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Keeping Strong – deadlift

Today’s blog for English students is about weight lifting. There is quite some interest in this area, as for those who have never done it before it’s never too late to learn.

When I began at eighteen years old, I joined a YMCA club in Wimbledon, London, with a few mates. It’s rather funny now that I look back and remember picking up baby weights. It took years of training five or six days a week most of the year round to grow strong. However, I was never one to reach maximum potential and settled as average for my size.


Now in my 60s and without working out with weights for over a month, today’s gym visit required the usual warming up and additional care meaning no extremely heavy repetitions. If I’ve been off for a while, working back into it again needs careful deliberation and flair. In the meantime, I’ve been circuit training with my own body weight.


Deadlift was chosen to start weight training for simply being a good overall movement to get the spine working from lower to upper back. As well it provides great strength training for the legs, so I would go as far to say it’s a good generally exercise to work the whole body, including arms as quite heavy weights are achievable.

According to my research older lifters should be able to lift quite well with some training behind their belt. The only problem is I don’t use a belt. Apparently, a man in his 50s, should be able to start with 120 pounds and work up to 430 pounds, and if in his 60s, start with 90 pounds and work up to 325 pounds to attain elite status. I dug into this tidbit of info doing online research today.


I’m glad to say I stopped short of my max weight doing 120kg (264lbs) for several repetitions today (photo above me doing 132kg (290lbs) in São Paulo). 325 pounds would be 148kg which would be a one rep max for me. I’m not bragging, but rather stating a fact.


Actually, in 2002 at 42 years of age, I competed as a master (veteran) on behalf of the Hebraica club against the well-known Palmeiras club, being fortunate enough to win two medals for snatch and clean and jerk which was attained from six-month’s power lifting preparation giving our club the winning trophy.

The snatch is where the weightlifter picks up the barbell and lifts it above his head in one singular motion. In the clean and jerk, the weightlifter is first required to pick up the barbell and bring it up to his chest (clean). Then he jerks it off his chest into a military press position directly above the shoulders, locking the elbows and extended.


Edmilson Dantas who also participated at the event for Palmeiras club is a name unknown to the general public in the sport which has received little help in Brazil. Power lifting was his passion, and like me he has always practiced weightlifting. A year later, he started a coaching career at Pinheiros club at the age of 39. During his amateur career he won five bronze medals at the Pan American Games, and placed in three Olympics for Brazil.

A colleague of mine, who also competed at the event, Sergio Britva trained and competed for the Hebraica club eventually moving to Israel, where he ended up representing the country. In 2010 he won the World’s Master Championship in Poland. Such an achievement demonstrates year upon year performance and the commitment to make continuous improvements to develop the winning edge.


The championship mentality provides cutting edge growth prospects. We aren’t talking about being the absolute champion, but rather the attitude of a leader, the kind of person that gives 100% to attaining goals!


Take care!

Prof. Carl Boniface


P.S. If you want to improve your spoken English then contact me for online classes from anywhere in the world: 55 (11) 97607-6871


Vocabulary builder:

Deliberation (n) = planning, thought, consideration, reflection, although it can also be used for discussion, debate, and negotiation.

Flair (n) = skill, talent, aptitude, feel, ability, knack, (ant) ineptitude

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