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Scottish unicyclist breaks epic powerlifting record

 

At Guinness World Records, we cover incredible record breakers every day. 


Some athletes can unicycle, while others take on incredible powerlifting challenges. 


But how many can do both at the same time?


Scottish athlete Jason Auld amazed us all by breaking the record for the heaviest single weight lifted by barbell overhead press while riding a unicycle. 


He lifted 68 kg (149.91 lb), as verified in Edinburgh on 5 April 2021, and earned himself a spot in the Guinness World Records 2023 book. 



Less than a year later, in September 2022, to celebrate the release of Guinness World Records 2023, Jason went on to break a second record: highest box jump from a unicycle. 


The attempt happened on live TV, in collaboration with BBC show Blue Peter. 


On that occasion, Jason jumped on a table measuring 1.15 m (3 ft 9 in) from the ground in the presence of a Guinness World Records adjudicator. 


The fitness pro approached the table while unicycling, before jumping from the unicycle onto the top of the box.


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When asked how it feels to be part of the Guinness World Records 2023 book, Jason replies that it’s a dream come true. 


"As a kid, like many others, I would get the GWR book at Christmas and gaze in wonder at some of the most unique performances of speed, strength and endurance," Jason said.


"The thought that I am now one of the people kids will be looking at on Christmas Day is a feeling I never imagined possible. 


"It's also a huge addition to any kind of career legacy I may have."


Jason Auld driving a unicycle

Unicycling and powerlifting

Jason has been unicycling for 20 years, 15 of which as a professional. 


His career has seen him working as a performer, stuntman, content creator and filmmaker, shooting a short film exploring the emotion of fear. In the short movie, he unicycles on the edge of a five story building. 


"I was initially attracted to unicycling purely because no one else was doing it," Jason explains when asked how he discovered the passion for unicycling.  


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"As a kid, I never wanted to be the best at what everyone else was doing, I wanted to do something they'd never even thought of."


Skateboarding and BMXing culture, massively popular when Jason was young, heavily influenced his current style. He then decided to emulate that style of riding using a medium no one else had thought of: a unicycle.


Jason lifting on the unicycle with river as a background


Then, through his rugby training, Jason discovered powerlifting.


"Combining unicycling with feats of strength is something few, if any, have done and so that’s what interests me," he said. 


"The title of the film we made about my record was World’s Strongest Unicyclist and so I’m really keen to live up to that title with future record attempts."


Combining two skills such as powerlifting and unicycling was an ambitious challenge, and certainly not one without risks. 


Jason, however, mastered both to the point of racking up several world records – alone or with his team – in a few years. 


Jason on a unicycle lifting


Training for a record during a pandemic

Many can relate to the feeling of being trapped during the pandemic. 


The feeling of having your life put on stand-by, of not having immediate goals and challenges to overcome. 


As a professional unicyclist and avid powerlifter, Jason, like many others, was going through the same moment of stagnation. 


It was then that he started looking for something else, and decided he would break a record on his own. 


"It was a reaction to what felt like a very stagnant, under-productive year."


Training for a record shaped his routine at a moment when many struggled to find structure. 


"More than just setting the record itself, the process re-established structure in my life that had been lacking," he says. 


"Getting up early, training, having weekly goals, eating right, all of these things were essential for the record attempt yet had a much greater impact on my physical and mental health."


For eight weeks Jason juggled weightlifting sessions for five days a week, both on and off the unicycle. He also worked with a yoga instructor to improve shoulder and spinal mobility and core strength.


"The hardest part is getting started," Jason said. 


"In fact, for a while, I really wasn’t sure how I was going to get the bar onto my chest, never mind lift it."


Jason unicycling with background


Another issue was the space in Jason’s gym. 


During the attempt, he just had enough space to press and hold the weight before running out of room to cycle.


"I have found that logistics tend to be the things you struggle with but in the end, if you think outside the box, you can always make it work."


His second record attempt, which happened close to the Guinness World Records 2023 book launch, saw Jason confident of his skills and ready to break a record on live television.


"I’m a little bit nervous but all in all I’m confident," Jason said before his attempt at Blue Peter.

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