When you hear about elderly women? What comes to your mind? Someone sweet and innocent. Perhaps even a little frail. We are taught to extend help to the elderly because they are weaker than us.
But Shirley Webb, a 78-year-old, could not be farther from the “little old lady” stereotype. She is sweet, but she is also very strong. A video of her deadlifting 225 pounds three times with the ease of the Incredible Hulk went viral on the Internet.
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Her amazing feat went viral with the online viewers praising her for her strength, resiliency, and choice of workout clothes. Over the past year, Webb has become a powerlifting phenomenon. She set deadlifting records in Illinois and Missouri, being able to lift 237 pounds.
This body transformation is even more amazing because only two years ago, Webb was a different person—one that could fit the stereotype of what it is to be elderly.
She recalls her past health condition by saying, “At the time, I couldn’t walk up the stairs unless I held on to the handrail, and if I got on the floor, I couldn’t get up without a chair.”
Then Webb joined Club Fitness in Wood River, Illinois, with her granddaughter.
With the help of trainer John Wright, her physical condition improved quickly. Within six months of training, she was lifting over 200 pounds. After a year, she was setting records in age and weight divisions. By next year, you can only assume she will be even stronger and more amazing.
Webb competed in Missouri State Powerlifting and Midwest Open in St. Louis in the 75 and older division. She won her division with a 215-pound deadlift that many younger men and women can’t do.
Her trainer said about her, “She’s gotten to the point where everybody greets her and is just absolutely impressed. She inspires everybody that goes to the gym and it’s fun to see that.”
Since becoming an Internet celebrity, Webb has become a hero to the other senior citizens in her community. She told reporters, “I’ve seen such a remarkable difference in myself. 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 proves that with persistence and motivation, you can do anything even if you are a senior citizen. She told ESPN that she doesn’t intend on stopping now. She goes to the gym to work out, and she leaves feeling better than when she went it.