split image of Levente doing pull ups

In an incredible display of upper-body and grip strength, 18-year-old Levente Arany-Toth (Hungary) has broken the world record for the most one-armed pull ups in one minute, achieving a total of 25.

The previous record of 24 was set earlier this year by Li Zechuan (China).

Levente has been doing calisthenics since he was 14, and he trained “intensely” for around six months to break this record.

“I didn’t receive any professional training because I wanted to break the record all by myself,” he revealed.

split image of Levente doing a pull up

Impressively, Levente has never lifted free weights or used weight machines; he has developed his body through calisthenics alone, wearing weighted belts and vests to make his exercises more difficult.

Levente has attempted to break this record twice before, failing both times. His first attempt was in October 2022, but unfortunately his pull-up form did not meet the required standards.

“Looking back at it, it was more than fair, as my form was horrible,” he said. “My chin didn't really raise above the bar.”

Levente then attempted it again in April this year, and he successfully surpassed the previous record – or so he thought.

He performed 22 pull ups with perfect form, beating the then-record of 21, achieved by Cheang Wai Hun (China) in September 2022. But to his dismay, he soon discovered that Li Zechuan had also exceeded Cheang’s record with an even higher total of 24.

“I was pretty down initially, that I didn't get it for the second time, but I am not one to give up easily, so I decided to push harder than ever,” Levente recalls.

He commenced training for the record again, doing 60-minute sessions three times per week, in addition to continuing his bodybuilding training.

Levente hanging below bar

For three months, he didn’t do any exercises involving his biceps or back besides pull ups. He also cut as much weight as possible without losing the ability to build strength, ensuring his body was in the optimal state to perform a record-breaking number of pull ups. 

Levente is a vegan, and even though his diet is generally quite healthy, in the week leading up to his record attempt, he says he was “super strict” with it.

“Everything was measured out to the T, and I went back to maintenance calories,” he explained.

After such intensive preparation, Levente was ready for his official record attempt.

He performed the first 15 pull ups at a rapid pace of roughly one per second and completed the final 10 in sets of 3-4 before collapsing to the ground, exhausted.

Due to miscounting his reps, Levente thought he’d failed for a third time, but upon rewatching the footage, he realized that he’d amazingly broken the record by one pull up.

Levente lying on floor

For Levente, the most challenging aspect of this record attempt was the “mental struggle”, not the physical strain.

“I can get pretty anxious about performance events that matter to me a lot,” he explained.

“I knew a good mind space is crucial to beating records like this, so I was preparing a lot for it with mental-imagery and mindfulness.”

Levente draws inspiration from athletes and bodybuilders such as David Goggins, Chris Bumstead, and Ronnie Coleman, and he believes that if it weren’t for their teachings, he wouldn’t have achieved this record.

I am also really grateful for my family, who have helped me through this process tremendously.

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