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