91-year-old US man sets weightlifting record by benching 85kg

PHOENIX (AP) - A 91-year-old United States weightlifter did not just break a world record for the bench press, he powered through it by 23.5kg.

Mr Sy Perlis set the record by benching 85kg at the National Bench Push-Pull Press and Dead Lift Championships on Saturday.

The Arizona Republic reports that the World Association of Benchers and Deadlifters previous record in the 90-and-over age division was 61kg and had stood since 2005.

Mr Perlis took up weightlifting when he was 60 but did not enter his first championship competition until five years ago.

"I got a lot of satisfaction out of it, and it made me feel good, and it was good for me," he said.

Association President Gus Rethwisch said Mr Perlis is an inspiration.

"We've had a lot of lifters in their middle 80s, late 80s and occasionally we get one 90 and over, but they've never inspired people (like Perlis has)," Mr Rethwisch said.

Dr Chhanda Dutta, chief of the Clinical Gerontology Branch of the National Institute on Aging, said it is a common misconception that exercise is unsafe for older people.

"The risk of leading a sedentary lifestyle is much greater than anything related to exercise," Dr Dutta said. "I think it's important for people to realise that age alone doesn't determine the intensity of your workout."

Mr Perlis said his doctor knows he participates in the sport and has told him, "If you can do it, do it." His five-day-a-week training routine includes cardiovascular exercise and weightlifting.