Dr Jan Todd, Powerlifting

Dr.Jan Todd began powerlifting in 1973 after marrying Dr. Terry Todd. She broke the Guinness World Record of 394 pounds in the deadlift in 1975, which was a 49-year record. She became the first woman to lift over 400 pounds ever in 1976 by deadlifting 412 pounds. The record streak went on, as she also became the first woman to lift a combined 1,200 in three lifts: squat, bench press, and deadlift. She was once named the strongest woman in the world by Sports Illustrated and other magazines. In 2009, she was the first female to be inducted into the International Powerlifting Hall of Fame. 

"When I began lifting weights in the early 1970s, there were few women who trained Dr Jan Toddwith barbells in the U.S.," says Todd, who was dubbed "the strongest woman in the world" by many media outlets and athletes during her power lifting days. "And there were almost no other women who were interested in the idea of enhancing their strength and building muscle through training.  After some of the media coverage I received—in Sports Illustrated, in People magazine and on television shows like Johnny Carson's 'Tonight Show'—I got letters and phone calls from all sorts of people. Track and field coaches, university athletes and women interested in power lifting wrote thanking me for not being afraid to lift in men's contests and for speaking out on behalf of women."

When Todd began power lifting in 1975, there were no rules or sanctioned contests for women, so she lobbied the national power lifting association to allow women to compete and helped draft the first rules governing women's participation. She also served as national and international chairperson for women's power lifting in the association during the early years of the sport.

On top of all that Jan and her husband Terry found The Stark Center a museum dedicated to the study and preservation of physical culture.

Thank you Dr. Jan Todd for paving the way.

Powerlifting Accomplishments
(via USPA)

1981     First woman inducted into International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) Hall of Fame

1975     Broke 49-year-old Guinness record in the two-hand deadlift with a lift of 394.5 pounds in first competition. Chattanooga, Tennessee.

1976     First woman to officially exceed 400 pounds in any powerlift with a deadlift of 412 pounds, Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada.

1977     First Place, All American Women’s Open, Nashua, New Hampshire. (This was the first sanctioned national meet for women.)

1978     First woman to total over 1, 000 pounds in the three powerlifts (squat, bench press and deadlift), Stephenville Crossing, Newfoundland, Canada.

1977     First woman to officially squat more than 400 pounds.

1978     First woman to total over 1100 pounds in the three powerlifts, Stephenville Crossing, Newfoundland, Canada.

1979     Lifted the highest total of any woman in the First IPF Women's World Championships, Billerica, Massachusetts.

1979     First and, as far as I know still the only woman to lift the famous Dinnie Stones in Scotland. [In the highlands of Scotland, lifting boulders was one of the rites of passage into manhood, thus they are called "manhood stones.] The Dinnie Stones, at 780 pounds, are the heaviest such stones in Scotland and have been lifted by only a few men over the centuries.

1981     First woman to exceed 500 pounds in any powerlift: 507-pound squat, Memphis, Tennessee.

1981     Established my highest world records in the heavyweight division: world record squat of 545.5 pounds, world record deadlift of 479 pounds, and world record total of 1229.5 pounds. Columbus, GA.

1982     First woman to total over 1200 pounds in the three powerlifts, Atlanta, Georgia.

1982     First athlete (male or female) to establish a world record in the newly formed American Drug Free Powerlifting Association: 446-pound deadlift at a bodyweight of 148 pounds, Mobile, Alabama.

1983     World record deadlift of 474.5 pounds at a bodyweight of 146 pounds (USPF nationals)

1984     American Drug Free National Powerlifting Championships--Gold Medal.

1984     American Record deadlift: 463.5 pounds at a bodyweight of 163.

1996     American Master's (40-44) Record in deadlift of 425 pounds. American Drug Free Powerlifting Association, Austin, Texas.

** LEARN MORE at http://www.starkcenter.org/ **


  • Beau Wrighr: June 05, 2023

    Wow! I’ve had the pleasure to meet World Famous Docktor Todd and she is fantastic! Patient, so intelligent and knowledgeable, also strong.

  • betting exchange : June 05, 2023

    I appreciate you sharing. Your piece about “Girls Who Powerlift History – Dr. Jan Todd” was interesting to read. This content will be bookmarked for sure.

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