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78-Year-Old Grandma Breaks Weightlifting Record

| by Zara Zhi
Shirley Webb Shirley Webb

A 78-year-old grandmother from East Alton, Illinois, set a weightlifting record for her age, astonishing people by deadlifting 225 pounds in three repetitions.

Two years ago, Shirley Webb, was out of breath just walking up the stairs and had to cling to the railing.

"I've seen such a remarkable difference in myself,'' Webb told Today. “I'm glad that people are getting inspired by me doing this. I had one lady come in the gym and say, 'I saw your video and I decided to come down and join this club.' That makes me feel good."

Webb had never picked up a weight until she was 76 years old and now she can deadlift up to 245 pounds. Her first foray into weightlifting was when she joined a Club Fitness in Wood River, Illinois, after her granddaughter convinced her to join in April 2014.

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She worked with personal trainer John Wright who realized her potential, according to WOWT.

 "My trainer realized that I was kind of strong, so he kept adding weights,'' says Webb.

Eventually, she worked her way up to competing in the Missouri State Powerlifting and Midwest Open in St. Louis in the 75-and-older division in June 2015. As a requirement, Webb had to do bench presses and squats in the competition, which she successfully accomplished, even though she had never attempted them in training.

She ended up winning her division with a 215-pound deadlift as her family cheered her on.

Then in November 2015, she deadlifted 237 pounds at a competition in Belleville, Illinois, breaking a state record for her age group.

Webb's next competition is scheduled for June 4, where she is attempting to set a personal record of a 260-pound deadlift.

"I feel fantastic,'' she said. "I work out twice a week with my trainer, sometimes three times, and I'm just feeling great."

Webb has been married to her husband, Dick, since 1957 and the couple have two sons and two granddaughters.

"I have nieces and nephews who are going crazy about it,'' Webb said. "They are absolutely thrilled with me. I get nervous during the competition, but I enjoy it because my family and my nieces are just so happy that I'm doing this."

Sources: Today, WOWT / Photo credit: Ed Webb via Today

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