Powerlifting Legend Rudy Kadlub Shared How He Set 4 World Records at 71

For Rudy Kadlub, 71, “I’m too old” is one of those “defeatist internal dialogues,” he says. The trouble is that it doesn’t allow room for “one of mankind’s most incredible features—the capacity for growth and self-realization.”

Kadlub started lifting when a ski injury landed him in physical therapy in his mid-50s. Since then, he’s set more than 60 national and world records for his age and weight. He’s currently the defending International Powerlifting League world champion, 70-74 age group. And in November 2020, he squatted 430 pounds, bench pressed 303 pounds, and deadlifted 518 pounds at the United States Powerlifting Association’s North American Championships.

“The PT was at a gym where I would lift weights after my sessions, and I was able to bench-press increasingly more weight. I was inching closer to the state bench-press record. Being a goal-oriented person, I signed up for a powerlifting meet one year later and set all four state records for the squat, bench press, deadlift, and total weight lifted,” he says. If you don’t work it, muscle mass starts declining in your 30s. But men like Kadlub prove that you can still build it at any age. His strategy:

Break training into blocks

Rather than repeating the same training routine from week to week, my coach and I use training blocks designed separately for hypertrophy, strength, and power. Sets and reps vary accordingly, from higher reps—six to ten—for hypertrophy, four to six for strength, and one to three for power.”

Train smart

“I train smart, five days a week, for about six to eight hours a week total. I focus one day each on the big three—squat, bench press, and deadlift—and do two days of light supplemental work. Smart training is listening to my body. I cut back or skip training if I’m feeling like I need a longer recovery from the previous session(s).”

Spend time on technique

“I have increased the amount of weight I can move over the years, which I attribute to constant improvement in technique. Maybe I’m not stronger than I was at 65, but I’m better at technique. I’ve had great coaches and training partners over the years who have helped me with technique and encouragement—two keys to improvement and longevity in any sport.”

This article originally appeared in the April 2021 issue of Men’s Health.

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