01.03.2024

90-year-old great-grandfather from California says he can lift up to 250lbs

The world’s oldest bodybuilder is a 90-year-old great-grandfather-of-nine who’s been working out for more than 70 years and can lift more than his bodyweight.

Jim Arrington, who turns 91 next month, was given the title at the age of 83 — and has kept it ever since.

The self-proclaimed ‘gym rat’, credited building muscle with keeping him in good health and allowing him to keep doing ‘everything an able-bodied person can’.

‘Oh, working out has absolutely helped me to live longer,’ he told DailyMail.com.

‘I’m just able to continue doing things that a person my age normally isn’t able to do. It’s just the ability to function more or less normally like I was 21 and on a bicycle that I am pretty happy with.

‘An older person walks with a walker or something like that, but I am able to take longer steps because the exercise just gets rid of the inflammation in your joints.’

Jim Arrington, who turns 91 next month, has been named the oldest bodybuilder in the world. He told DailyMail.com he can lift up to 250lbs with his legs — or 1.5 times his bodyweight

His love affair with bodybuilding began when he was 15 years old and was looking for a way to rid himself of asthma. He is pictured above this year on a beach in Los Angeles, California, near where he lives

His love affair with bodybuilding began when he was 15 years old and was looking for a way to rid himself of asthma. He is pictured above this year on a beach in Los Angeles, California, near where he lives

Jim Arrington, who turns 91 next month, has been named the oldest bodybuilder in the world. He told DailyMail.com he can lift up to 250lbs with his legs ¿ or 1.5 times his bodyweight

Mr Arrington visits the gym three times a week — on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays — for about two hours each day. He reserves weekends for recovery time, to help his muscles repair themselves.

Revealing what he lifts at his gym in Los Angeles, the 145 to 150lb phenomenon told DailyMail.com his maximum for leg exercises was 250lbs — or 1.5 times his bodyweight.

For his arms, the former salesman said he can bicep curl up to 100lbs — while during chest and back exercises he can lift as much as 140lbs.

And he’s still adding to his impressive fitness routine.

Within five months, he was able to improve his ability on a stationary bike from just five minutes at level five to a ten minute cycle on level 11.

Setting out his training schedule, he said Mondays were dedicated to his back and chest, while Wednesdays were focused on his legs and Fridays were for his shoulders and arms.

He does his exercises on machines, saying as he has aged his joints have become weaker — making it more risky for him to lift free weights.

‘I don’t want to do anymore than what my body and my joints will handle — because it doesn’t make sense to wear your joints,’ he said.

‘I lift as much as I possibly can for the condition of my skeletal structure.’

For his exercises, he said he normally begins with a warm-up of lifting 40lbs for 20 repetitions, or lifting it 20 times, and then adds another 40lbs before gradually raising the weight to his maximum.

‘When it is at a weight where I can barely get reps out, I would wrap my knees in stretchy leg wrap and I would do the reps and not stop. I’d hold it at the top and take a couple of breaths, then do a couple more, until I get to 20 reps.

‘I am pretty out of breath and can barely walk after that.’

He lifts up to 250lbs on a machine similar to a leg press where the user lies on their back instead of being in the standard hunched over position.

Mr Arrington has been following his workout routine for more than 70 years.

He is pictured above working out at his gym in Los Angeles, California. He is competing next month in an over-90s category for bodybuilders

He is pictured above working out at his gym in Los Angeles, California. He is competing next month in an over-90s category for bodybuilders

He is shown above working on his abdominals at his gym. He said the maximum he could lift with his legs was about 250lbs

His love of bodybuilding began when he was just 15 years old and saw it as a way to battle his crippling asthma.

‘I was very sickly and asthmatic [at the time] and I couldn’t run more than 50 yards without starting to wheeze,’ he told DailyMail.com.

‘So, I saw these ads in a magazine about working out and getting powerful and strong and that was a good thing for me. I decided to send away for these little books and try the exercises.’

He started exercising with 3lb balls in 1947 and quickly found his asthma disappeared while he gained more than 10lbs of muscle.

He then began to work out with his Scouts group leader before heading to college and setting foot in a gym for the first time.

Now, decades later, he maintains a regular workout regimen and still competes in — and wins — bodybuilding competitions, with his latest victory in the over-80s category at the IFBB Professional League championships held in Reno, Nevada last month. He came third among the over-70s.

He is pictured above lifting weights on a beach in Los Angeles, California

He is pictured above lifting weights on a beach in Los Angeles, California

Mr Arrington is pictured above at one of his first bodybuilding competitions

Mr Arrington is pictured above at one of his first bodybuilding competitions

Mr Arrington is preparing to compete in another competition in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, early next month. Pictured above showing his muscles

Mr Arrington is preparing to compete in another competition in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, early next month. Pictured above showing his muscles

He first began to compete in the 1950s, initially for the title of Mr America, but quickly decided he had ‘no chance’ because he ‘didn’t have the genetics’.

‘I figured that my best chance of becoming anybody in this field was to wait until everybody else either grew up and did something else or passed away,’ he said.

He has been in more than 70 competitions, winning many accolades and is now starting to win more often in older categories.

He is currently training for the Pro Masters World Championships held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, next month where he’s persuaded organizers to add an over-90s category.

But one of the accolades he is most proud of is being the World’s Oldest Bodybuilder, a title he received from the Guinness World Records.

To fuel his rigorous exercise routine, Mr Arrington initially focused on drinking plenty of milk and eating beef to help him gain muscle mass.

However, in later years this has caused inflammation, he said, prompting him to switch to a diet that includes more greens and whole foods.

Mr Arrington said working out has kept him young and healthy, allowing him to care for 84-year-old wife, May, who has dementia.

The couple has been married for more than 40 years and he credits his fitness with being able to do more to help her around the house — and drive her to appointments.

The pair share four children and nine great-grandchildren.

Mr. Arrington says he is revealing his story to encourage others, particularly older adults, to start weight lifting again.

He said: ‘My purpose and my goal is to encourage others to do weight lifting.’

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