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Elmore, 55, sets another state record in dead lift

Jim Elmore displays the plaque illuminating his Tennessee state record of 424 pounds in the dead lift for 50 to 59 year-olds in the 187 pound weight class. He set the mark Sept. 13.- Photo Submitted
Jim Elmore credits a change in lifting style for helping him set a state record for middle-aged weightlifters during a regional meet in Nashville last month.

“There’s two different styles of dead lift, there’s a conventional, where you’ve got your arms outside your legs when you go down, and then there’s the sumo, where you get a wider stance and you put your arms inside your legs to grip the bar,” said Elmore, 55, a Farragut resident who set a Tennessee State record in the 50 to 59 age/187 pound class. His record 424 pound dead lift came during Tennessee Regional Powerlifting meet Sept. 13.

Switching to “a modified sumo” style paid off.

“I decided not to get a real wide stance, but wider than I had and grip it on the inside,” Elmore said. “And I decided after doing some more reading ... they say not to bend over and get the weight, but to squat down and get it and just come up with it. So I tried it.

“It’s amazing how the weight just flies off the floor,” Elmore added. “That’s helped me a lot.”

As a competitor in the Natural Athlete Strength Association, Elmore broke his own state record, set last fall, of 419 pounds. “I’m pleased with that,” he said. “My dead lift is a lot better than my bench press and my squat. But they’re coming up.”

Elmore and his oldest son, Joe, 20, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering at UT, are currently training for their fourth and final competition of the 2003 season: Nov. 1 at the North Carolina Regional Powerlifting Meet in Hickory.

“He works out a lot at UT because he lives down there,” Jim Elmore said about Joe. “But he comes home and works out with me frequently.” With a personal best squat of 430, Joe finished first in Nashville.


As for inspiration, “other older lifters have inspired me,” Elmore said. “There was a guy at this (Nashville) meet, and he was 70 years old and he bench-pressed like 320 pounds. Seventy years old–that’s a lot more than I can even do, and a lot more than most people can do.

“Most people aren’t out to set records, but I firmly believe that everyone ought to do some resistance training,” Elmore added. “It’s what keeps your muscles from going downhill. It’s also good for your heart.”

Ironically, flowers are conflicting with Jim’s springtime workout schedule.

“We grow orchids, and I do a lot of orchid shows in the spring and it really cuts into my training,” Elmore said. “And I have to try to recover, it knocks me back every year.”

Jim Elmore’s goals are set.

“I’m looking for a 405 squat, and if I can get over a 225 in the bench press I can break the state record,” he said. “I’ve actually done 210 in training, so I’m within striking distance of that. And I want to push my dead lift up.

I actually had hoped to get 475 this year, but I’m not sure that’s totally reasonable,” the senior Elmore added.

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