Meet The 78-Year-Old Woman Still Crushing A 124kg Deadlift - Women's Health

Meet The 78-Year-Old Woman Still Crushing A 124kg Deadlift

If you’re looking for some workout motivation, look no further: Nora Langdon might be a retired grandma, but she’s still got it when it comes to heavy lifting.

We’ve somehow been told the myth that ageing renders us immobile, that to age is to wave goodbye to those activities we once had a passion for in our youth as we instead trade the sneakers for a pair of moccasin slippers. Allow us then, to introduce you to Nora Langdon, who at 78-years-old is in the best shape of her life. Nora is proof that age is just a number, having first started working out at the age of 65 following some weight gain. Since then, she’s gone on to become a record-breaking powerlifter known for regularly squatting more than 400 pounds (approx. 181.4kgs). 

Just recently, Nora was featured on Steve Harvey’s Facebook Watch show, where she shared her passion for fitness and powerlifting. As Nora explained, it was her friend’s husband who got her onto powerlifting. “He started me out on a broomstick,” she said. “And so I did that, and some other weights. The next morning, I got up and I said, uh-uh, I’m not going back. I was aching all over.” Nora did go back to the gym though, and soon progressed onto a bar before progressively adding weights. 

“I went back, and I started doing the powerlifting. And after I got a little stronger, he asked me did I want to go to a meet,” said Nora. “So I decided to go with him, and when I saw all these young women and men who were powerlifting, I said wow, you think I can do that? He said ‘yes’. So I went and did my first meet, and I won a prize. And I said oh, I love this.”

Since then, Nora has progressed from state-level meets to national and even world competitions, consistently taking home medals in her age group. “I got about 19 world records altogether,” she told Harvey, before demonstrating her powerlifting prowess on the show with a deadlift of 124kg. 

Not only is it refreshing to see Nora crushing goals, but it also speaks volumes about the importance of strength training for healthy ageing, particularly for women. Despite having been inculcated with messages from the media promoting “thinness”, in recent years there’s been a significant shift away from such unrealistic expectations to one that understands the importance of health and wellness. The ideal is no longer one body size or shape, but the ability to move freely in our bodies, to respect and fuel them. 

For those who perhaps still fear the weights room – be it because of the annoyingly loud grunts coming from the guys who tend to hijack such spaces, or the misconception that lifting weights will see you develop the kind of bulging biceps you aren’t interested in – resistant exercises and strength training are actually incredibly important for our health, and more women need to know this. As well as improved strength and lowered risk of injury, weight training can also increase spinal bone mineral density and enhance bone modelling. If coupled with an adequate amount of dietary calcium, it can be the best defence against osteoporosis. 

Take it from Nora: it’s never too late to start. Her advice to anyone who is older and wanting to become more active in their day-to-day life? “Get up, start walking, don’t just sit,” she said. “You’ve got to move the body…We were born to move.”

By Jessica Campbell

Jess is a storyteller committed to sharing the human stories that lie at the heart of sport.

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