HEAVY LIFT­ING: Elk­ton’s Litzen­berg hopes to set weightlift­ing record

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - jschatz@ce­cil­whig.com By JOR­DAN SCHATZ Fol­low Jor­dan Schatz on Twit­ter: @Jor­dan_Whig

FRED­ER­ICK — More than two decades af­ter he set two world bench press records, Elk­ton’s John Litzen­berg is once again set­ting his sights on a pair of pow­er­lift­ing crowns.

The 78-year-old Litzen­berg will at­tempt to set both a na­tional and a Mary­land state record for his age group and weight class when he com­petes in the 2016 USA Pow­er­lift­ing Mary­land State Cham­pi­onship at the YMCA Fred­er­ick Ware­house on Satur­day.

“I’m a good bit older but I’ve been train­ing for two-and-ahalf years,” Litzen­berg said. “I’m reg­is­tered and I’ll be there.”

The event will mark Litzen­berg’s first ma­jor com­pe­ti­tion since the mid-1990s when he found suc­cess lift­ing weights both na­tion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally.

Be­fore Litzen­berg won the World Cup Bench Press Cham­pi­onships held in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1995, he set an Amer­i­can Pow­er­lift­ing Fed­er­a­tion world record by bench press­ing 300 pounds at the Tem­ple Hills Power Open in Clin­ton in 1994 at the age of 56. That same year, he also com­peted as a mem­ber of the United States Pow­er­lift­ing team at the Good­will Games in St. Petersburg, Rus­sia, bring­ing home gold af­ter he won his weight class with a 270-pound bench press.

On Satur­day, he will be look­ing to set the Mary­land and Amer­i­can record for the 7579 age group and 183-pound weight class.

“The first one I did in Mary­land, when I was 52, I set a record then and it was 250 pounds,” Litzen­berg said. “If I can do 250 pounds [on Satur­day] then I’ll be happy be­cause there’s a lot of dif­fer­ence be­tween be­ing 52 years old and 78. That’s a 26-year dif­fer­ence. If I can ac­com­plish that I will be­lieve that I’m happy.”

Litzen­berg will have three at­tempts to set a new record. He wouldn’t re­veal at which weight he in­tends to open with, but hopes to “jack it up an­other 15 or 20 pounds” af­ter each try in pur­suit of his goal.

“It de­pends on how I feel,” he said.

His par­tic­i­pa­tion in Satur­day’s com­pe­ti­tion is the re­sult of nearly three years of ded­i­cated train­ing. He ad­mit­ted, how­ever, that his age has pre­vented him from hit­ting the weights ev­ery day.

“Part of my train­ing pro­gram is nutrition and work­ing out reg­u­larly, not miss­ing work­outs and work­ing out twice a week,” Litzen­berg said. “When I get [into the gym], I work out for two hours. Not just bench press, I do other ex­er­cises, but that’s the one I spe­cial­ize in.

“It’s strictly a chal­lenge and the chal­lenge is to be able to do what I’ve done pre­vi­ously.”

SPE­CIAL TO THE WHIG

Elk­ton’s John Litzen­berg, pic­tured here in 1994, will be at­tempt­ing to earn both a Mary­land and an Amer­i­can record when he com­petes at the 2016 USA Pow­er­lift­ing Mary­land State Cham­pi­onship at the YMCA Fred­er­ick Ware­house on Satur­day.

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