Inspiration from Johann Martin

Below is a video of exercise highlights from 63 year old Johann Martin. The video title (50 Jahre Kampf mit dem Eisen) translates to 50 years of struggle with the iron. An early caption (bilder und videos von 1967-2010) states that the clip contains pictures and videos from 1967 through 2010. It also indicates that Martin’s training continues (aber das training geht weiter). This is quite evident after witnessing the amazing display seen in his recent 2010 footage.

Johann remains in incredible shape, performing movements that many men half his age would struggle to perform. He is certainly a testament to consistency and hard work. His performance is impressive for any age, but the fact that he’s 63 makes it even more incredible.


  1. Not only is he super strong, he’s extremely nimble for a big man.

    Thanks for posting this Ross, I really needed it.

    At 46, I tend to look backwards a good deal focusing on what I missed. I guess one might call it a sporatic mid-life crisis. Yesterday was really bad, so this was quite refreshing. Shows that there is plenty of life left even into the golden years.

    Thanks again, Scott

  2. No one could argue with Johann’s impressive, athletic and acrobatic workouts, but it does make me wonder about the human body and how capable it is of adapting to the habits and exertions that we demand of it over a lifetime. He has clearly been working out for a long time and the body is accommodating to his demands because it doesn’t look like he is shocking his muscle memory.

    Many of his workouts look too easy for him, especially the kettlebell moves. However, the pullups looked a challenge. His core is very strong, but he has clearly let his diet get the better of him.

    Still as I was watching him during his 2010 workouts, there were moments when I feared that he was going to injure himself or go just a bit too far. There seems to be this cultural pressure for older athletes to also prove themselves these days and youtube has become the venue of choice for obvious reasons.

    I would be most impressed in seeing a couch potato who has done a complete physical turn around and transformed him or herself into a strong and agile athlete. The older ex-athletes who keep it up just tell me that the body can adapt to many forms of external muscular habits. I’ve seen 75 year old bricklayers work at what I would call an inhuman rate with extremely heavy loads. It’s a lifelong habit, but put that brickie in a different posture and using different muscles and the results would be embarrassing and dangerous. That is how a lot of athletes, young and old, hurt themselves. With the belief that they are fit, because of a high degree of muscular adaptation, they attempt an exercise or workout that they are not physically prepared to do, they finally injure themselves.

  3. That was awesome! Thanks for sharing, Ross. People like that need to be more popular and appreciated, he is an example that every young person should see and respect. Instead, we are watching Jersey Shore and Paris Hilton!

  4. Wow, for any one of any age this is amazing, at 63 incredible! I think i will put this video on my blog at some point!!

    Thanks putting this up Ross

  5. I think it’s well done for a man of his age, but I agree with your comment.
    He can only do the workouts he know so well in a good form. Anyway I’m still impressed

  6. Super impressive.

    Does it make me a bad person for wanting to make fun of the sparkly tights his workout mates were wearing?

    He’s still a beast, mind you, but those were hilarious.

  7. This guy is incredible.

    Tomislav im not sure what you are on about in several of your remarks. Regarding older thletes “proving themselves” and risking injury; he’s built up a lifetime of experience and strength skills and im sure he knows exactly what he is and isnt capable of. No-one performs a neck bridge + people+ weights to prove themselves on youtube!
    Regarding his diet, he’s a strength athlete and you’ll have to forgive him for not having a six pack at 63.

    I found the video absolutely awesome and would not assume to know anything worth critisising this man for.

  8. Chezza, I’m not in any way discounting or denigrating Johann’s accomplishments. They’re incredible for a 63 year old man. That wasn’t the point. One part is point of view. Perceptually, and not surprisingly due to aging, he wasn’t as adept at handling several of the workout tasks. To my eye, it looked pretty precarious at moments. This is only an opinion, but I had a frame of reference from his earlier years. I’m sure he knows exactly what he’s doing, but I’m not a rah, rah, rah, kind of guy. I like to analyze and I am skeptical by nature and training. He looked a little shaky at times. This could be completely mistaken on my part, but that is just fine.

    It’s not only aging, but in the exercises he chose to film: one part was acrobatic and in many ways they were a repeat of what he had done many years ago, showing that he still had the skills and the strength. However, there was a tension in many of his workouts in that I began to wonder if his prowess wasn’t simply exceptional strength and fitness, but muscular memory. Muscles naturally adapt over time to your workouts, so change is essential. This is a question of inquiry more than criticism. He could be able to do a lot of exercises with a high degree of competence. However, his workouts reminded me of many old timers that I have known who were astonishingly accomplished in certain physical ways, but not in other ways, and still had a need to prove themselves. Apparently this doesn’t diminish with age and wisdom.

    Frankly, I’m always skeptical when it comes to film and physical ability. There are a lot of magicians out there. I don’t necessarily conflate the medium with the reality.

  9. Well said Fred! Tremendous work for anyone at any age!

    To the haters, I’m a skeptic of skeptics. I’m sure Johann will continue to impress and inspire, even without you holding his hand and guiding him through your recommended workouts. He only has 50 years of experience. It must count for something 😉

  10. Tomislav:

    Your comments are very insightful. Do you believe Johann would have made better aesthetic (and overall) progress if he continued to shock his body with new exercises even as he got older ?

  11. Tomislav,

    Your comments are stupid. After seeing how much weight he lifted with his arms, you say he had a problem with pullups? I say B.S. First of all, he had already started and the video didn’t show what he had already done. He could have been on his 40th rep for all you know, you arm chair detractor! And to say that his diet got the best of him is also stupid and shows prone you are to believing the cultural ideal of small (weak) obliques and six pack showing. Science has proven this ideal is wrong and that it is healthy to have some fat. Look at some NFL players, the great fighter – Fedor Emelianenko, the strongman of old. Are you trying to say that some model faggot on the cover of Men’s Health is in better shape than these guys? Look at some animals in nature, a healthy bull, a whale, a bear. It’s healthy to carry some fat well and Johann certainly does that!

  12. The first video really brought back memories of my trip down there 3 years ago this time of year. We rode big dirt bikes (650s) all the way from Idaho. It’s an amazingly beautiful place and actually the deepest canyon in North America (yes, even deeper than the Grand Canyon) Some of the terrain makes the Rocky mountains look like Kansas. The people are great but there really is a huge military and police presence because of all the narcos. It’s so sad what those basterds do. They force the Tarahumara to stop growing food and grow drugs instead. I would like to encourage everyone who know anyone who uses drugs like cocaine and others that come from Mexico to put all your training to good use and kick the shit out of those loadies for taking part in the destruction of a people and a culture.

  13. Absolutely incredible.

    I had to watch through my fingers when the guy was balancing the two kettlebells over his head though.

    All-in, absolutely amazing.

  14. Beautiful example of intelligent, life long and masterful lifting. When I am 63 I hope that I can “only do the workouts I am capable of doing!”

    The grace and effortlessness in the way he floats 32kgs kettlebells up probably suggests he could do a raggedy catch with a pair of 50s!!


  15. Tomislav you sure write a lot of bullshit.

    I think you are simply jealous of this great man, else you wouldn’t make such stupid remarks.

  16. I think this is an incredible feat of strength and it made me think about a video that I saw recently. Not sure if any of you are familiar with Parkour/Freerunning, but this video shows incredible acrobatics and strength from a guy in Sweden, Cato Aspmo. Give it a bit to get going. Some of Cato’s skills are absolutely incredible.

  17. Being 19 years old and seeing that just tells you how much time you have left. Those are truly impressive feats and i hope that i will be able to replicate them.

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