Fifty three-year-old amateur competitive powerlifter Walter Urban has set a new Guinness world record for the most amount of weight squat-lifted in one hour.
Urban’s goal was to lift 126,000 lbs, to be accomplished by completing 700 to 1,000 squats in an hour or 11 to 17 squats per minute for 60 minutes. He not only met his goal but surpassed it by lifting 127,245 lbs.
The former record was 125,065 lbs, set in 2009 by a 32-year-old man.
Urban, a U.S. citizen living and working in Canada, achieved the feat Sept. 15 on the TV morning show “Live with Regis and Kelly.” The Guinness World Records representative said the weight he lifted was “equivalent to approximately 20 African elephants.”
The week before the event, Urban was independently tested for performance-enhancing drugs and tested negative. In a Youtube interview, he said he has been a drug-free powerlifter for the past 18 years and one of his motivations to try for the world record was to do it without the aid of performance-enhancing drugs.
“[I] actually only agreed to try to break the world record attempt if I could be drug tested,” he explained. “I just wanted to prove that anyone can go out there and if they have a goal and really work hard, they can reach it. You can do it naturally. You can do it at 40 years old, you can do it at 50, 60, 70, or 80, depending on what your goal is.”
Urban’s trainer Mark Giffin, a fitness manager at GoodLife Fitness in Guelph, Ontario, said training for the Guinness world record was “a little outside the norm for a weightlifter.”
“Usually we’re focused on speed; Walter’s doing something that requires a lot of endurance, so it’s slightly different kind of training.”
The father of three girls aged 12, 9, and 5, Urban was a member of the Canadian Masters Powerlifting Team in 2005, 2006, 2009, and 2010, competing in World Championships in South Africa, Ostrava, Czech Republic, and Plzen, Czech Republic in the 75 kg 165 lbs. weight class.His best finish was sixth place at the 2010 world championships in Plzen.
Being someone who thrives on challenge, Urban has also competed in parachuting—a sport very different to weightlifting. In 1982, he was a member of the United States Parachute Association’s U.S. Para-Ski Team, which ranked fourth in the U.S. and represented America at the World Championships.
Urban is a long-time member of and trains at GoodLife Fitness, the largest fitness club chain in Canada and the fifth largest in the world.