The other day I was at the gym working out when I noticed an older but solid looking gent piling an impressive number of plates on the bar. He appeared to be within a stone’s throw of fifty and had an air of a long time lifter about him though if you saw him on the street you might guess that he was a construction worker rather than an aspiring Arnold. The guy was doing barbell shrugs, an exercise for the trapezius muscles where you lift the weight by hunching your shoulders upwards. I watched him a while. He topped out at a little over 900 lbs. The photo gives you an idea of what that kind of weight looks like:
To put this feat in perspective, my personal best in that exercise when I was thirty, in peak condition and considered unusually strong by bodybuilding standards, was the low 700’s! While shrugging can’t compare to deadlifting in terms of effort, what this gentleman managed was absolutely remarkable. Generally, the only guys who could touch that kind of weight would be accomplished powerlifters or Olympic lifters – large ones – and maybe a few NFL or Big Ten linemen. Maybe. Certainly much bigger dudes than the guy I saw shrugging yeterday.
Inspired by his example, I decided to shrug with 500 today, something I’ve not done in a while. It felt good. Who knows? Maybe when I’m fifty I too will be muscling up almost half a ton.