Magic milestone works out well for muscle man

Bruce Bender of Grafton still lifting weights on his 75th birthday.
Bruce Bender of Grafton still lifting weights on his 75th birthday. Adam Hourigan

PUMPING heavyweight iron to celebrate his 75th birthday yesterday, Grafton's Bruce Bender isn't a typical retiree.

Still working out twice a day, six days a week in his home gym, Mr Bender says he feels pretty good.

To mark his special milestone, Mr Bender was keen to meet his self-imposed birthday challenge to bench-press two 34kg dumbbells, 10 times each.

"I did 10 reps at 75 (pounds) when I was 70 so I thought I'd try and do it again this year," he said.

And even though Mr Bender didn't make his goal of 10 reps yesterday, he did raise the bar for many half his age by lifting the equivalent weight of an average-sized 10-year-old child in each hand.

The former firefighter and later owner of Grafton's Jacaranda Physical Services Gym started lifting weights at age 14.

Sixty-one years later he still maintained a healthy lifestyle, walking every day and training alongside his wife Robin.

"My usual workout for the past 10 years has been fairly high reps with much lighter weights and for the last few years I've been doing 50 reps a set, but from today I'll drop to 30," he said.

"And if I'm still doing it at 80 I will drop to 20 reps."

As for going on holiday, Mr Bender said he hated messing with his routine.

"I don't like getting out of my eating or exercise habits... and although I always take the dumbbells with me it's not the same," he said.

However he did take a break to enjoy a special birthday breakfast of eggs benedict with Robin at his favourite cafe.

"I don't have that every day," he said.

Daughter Karla Schulz said she was proud of her dad and recalled spending lots of time at the gym training with everyone in the family.

"Going to the gym together was an important part of growing up," she said.

"The family that trains together stays together."

Topics:  weightlifting

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