The 71-Year-Old Who’s Setting the Bar High for Female Powerlifters Everywhere

Dr Catherine Walter performs a deadlift

We’ve all wondered if there comes a point in later life when you’ll have to give up lifting weights. The answer could (hopefully) be never.

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Blazing the trail for older women in the gym is Dr Catherine Walter. At 71 years-of-age, Dr Walter is the captain of Oxford University’s Linacre College female powerlifting club.

Gone are the days when the weights room was ruled by dudes. As us lifting girls know, today the gym is a much more diverse space, and Dr Walter is setting the bar high for an older generation of weight lifting ladies.

Proving that the barbell isn’t only for the young gym goers, she only started strength training six years ago, at the age of 65.

Why powerlifting?

At the time she was concerned her fitness was declining and decided to take action.

“Six years ago, I told one of my sons that I was getting unfit, that I was too busy to go to the gym five times a week, and that I was worried that I was on a slippery slope, given my age,” she told The Independent.

“My son suggested that I should think about lifting heavy weights for few reps, pointing out that it was much better overall than cardio, and that I wouldn’t have to do it so often. That sounded good.”

From there she went for a session with a powerlifting coach and has gone from success to success .

She and her team, The Linacre Ladies, have competed around the world sporting their signature rainbow socks. They chose the rainbow design for their first competition together, signifying unity and inclusion in the sport and they’ve been a staple part of their look ever since.

Now Dr Walter trains twice a week, drilling her three core powerlifting movements – squat, bench press and deadlift – along with a little overhead press.

She trains smart too. One session is focussed on high volume sets, training at a 70 per cent of her max lift for five sets of five reps. The other session is dedicated to weight intensity, where she aims to complete five sets of one rep at her maximum weight.

The results speak for themselves and every week she adds a little more to her personal best.

Needless to say, Dr Walter is top of our ‘fitness goals’ list for later life. If you’re feeling inspired by her story, kickstart your powerlifting journey with help from BOSS Workouts. These comprehensive training plans will give you everything you need to reach your fitness goals.

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