Beauty, Fitness & Nutrition

Powerlifting Senior Sets World Records

Becoming a septuagenarian senior citizen doesn’t mean that the beginning of a slow slide into decreased physical activity and fitness levels.

powerlifting, weights, weightlifting, weight lifter, bar bells, dumb bells, strength training(Weightlifting Photo: Victor Freitas via Unsplash)

For Oneida Indian Nation native (Wolf Clan) and grandfather Ray Fougnier, turning 70 was the beginning of his interest in weightlifting. He told Indian Country ( that he got into powerlifting as a senior in order to stay physically fit and prevent diabetes, saying

Weightlifting really helps to control sugar in the blood.”

Fougnier believes that Native Americans need to be wary of a sedentary lifestyle “especially if we’re predisposed to diabetes, blood pressure, cancer, heart disease“, and to be aware of their diet and exercise levels.

Ray Fougnier had been a science teacher and head of the American Indian Program at Cornell University, enjoying retirement for 8 years before he began powerlifting at age 70 in January 2013. The first year he competed, he set raw powerlifting records in his age division (70-74) in the Raw Nationals Championship (raw powerlifting requires athletes to have no assistance or support from equipment while lifting). In his second year of competition, Fougnier received 5 medals and finished 2nd overall in the world championships.

This past April 2016 Ray Fougnier set 4 world records (deadlift, squat, bench press, and overall score) for his age division at the North American Championships of the Amateur Athletic Union in Laughlin, Nevada and has qualified to compete again in the AAU World Powerlifting Championships in Las Vegas (September 2016). He is sponsored by the Oneida Indian Nation.

He said after his most recent win that

Health and fitness have always been a priority for me, but it is my hope that with this new national and international platform, I can serve as a positive role model who helps inspire Native peoples and children to embrace an active lifestyle.”

Fougnier works out 3 days a week for 2 hours daily and follows a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and protein. His tip for for seniors and older adult men who are interested in increasing their activity levels and fitness regimen:

At my age I need to have more recovery time. I can’t lift like younger lifters lift. You need to be a little more restrained in the type of abuse you put your body through. That’s why I only work only three days a week.

Fougnier was still going strong in 2019, setting 10 new weightlifting world records at the AAU Powerlifting World Championships, saying

I feel really good about where I’m at and hope my abilities serve as a testament to the fact that it’s never too late to take on a healthy lifestyle.”

In his late 70s, Ray Fougner is an inspiration for older adults and senior citizens (male and female) to embrace a healthy lifestyle and begin on the path to physical fitness.

Interested in sports and fitness? You may also like these articles:

Best Age-Friendly Sports for Older Adults

Golfing Benefits & Tips for Older Adults

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*This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical or mental health advice, nor is it a substitute for professional medical or mental health advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician or mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical or mental health condition. In the event of a medical emergency, call a doctor or 911 immediately. This website does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the Site or on other websites it links to. Reliance on any information provided by this website or other websites it links to, is solely at your own risk.*

Anita Hamilton

50+ World editor & writer Anita Hamilton's articles are inspired by real historical events, places, and people. Her travel experiences, a lifelong keen interest in history, art, vintage music, books, silent films, classic movies, "golden age" television shows, fashion, & entertainment in general - combined with years of research - make her a subject matter expert with acquired knowledge & expertise on these topics. This, and a loving and supportive family complete with 3 mini-dachshund minions, keeps her busy.


Larry Bizzell March 16th, 2024 at 4:04pm

I Larry Bizzell I won many state power lifting championship and world for the wnpf I was the man look me up.

Jeff Graham November 23rd, 2023 at 1:28am

Love to hear about the lifters that are a lot older than me but are still strong like I plan on being. However I just did a raw untested 452 in the IPL Worlds in Eugene Oregon weighing 212 at 62 years old. Also did 446 last year at 198lbs at the same meet in Alabama. I am thinking i have to be strongest senior bencher in the World, no? 242 and 275 records are lower than my 198lb

Karen May 17th, 2021 at 4:59pm

Just started to power lift at 60 years old. My goal to to be a senior champ in power lifting . It makes me feel awesome. I will gradually increase the weights at a slow stead pace. It’s a challenge I want to accomplish. Wow these seniors have given me motivation.

Anthony Franco April 14th, 2021 at 6:39am

This is Anthony Franco. March 27th at the Fitnessmill in New Hartford I broke another world record for 80 year old seniors at 179lbs I benched 315lbs, 35 pounds over the previous record of 280.

dwayne richardson January 8th, 2021 at 1:40pm

I would love to know where these competitions are being held.

Anita Hamilton August 26th, 2020 at 6:56pm

Congrats, Anthony. That's fantastic.

Anthony Franco August 26th, 2020 at 6:28pm

Hi my name is Anthony Franco. I am seventy nine. 79. Last December 7 I entered my first weight lifting competition. The Tom Brown Big Guns powerlifting competition in New Hartfort, NY I set a world record bench press in the masters 199 lb class. 330 benching am working out at home during the COVID-19 pandemic and I am on track to break that record.
Anthony j Franco

Anita Hamilton August 26th, 2020 at 6:56pm

Congrats, Anthony. That's fantastic.

Billy Brown September 2nd, 2019 at 1:14pm

My name is Billy Brown living in Greece, I started lifting January 2019 and this is now September 2019, I will be 70 years old in December this year, my progress in the local gym has impressed all the lifters, my body weight is 85 kg, my bench press id 215 lb squat 265 lb and just started dead lifting 2 weeks passed that is also 265 lb, Ray Fougnier gives me great encouragement to carry on, what I would like to know is , what is Rays Body weight
PS keep up the great work Ray

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