Image Credit: Linacre Ladies That Lift/Linacre College
71-year old Oxford University professor and grandmother Dr Catherine Walter reached 1st place at the European weightlifting competition, Masters 7.
Dr. Walter, who lectures in Linguistics at Linacre College, won 1st place across three lifts – squats, deadlift and bench press- at the championship competitions in Dublin this weekend. She is also captain of the Linacre College women’s powerlifting club, Linacre Ladies That Lift.
She first entered the ‘testoster-zone’ of weight-lifting at the age of 65 and in just 5 years has progressed to become European champion in the under 58.5kg category.
Motivated initially by the challenges of ageing, Dr Walter was convinced that the only way to remain fit and healthy was to take up resistance training. She points out “Running won’t help, swimming won’t help, the only thing that will keep your muscles consisting of muscle fibres instead of degenerating is resistance training.”
Talking about her passion for weight lifting Dr Walter commented: “when I’m lifting, I can’t be thinking of anything else – I have to be right there, in the moment, with the basic elements – the bar, the weights, and my body, in a kind of mindfulness.”
The focus on slow incremental increases in weight, breaking larger goals into a series of smaller more achievable goals also provided benefit to the 71-year old grandmother, who can now boasts a bench press of 43.24kg, a 105kg deadlift, and a squat of 100kg.
Coinciding with her upcoming 72nd birthday Dr Walter has set new ambitious weightlifting goals.
She says: “I figured it would be fun to do this in multiples of my own body weight
“I weigh 58.5kg, so I am going to lift 60kg in sets of five for 11 sets: 55 reps in all. That will make 3,300kg or 7,275 pounds. 60 kilos is about 60 per cent of my maximum deadlift, which should be comfortable, but it’s a lot of reps!”