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Arizona Man Breaks World Bench Press Record at 91

Update Date: Jun 14, 2013 03:19 PM EDT
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Who says you can lift more weights than grandpa? An Arizona man broke the weightlifting record at the age of 91.

Sy Perlis, from Surprise, Arizona, benched 187.2 pounds at the National Bench Push-Pull Press and Dead Lift Championships on Saturday in Phoenix, smashing the 2005 135-pound record for bench press in the 90-and-over age division.

What's more, Perlis only started lifting weight at the age of 60 and entered his first championship competition until five years ago, according to the Arizona Republic.

"I got a lot of satisfaction out of it, and it made me feel good, and it was good for me," Perlis told the Arizona Republic.

Perlis took home a state weightlifting title when he competed in the division for 85-to-89-year-olds in 2009, and won the world weightlifting title for the 181-pound weight category in 2010 and 2011. Perlis said he had to take 2012 off after having pacemaker surgery.

Perlis, who trains five days a week said that weightlifting gave him the opportunity to do something to test himself.

"And I didn't have to run around to do it, as you would in some other sports," he said.

Gus Rethwisch, the president of the World Association of Benchers and Deadlifters, said that Perlis is an inspiration to others.

"We've had a lot of lifters in their middle 80s, late 80s and occasionally we get one 90 and over, but they've never inspired people" the way Perlis has, Rethwisch said.

Doctors say it's a common misconception that exercise is dangerous for older people.

"The risk of leading a sedentary lifestyle is much greater than anything related to exercise," Chhanda Dutta, chief of the Clinical Gerontology Branch of the National Institute on Aging said, according to ABC News. "I think it's important for people to realize that age alone doesn't determine the intensity of your workout."

According to Perlis, his doctor knows lifts weights. His doctors exact words were, "If you can do it, do it," according to Perlis.

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