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Oldest powerlifter at event breaks provincial records

At 59, Paul Hoffman of Yorkton is still competitive against younger lifters.
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Paul Hoffman, pictured here with Owner of Foundation Fitness Jaime Otitoju, competed at the 2024 Foundation Open Powerlifting Meet sanctioned by the Saskatchewan Powerlifting Association in Regina May 18 breaking records in the squat, bench and deadlift categories.

YORKTON – A Yorkton power lifter has broken three provincial records in the Master 3 (60-69 years) – 120kg Division for squat, bench and deadlift.

Paul Hoffman competed at the 2024 Foundation Open Powerlifting Meet sanctioned by the Saskatchewan Powerlifting Association in Regina May 18 where he broke provincial records in squat, bench and deadlift with weights of 165kg, 165kg and 220kg, respectively, for a total of 550kg.

"I'm two pounds over what my category should be — I should be in the 105 kilo," said Hoffman in an interview with SaskToday.ca, adding, "I compete in the 120 ... in terms of the record — if I'm in my 105 category — the 165kg bench tied the national record."

And Hoffman said he intends to try again at his correct weight at the provincial competition slated for November in Saskatoon.

"I have more in the tank so I'm going to get it down the road here," said Hoffman, noting it was his first competition in 20 years.

At 59 years old, Hoffman was the oldest competitor at the event, but said he's spent time in the gym for the better part of his life and noted the differences between now and when he was younger.

"Throughout my 20s and 30s I'd only work out in the winter because I was busy in the summer," said Hoffman.

Now, being older, Hoffman said if you take time off it takes longer to get back into.

"As you get older it changes — you can't take the volume — volume is your enemy. The soreness — you can't recover — so you have to train differently than you do when you're younger. It's all about exposing the muscle to damage and then rebuilding it through rest and feeding and then stimulating it again," said Hoffman.

"When you're young that period is very short — you can damage it and recover. If I do a heavy workout it takes a week [to recover]," said Hoffman, noting, "I try to keep my intensity up but I've been dropping volume as I got older."

"I'm not as strong as I was back in the day but I've held on to quite a bit," said Hoffman, who said in his prime he was bench-pressing in the low 400s (kg).

Hoffman said there is also a difference to how people lift in the gym versus how it's done in competition.

"When you do a competition bench press it has to be perfect. You can't move your head. You can't lift your hips," said Hoffman.

"My first bench press in the competition — they didn't give it to me because I lifted my head. It was just habit. It doesn't help you with the lift but you have to be perfectly still. Most people pop their hips they give a little bit of a leg drive in bench press and that's a red flag right away," said Hoffman.

"So what guys do in the gym — I call it a gym rep — you cannot do in competition," said Hoffman, adding, "the rules are the rules so there is consistency across meets."

Hoffman, who trains at the Pumphouse Athletic Club, encourages others to get active, no matter what their age.

"You start where you start. You don't go in there and start squatting 300 pounds. I think for older people muscle mass is a fairly critical thing to keep."

Hoffman said he is feeling good about provincials and noted that at 59 he's still competitive against younger lifters.

"I was the oldest competitor. The younger guys — the top guys — blew me out of the water in the squat and the deadlift but I had the biggest bench press."