Fitness Tips

This 78-Year-Old Powerlifter Deadlifts 400 Pounds—Here’s Her Secret

Erin Bunch

Photo: Stocksy / Riley JB
I‘m so world weary that I find the remote to be a heavy lift most days, and I’m only less than half the age of Nora Langdon, a 78 year-old setting world records in powerlifting. She can deadlift 400 pounds. I would be dead if I tried to lift more than 40 pounds. We are not the same.

At 65, Langdon decided it was time to get into shape. She joined Royal Oak Gym near her home in Michigan as the logical first step, but instead of walking the treadmill a few times a week, she thought she’d give the barbell a shot. And that is exactly what she did.

Since then, she’s set an astounding 19 world records for her age group. Langdon credits her success to perseverance and faith. To those who want to follow in her footsteps, Langdon offers essentially the same advice evangelized by my favorite neuroscientist Dean Sherzai, MD, PhD: break your big goal (e.g., deadlifting 400 pounds at 78 years-old) into smaller goals (such as lifting more than just the remote) that, when completed over time, culminate in your big goal.

New to deadlifts? Start with a kettlebell:

In other words, if you want to be able to run 10 miles, start by running a half-mile and build up from there. And no matter what, be consistent in your training, says Langdon.

That’s been the recipe to her success and, while I admire her, I’m also annoyed because it means I have no excuse for not being able (read: willing) to lift more than a bag of Trader Joe’s Chili & Lime Flavored Rolled Corn Tortilla Chips. I was going to skip my workout today because [insert pandemic-related excuse] but I guess if I want to reach my big goal of still being alive at 78, I need to start somewhere. Like, with not skipping my workout or, at the very least, taking a mild to moderate walk around the block.

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