you’re reading this).
It’s truly impressive and ridiculous stuff.
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