Mary Duffy continuously proves that age is but a number. The 73-year-old constantly increases her strength in the gym and competes as a Masters powerlifter in the 56-kilogram weight class. And she continues to push herself in training to perform better in sanctioned meets.
On May 20, 2023, Duffy shared a video on her Instagram page, wherein she attempted to deadlift 83.9 kilograms (185 pounds) on the barbell with an additional 58.9 kilograms (130 pounds) of chains, totaling 142.9 kilograms (315 pounds) at lockout. Check it out below:
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[Related: Powerlifter Jamal Browner Demonstrates How to Perform a Proper Conventional Deadlift]
Duffy made the above attempt with a mixed grip while wearing a lifting belt. She maneuvered the barbell past her knees but couldn’t quite get her hips through to lock out at the top. She returned the barbell to the floor, but the attempt remains impressive.
FAILURE is as important as the SUCCESSES!!!
Duffy works with coach Bobby Calabrese, and their training program includes a strong commitment to chains. In July 2022, Duffy trap bar deadlifted 113.3 kilograms (250 pounds) with 50 pounds of chains.
Training with Chains
Attaching chains to the barbell when deadlifting is useful in training as the resistance increases throughout the concentric portion of the rep. In other words, the weight is lighter at the initial pull and heavier at the lockout as the chains rise from the floor.
The weight Duffy started with is lighter than 315 on the floor. However, as the bar rises, more chain links leave the floor, adding load to the attempt. By the time Duffy would’ve locked out at the top of the rep, she is supporting nearly the entire 315 pounds in her hands.
Resistance Bands Instead
Resistance bands connected to the barbell could be used instead of chains for a similar variation of training. The intent is to increase the load throughout the range of motion. Both chains and bands can accomplish that.
Watch Duffy utilize bands while training her back squat in the video below:
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[Related: Powerlifter John Haack Deadlifts 385 Kilograms (848 Pounds) for a Double in Training]
Mary Duffy in Competition
Duffy’s best deadlift in competition is 118 kilograms (260 pounds), which she pulled at the 2019 IPA Connecticut Ironman Push/Pull Showdown. She was 69 years old when she made that attempt. Her best pull since turning 70 was 113.3 kilograms (250 pounds) at the 2019 IPA Connecticut State Championships.
As of the time of this article’s publication, there is no word on when Duffy will compete in a sanctioned powerlifting meet next, but her training suggests she could eclipse her current best lifts when she does.
Featured image: @mduff2404 on Instagram