500+ pounds at age 75!

I’ve posted many age related stories to this blog, but today’s entry is perhaps the best yet. Below is a video of master powerlifter Wim van Weenen deadlifting 237.5kg at age 75! That’s approximately 524 pounds!

The irony of this feat is that there are keyboard jocks half his age who’d be lucky to pull half this weight who still waste time blabbing that weight lifting is dangerous. I wish I had a time machine to see where the haters will be when they reach 75.

As I’ve said before (yet worth repeating), ignorance is far more dangerous than any piece of iron. Wim van Weenen offers perhaps the best real world example of weight lifting and longevity. And please don’t confuse the message. No one is suggesting that you enlist your grandmother or grandfather in the next powerlifting meet. I’m also not suggesting that powerlifting is the fountain of youth. Wim van Weenen didn’t become who he is today in a few weeks or months. He’s clearly put forth a tremendous (and consistent) effort.

Personally, I have no interest in powerlifting, but I sure as hell tip my hat to those who are dedicated to the sport. As I said in a recent article, I don’t respect athletes for what they do. I respect athletes for how they do it. Wim offers living proof of the body’s tremendous capability when treated properly. I believe we can all find inspiration from his display, regardless of our own personal sporting interests.

Use it or lose it, and when you do use it, use it wisely.



  1. My brothers father in law was 77 a WWII vet and was still pumping iron by his pool side it impressed the hell out of me. Cancer finally got him but it wasn’t from not being fit! Just another reason to do something!

  2. I’m not one of those keyboard jocks, I respect Wim van Weenen, and I agree with you. (I’m also half his age and no, I wouldn’t be able to lift half that weight!).

    But Ross, surely you agree that some people’s concern over weights is a legitimate concern of LONG TERM effects of weights done incorrectly? Let alone not using proper form, building up too quickly too soon (as some do) could cause injuries later on. And, in honesty, neither you or I know what type of condition Wim is in – certainly great strength – but other aspects of being in good health. I’m not being antagonistic – yes I find it challenging and inspiring (and I love these posts) – but this time I felt compelled to write and say that I don’t think the story (great as it is) proves one of the points you make: that weight lifting (done ‘right’) isn’t ‘dangerous’ (to one’s long term, pain-free & healthy body).
    I’m not saying it is either – just that what someone can achieve doesn’t prove it either way.

    Your last line is great: “Use it or lose it, and when you do use it, use it wisely.”
    That’s why for me, I won’t bother with weights yet – not until I can do a lot more with my own body weight!

  3. How do your comments differ from LONG TERM effects of bodyweight exercise done incorrectly. There are countless possibilities for “incorrect” use which could lead to numerous problems down the road. I’m a HUGE bodyweight advocate, but many who train with bodyweight exercise have been fooled to believe that since it is our own body, any related movement is safe, regardless of how it is used.

    Proper use of any modality IS safe. The fact that some people may use certain tools incorrectly (including bodyweight) does nothing to suggest that the tool is dangerous, but instead highlights the fact that ignorance is dangerous.

    Just ask Jack Lalanne about the use of free weights. He’s in his 90’s and still going strong. Last week I also posted a video of an 87 year old woman who lifts weights regularly.

    As for the man seen within this video, here is another video of him and fellow members of his gym.


    Not many elderly folks in their age group have anywhere near the physical capability that you’ll see within.


  4. Thanks for that Ross.
    I’m not sure how my comments do differ from long term incorrect use of bodyweight exercise – as I had never considered incorrect use of bodyweight exercise to be a possibility!

    So yes, it really does seem to come down to INCORRECT use of any modality being the issue (in the negative), therefore correct use leads to health and strength benefits.

    Thinking more about it from even my own situation – it’s not even that weights are NECESSARILY inappropriate for me (as I would have thought) – but clearly, in my current condition, it would be easy to use weights that are too heavy. But that would be MY mistake – nothing to stop me using light weights as I ought. But thats no different than saying, “why bother wearing a weighted vest for pushups when I can’t yet crank out 20 without one”.
    So – it’s really not the tools used hey? It’s whether the person is a tool or not 🙂

  5. Thanks for this inspirational clip. I just finished my annual medical check up and all is fine after 25 years of hard-core training. If I can pull off the same thing when I hit 75, I’ll be a lucky and happy man.

    And the fact that he’s called “Wim” too is just too funny. 🙂

    Great post Ross,


  6. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFXq2cNzxPQ
    (nothing to watch after 4:50)

    Talking about older generation strength ? That fella should be known worldwide: Mr Jan Luka

    My translation of major part:

    “Hi my name is Jan Luka.
    I’ve started my adventure with weights 40 years ago at age of 18. I’ve started at WKS “Flota” in Olympic weigthlifting but my achievements were not satisfactory so I’ve started training power lifting. I was 18 times Champion of Poland in a row.
    My records were bench press 222,5 kg, squat 302,5 kg and dead lift 325,5 kg. I was also a World and European Champion. Additionally I was 4 times World Champion in bench press.
    In 2005 I’ve beat Mariusz Pudzianowski (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mariusz_Pudzianowski) in chin ups with weight, short dead lift and Hercules’s grip. Those exercises are my favorite and probably I’m the best in world. I made a 400 kg short dead lift (without any equipment) Mariusz did 320 kg, chin up with 101 kg, Mariusz 75kg and I’ve held grip 5 seconds longer.
    Yesterday i had my 59th birthday.
    My plan for next year is to start in veterans power lifting championships in group 4 (over 60 years old) and I have a plan to beat all world records: in bench press, dead lift and squat.
    Don’t stop sports career after 25th year of age. Simply – sports career should take from 18 to 65 🙂
    To look like me, and I think I don’t look bad it’s enough to keep sport lifestyle. Champion is born at gym not in bed. You just have to train smart and do it regular. I do my maximum weight exercises once a 3 weeks. Remember – do not exceed with attempts to break a record, do it smart.I do train times a week… ”

    I’m sorry for lack of translation quality.

  7. Fantastic achievement!
    I will be 60 this month (GOD willing)
    and am really thrilled when I see stuff like this.
    It just shows what is possible!
    Thank you very, very much!

  8. That is a strong pull at any age.Thanks for sharing I’m going to keep this as a favourite for when I’m slacking.

    Cheers Mark

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