Shirley Webb poses with her medal June 20 at the Missouri State Powerlifting and Midwest Open in St. Louis. Accompanying her (from left) are her son Kenneth Webb, her granddaughters Dorian Webb and Tricia Cole, and her son Ed Webb.
EAST ALTON | The sport of powerlifting consists of three attempts at lifting maximal weight on three types of lifts: squat, bench press and deadlift. The sport’s practitioners range from college athletes to professional weightlifters to Olympians — and one local senior.
Shirley Webb talks about the physical condition she was in a year ago.
“I couldn’t climb a flight of stairs,” she says.
The 77-year-old East Alton resident has been married to her husband, Dick, since 1957. They have two children and two grandchildren.
In April 2014, her granddaughter Dorian talked her into joining Club Fitness to try to get into better shape. They joined together and Webb says her health has since improved remarkably.
“I told my trainer I couldn’t get down on the floor to work out because I would not be able to get back up,” she explains. He told her he would help her get back up and they worked together to develop a training routine.
Webb soon discovered she had a talent for weightlifting.
“I started lifting and just kept gradually adding weight,” she says. She was soon deadlifting more than 200 pounds.
In the deadlift, the athlete grasps a weighted bar and pulls the weights off the floor, progressing to an erect position. The knees must be locked and the shoulders back, with the weight held in the lifter’s grip. At the referee’s command, the bar is returned to the floor under the control of the lifter.
On June 20, Webb entered the Missouri State Powerlifting and Midwest Open in St. Louis. The competition included 115 men and women.
She was surprised when she arrived to discover she was required to do the bench press and the squat in addition to the deadlift to qualify for the competition. Undaunted, Webb followed the referee’s instructions and successfully completed the other lift requirements.
When it came time to attempt the deadlift, she won the competition for her division with a lift of 215 pounds. Family members attended and watched her winning effort.
Webb continues to train, going to Club Fitness twice a week for workouts with her trainer and once a week with her granddaughter. She is planning to enter a Belleville competition in November.
She strongly urges everyone to get involved in physical fitness.
“I feel so much better than I used to,” she says. “Starting day one I noticed a big difference.”
She says she continues to gradually improve her lifestyle and is working toward improving her diet.
At an age when many settle into a more relaxed way of living, this area senior is actually taking on greater challenges, setting goals and pushing herself to achieve more every day. Shirley Webb is the perfect example of why no one at any age has any excuses for not staying active and pushing to be better every day.