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At 60-years-old, most people are thinking about retirement and kicking their feet up to relax. However, Monte Lofing is not like most 60-year-olds. Lofing is out doing what most teenagers and adults cannot do, lifting heavy weight.
The Beatrice native recently competed at the Orchard AAU Powerlifting meet this past weekend. Lofing was the top lifter in the Masters Division, accumulating 1,058 pounds between deadlift (418.75), bench press (220.25) and squat (418.75).
“I met Monte back in 2004 at the first-ever meet we went to in Lynch,” stated Clearwater/Orchard powerlifting coach Jeff Shabram. “His size is just right at five foot nothing with short legs. He’s quite the lifter, it’s fun watching him and the kids get a kick out of him.”
Lofing has attended the Orchard meet every year since it started 12 years ago.
“This is one of the most fun meets we have,” Lofing remarked. “Jeff (Shabram) puts on this meet and it’s one of the cheapest meets.”
Lofing has been a staple of Nebraska powerlifting throughout his career.
“He’s a fixture here and he comes to every meet, everywhere,” Shabram commented. “He’s kind of the face of Nebraska powerlifting. Whether it’s sanctioned powerlifting or non-sanctioned powerlifting, everyone knows Monte Lofing.”
Last summer, the longtime powerlifter went from a successful competitor in the Cornhusker state to one of the best in the world. Lofing earned a spot on the US national team for the Masters 3 division.
“Being on the US team is a rush,” Lofing noted. “It’s an elite group and only 105 of us make the cut. You have to win nationals and you’re automatically picked or if you’re runner-up, you get put into a pool of alternates and you might go. I’m proud to be on the Masters 3 team.”
At the International Powerlifting Competition in Calgary, Alberta last June, Lofing captured the gold medal in the 60-69 age group. Lofing also set the world record for squat at 409 pounds at the event.
“This past year has been a rush,” Lofing recalled. “I’m traveling to Helsinborg, Sweden this year to defend my title and squat record.”
A large part of Lofing’s continued success is his short stature. At 5-1, Lofing utilizes his lack of height and size to his advantage.
“It’s always been an advantage being short,” Lofing continued. “It’s a huge advantage, except if you have really short arms; then deadlift is somewhat of a disability. Short stature and short legs really help with squat and bench.”
Despite being one of the smallest powerlifters in the gym, Lofing’s big personality makes up for his small stature. Everyone knows when 60-year-old is up to lift after hearing the echos of Lofing motivating himself and his constant pacing.
“I’ve trained for years on a sugar rush and I don’t know any other way to train,” Lofing admitted. “I have to have adrenaline. The louder the crowd is, the louder I get and I lift better. Silence is my death sentence. I’m shocked when someone can lift without emotion. This is a sport that you put yourself on display. It’s like drama or speech, you’re out on the stage, by yourself and this is tough.”
Lofing has been powerlifting for 42 years and was a member of the University of Nebraska’s powerlifting team in 1977.
The sport has stayed relatively the same in Lofing’s 40-plus year career, but the rules and judging have seen a drastic change.
“I’ve watched powerlifting evolve a little bit, but actually the refereeing has gone back to being stricter ,” Lofing spoke. “Below parallel depth (in squat), can’t move the feet and controlled calls in bench and deadlift has pretty much been the same. Other than that, they really control the lifts and I think it helped a lot as far as the technique is concerned.”
Doing 40-plus years of physical labor usually takes a toll on a person’s body, but Lofing has managed to stay healthy throughout his career.
“I really had a good upbringing as far as technique and had a good coaching platform,” Lofing said. “The technique was really strict. I lift only three times a week. I squat once a week, bench once a week and deadlift once week. I spread them out and don’t overtrain. I see a lot of kids that lift six days a week. You’re just asking for injury and you need to give your body time to rest.”
Lofing believes powerlifting is a great sport to be a part of and wishes more schools and programs would encourage powerlifting.
“We’ve always had a niche for kids that aren’t good at anything else, but can do powerlifting,” Lofing added. “The self-esteem taught by this sport can’t be matched and that’s another thing coaches are missing out on. Where else can you find a sport where you can say as freshman ‘I want to lift this, this and this; and as a sophomore you want to lift this, this and this?’ You see this progressive chart for four years and these kids start to grow and explode and it’s huge. What other sport does that? Not only do we help that, but it’s proven that more self-esteem in the weight room excels in the classroom. It’s also proven the stronger a lifter gets, the better they are in other sports. Powerlifting has a huge niche and I wish we could get NSAA or somebody in Nebraska to give us a boost. I’m grateful for coaches like Jeff (Shabram) who do push it.”
Although most people plan on retiring at the age of 60, Lofing has no plans of slowing down in the next 13 years.
“My goal is to do another 13 (years) and make 55 (years powerlifting),” Lofing concluded. “I want to make Masters 4, which is 70 and over. I want to make the US team at 70 because there are some records I want to go after there. That’s my goal, I want to lift as long as I can. Doctors say this is good for you. It keeps your muscles in tone, your muscles don’t deteriorate and it leads to a longer life span. My chiropractor says keep lifting till it feels like you can’t. I’m prepared for my totals to go down and to start slipping. It’s OK because it happens to everyone, but there is always new goals and inspirations moving forward.”