We Talked to the Powerlifter With Cerebral Palsy Whose Deadlift Went Viral

On Wednesday evening, as his training session came to a close, Miles Taylor went for just one more rep. The 24-year-old from Maryland wanted to try one more deadlift alongside his trainer, Nicolai Myers. This time though, he’d stack on a few extra pounds and attempt to hit a new personal record: A 200-pound deadlift.

For a lot of powerlifters, that may not seem like much, but for Taylor, it marked a monumental win. That’s because Taylor, who is relatively new to the competitive lifting scene, also lives with cerebral palsy. But that didn’t stop him from trying for—and obliterating—that 200-pound mark.

“200lb deadlift at 99lb!! More than double my bodyweight!!! HECK YEAH!,” Taylor shared on Instagram from the pair’s gym, Neversate.

“I was so excited to finally hit 200 pounds because it’s been a goal of mine since I started training,” Taylor says.

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200lb deadlift at 99lb!! More than double me bodyweight!!! HECK YEAH! A huge thank you to my coach @uncle.nic for alway being by my side and teaching how to hitch!! And thank you to my @neversate fam for always cheering me on! You guys a the greatest! #grateful #strongman #neversate #theloyalbrand #cerebralpalsy #deadlift #workout

A post shared by Smiles Taylor (@smiles_taylor) on

The video of Taylor’s deadlift is compelling on its own, however, the story behind it is even better. “We’ve been friends since middle school,” Myers, a Strongman competitor and Army veteran, told Men’s Health. “He’s not just a client. He’s been a friend of mine for quite some time.”

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Love my coach @uncle.nic Always teaching me new things like how to toss a tire over my head! Just gotta keep at it and eventually I will it!! #grateful #neversate #theloyalbrand #cerebralpalsy #strongman #powerlifting #workout #gym

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One year ago, Myers explains, Taylor walked into the gym to do a little photography and graphic design work. He spotted Myers and a few athletes lifting Atlas stones as part of their training regime. Immediately, Taylor knew he wanted in. And that was just fine with Myers.

“He’s always been into sports, so I said, ‘Hey, let’s give this a shot,’” Myers said.

The pair began to work out together, and almost immediately Taylor took to it like “a fish to water.” Taylor started coming in to work with his trainer on Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays, working on the four main lifts: Squat, bench, overhead, and deadlift.

Of course, they have to modify certain moves for Taylor’s training. According to Myers, that typically includes more stability training than your average lifting session.

“He can’t get a perfectly straight back,” Myers explained, “So it’s basically teaching him to brace properly. What may take you or me a week to learn may take Taylor a month.”

And that’s OK with both of them. So far, his progress has been steady: Taylor already competed in his first powerlifting competition, and is looking at his second this spring.

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What a day!! My first competition was amazing, but even more amazing is the fact that I my @neversate family, my coach @uncle.nic and a bunch of new friends in whom I just met by my side cheering on everyone! Because of them I went 9 for 9 on my lifts and hit a deadlift PR! Thank you! #neversate #grateful #cerebralpalsy #powerlifting #family

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“Two-times bodyweight is an intermediate lift,” Myers says, indicating why the now viral clip of Taylor’s lift is so impressive. “It’s really awesome for someone to do within their first year.” As for what’s next? “What might be the limit now, he’ll fly through next week,” Myers says. “He’s only getting stronger.”

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185lb deadlift!!!! 30lb PR!!! Heck yeah!! I coming for you, 200lb!! Thanks you to my coach @uncle.nic and my @neversate family for always encouraging me! Y’all mean the world to me! #grateful #neversate #cerebralpalsy #deadlift #powerlifting #strongman

A post shared by Smiles Taylor (@smiles_taylor) on

Taylor, meanwhile, is relatively unfazed by how quickly he’s progressed: His latest feat is merely a reflection of his work ethic in the gym. “All the hard work I put in paid off at that moment,” Taylor said. “It was never a matter of if I could do it. It was a matter of when I could do it.”

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