Watch This 52-Year-Old Bodybuilder Bench 500 Pounds

Kevin Levrone is a 52-year-old IFBB Hall of Famer who has won twenty-three IFBB bodybuilding contests. For a time, that was the record, until Ronnie Coleman surpassed him in 2004.

What’s really interesting about Levrone is that he retired from competition in 2003 at age 39, and then un-retired thirteen years later in 2016 to compete in that year’s Mr. Olympia contest. (He didn’t place.)

But he’s still a seriously impressive athlete, and unlike the bodybuilding stereotype, he’s not all show and no go. He is go. Check out this clip of him benching a monster 500 pounds yesterday.

We’re unsure of his current weight, but he tended to compete at about 240 pounds, or 109 kilograms bodyweight.

Levrone wrote on his Instagram post that he’s “got that old school powerlifting work ethic approach.”

That’s the foundation I built my bodybuilding career on. Go head on balls to the wall training. Chalk the bar crank up that hardcore rock n roll and dig down deep baby (…) 500lbs Smashed. Father Time That My Friend. Not bad for a 50 + year old who took off for 15 years. Where the mind goes the body will follow….

And he has been building his bench pretty seriously lately, pulling off 4 sets of 4 reps at 405 pounds (183.7kg) about a month ago.

There are a lot of reasons you don’t see many bodybuilders pulling off gigantic one-rep max powerlifting exercises, the most obvious being that they don’t have to. Hypertrophy (muscle growth) tends to happen in higher rep ranges, and putting 100 percent of your effort into one rep increases the risk of injury without a significant benefit to their sport.

Of course, there are exceptions, to this rule. Here’s Ronnie Coleman doing a pretty incredible 12-rep set of 400-pound (181-kg) dumbbell bench presses. (That’s 200 per hand.) Wait for the trademark “light weight!”

And then there’s Kai Greene managing three reps of 495 pounds (224.5kg) on the incline bench.

Sure, he was getting a little help from his lifting partner, but note that this workout took place eight days out from the 2011 Mr. Olympia, so Greene would have been far from his strongest.

We’re unsure as to whether Kevin Levrone is heading back to Mr. Olympia any time soon, but our main takeaway is the quote he put on his Facebook after finishing a four-rep set of 455-pounds on the bench.

“If I can smash this weight 455lbs at my age, who cares about Father Time?”

Featured image via @kevinlevrone on Instagram.

Nick English

Nick English

Nick is a content producer and journalist with over seven years’ experience reporting on four continents. His first articles about health were on a cholera outbreak in rural Kenya while he was reporting for a French humanitarian organization. His next writing job was covering the nightlife scene in Shanghai. He’s written on a lot of things.

After Shanghai, he went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before finishing his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and heading to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like BarBend, Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.

No fan of writing in the third person, Nick’s passion for health stems from an interest in self improvement: How do we reach our potential?

Questions like these took him through a lot of different areas of health and fitness like gymnastics, vegetarianism, kettlebell training, fasting, CrossFit, Paleo, and so on, until he realized (or decided) that strength training fit best with the ideas of continuous, measurable self improvement.

At BarBend his writing focuses a little more on nutrition and long-form content with a heaping dose of strength training. His underlying belief is in the middle path: you don’t have to count every calorie and complete every workout in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and a stronger body. Plus, big traps are cool.

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