Powerlifter Ernie Frantz Dies At Age 86

The "Godfather of Powerlifting" leaves behind an immortal legacy in the sport.

On Jan. 14, 2021, American powerlifter Ernie Frantz died at the age of 86. Known as the “Godfather of Powerlifting” in some circles, Frantz was a champion powerlifter well into his 70s, a published author, a co-founder of the American Powerlifting Federation (APF) in 1982 with Larry Pacifico, and a military veteran having served in the Korean War.

Check out this photo below of Frantz and six-time International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) World Champion Ed Coan double deadlifting courtesy of Coan’s Instagram page:

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Ed Coan Powerlifter (@eddycoan)

[Related: The Fascinating Untold History Of Powerlifting]

By far, one of the very best people in powerlifting history.

Competitive Career

According to Open Powerlifting, Frantz competed in 50 sanctioned single-ply and multi-ply meets in the 82.5-kilogram, 90-kilogram, and 100-kilogram weight classes since 1974 at the age of 40. He has notable results competing in the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU),  the United States Powerlifting Federation (USPF), the American Powerlifting Federation (APF), and the World Powerlifting Congress (WPC), among others. 

Most Notable Finishes

Note: Results from Open division unless otherwise stated.

  • 1974 IPF Men’s World Powerlifting Championships — First Place
  • 1980 USPF World Series of Powerlifting — Third Place
  • 1980 USPF Senior Nationals — Third Place
  • 1981 USPF Senior Nationals — Second Place
  • 1981 USPF World & National Masters Championships — First Place, Masters 45-49 Division
  • 1982 USPF National Cup — Second Place
  • 1982 USPF World & National Masters Championships — First Place, Masters 45-49 Division
  • 1982 USPF American Cup PL Championships — First Place
  • 1983 USPF Senior National Championships — Second Place
  • 1984 USPF Senior National Championships — Fourth Place
  • 1987 APF Masters Nationals — First Place, Masters 50-54 Division
  • 1987 WPC World Masters — First Place, Masters 50-54 Division
  • 1987 APF Senior Nationals — Fourth Place
  • 1987 APF World Championships — Fourth Place
  • 1991 WPC Worlds — First Place, Masters 4
  • 1991 APF Masters National Championships — First Place, Masters 55-59 Division
  • 1994 WPC World Championships — First Place, Masters 5
  • 1995 APF Masters & Teen Nationals — First Place, Masters 60-64 Division
  • 1995 WPC World Championships — First Place, M5 Division
  • 1997 WPC World Championships — First Place, Masters 60-64 Division
  • 1998 APF Nationals — First Place, Masters 60-64 Division
  • 1999 APF Masters Nationals — First Place, Masters 65-69 Division
  • 1999 WPC World Championships — First Place, Masters 6 Division
  • 2008 ANPPC World Cup — First Place, Masters 70-74 Division
  • 2008 ANPPC National Championships — First Place, Masters 70-74 Division

[Related: The Tale Of The First 1,000lb Bench Press]

World Records

Frantz claimed a total of nine world records across the 90-kilogram and 100-kilogram classes in five different Masters Divisions.

 Single-Ply World Records

  • Masters 45-49 Division
    • 1980 USPF Quad City Open — Deadlift — 352.5 kilograms (777 pounds), 90-kilogram class
    • 1981 USPF Men’s & Women’s Meet — Deadlift — 345 kilograms (760.6 pounds), 100-kilogram class
  • Masters 50-54 Division
    • 1985 USPF Hawaii Invitational — Squat — 375 kilograms (826.7 pounds), 100-kilogram class
    • 1984 USPF Senior National Championships — Deadlift — 337.5 kilograms (744.1 pounds), 90-kilogram class
    • 1985 USPF Senior National Championships — Deadlift — 350 kilograms (771.6 pounds), 100-kilogram class

Multi-Ply World Records

  • Masters 60-64 Division
    • 1995 WPC World Championships — Squat — 370 kilograms (815.7 pounds), 100-kilogram class
    • 1995 WPC World Championships — Total — 817.5 kilograms (1,802.3 pounds), 100-kilogram class
  • Masters 65-69 Division
    • 1999 APF Masters Nationals — Total — 697.5 kilograms (1,537.7 pounds), 100-kilogram class
  • Masters 70-74 Division
    • 2007 APF Chicago Summer Bash 4 — Squat — 277.5 kilograms (611.8 pounds), 90-kilogram class.

Check out this 2016 interview with Frantz at age 82 below via EliteFTS’ YouTube channel where he discusses his early experiences in powerlifting.

[Related: The History Of Strength Competitions — From 6000 B.C. To 2020]

Rest In Peace

Frantz has multiple editions of his book on training title Ernie Frantz’s Ten Commandments of Powerlifting” still available for those that want to learn what aspects of training were critical for him. Based on how long his decorated career lasted, the number of world records he was able to claim, and the respect he gained from his peers, it seems clear Frantz’s legacy in powerlifting is sure to live on.

Feature image from Ed Coan’s Instagram page: @eddycoan

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