Bianca Belair is probably twice as strong as you. No, really 1 month ago

Bianca Belair is probably twice as strong as you. No, really

The Smackdown Women's Champion is one of the strongest superstars ever

Bianca Belair might just be the strongest woman ever to set foot in a WWE ring - but her sporting prowess stretches far further than basic brute strength.

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"At school I played almost every sport in the book," she told JOE ahead of her August 21st rematch against Sasha Banks at SummerSlam.

But it was powerlifting that paved the way for Belair's path into the WWE.

"Mark Henry saw videos of me wearing big old bows, sequins and tutus while power-cleaning over 200 pounds."

Henry is one of the strongest professional wrestlers in history and a former World Heavyweight Champion, making him a fairly adept talent scout.

"He [Mark Henry] was the one that said, 'You're doing everything that it takes. I can get you a tryout, but you have to do the rest.'"

Strength by numbers: Bianca Belair's personal bests

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  • Bench press: 195 pounds (88.5 kilograms)
  • Squat: 320 pounds (145 kilograms)
  • Deadlift: 400+ pounds (181+ kilograms)

Belair is known as the '-est of WWE', referring to her status as the strongest, fastest and toughest superstar on the roster.

When you look at the ease with which she military presses her opponents, it's easy to see why she earned such a nickname.

Bianca Belair military press Bianca Belair military presses other superstars for fun. (Credit: WWE)
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Belair once deadlifted and then military pressed Candice LeRae, parading her unfortunate opponent around the ring without breaking a sweat - before slamming her into the turnbuckle.

But her finest feat of strength came in January this year, when she picked up Otis - all 330 pounds (150 kilograms) of him.

These scenes were reminiscent of the time Brock Lesnar F5-ed The Big Show at Survivor Series 2002.

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Belair's superior strength has turned heads outside the WWE - but she admits some of the compliments can appear backhanded.

"People always say, 'You're so strong for your size!' Ok, that's cool. Just say I'm strong and leave it at that," she said, adding that she feels proud that young women look up to her and realise that being strong is cool.

"That means everything to me," Belair said.

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"When I was younger, I was always the 'bigger' girl in the group. My mother tried to put me in ballet, and they said 'This doesn't work - when she jumps and lands the mirrors shake.'"

Belair said she wishes she could have had similar role models when growing up.

"What empowers me is using my muscles and my strength, so if I can send that message to someone else - that's everything."

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Bianca Belair's workout routine

It's been a while since the Smackdown Women's Champion competed in powerlifting, but her training plan is still based around shifting some seriously heavy weight.

"I love lifting weights, I love lifting heavy weights - I love being sore," she said.

But how do you train to throw your rivals around a ring so easily?

Belair integrates a mixture of powerlifting (bench press, squat and deadlift) and CrossFit-style training into her regime.

This typically involves combining exercises such as battle ropes, med ball slams and watt bike sprints into a large circuit, usually performed after her major lifts.

Why Bianca Belair "doesn't do" diets

In a recent interview with Women's Health, Belair said she doesn't subscribe to any one particular diet - with good reason.

"I struggled, in high school, with eating disorders - bulimia and binge eating," she explained.

"In college, there was such a focus on my weight that dieting drove me crazy. Diets don't work for me."

Instead, Belair thinks of fitness and healthy eating as a lifestyle in itself - within which there is room for moderation.

"I went through a phase of eating no bread, no sugar, no fast food, no candy... But my momma told me I needed to eat some of it, otherwise one day I'd lose it - and eat all of it."

She now prefers a more flexible way of eating - consuming her favourite foods a couple of times a week, but never over or under-indulging.

"If I want something, I'll eat it - but I have to have it in moderation."

Bianca Belair will defend the Smackdown Women's Championship against Sasha Banks at SummerSlam. (Credit: WWE)

However, Belair probably won't be pigging out even if she is victorious against Sasha Banks.

"People find this a little weird, but I actually eat my comfort food the night before a big event," she explained.

"I feel like if I've put the work in for the weeks and months leading up to that moment, whatever I do the night before is not gonna show up the next day."

Watch Bianca on WWE SmackDown via WWE Network and BT Sport, as well as the hottest event of the summer; SummerSlam – it’s not one to be missed! Bianca will also be part of WWE Live, touring the UK across Newcastle, London, Cardiff and Glasgow from September 19th to 22nd. Tickets available via ticketmaster.