Lifting 500 pounds one local man’s idea of fun

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Natchez — Most hobbies include some form of leisure activity, whether it be gardening, stamp collecting or working on an old car.

Ron Jenkins’s hobby includes him lifting over 500 pounds of iron five days a week.

Jenkins has been powerlifting for over 20 years and will be competing in an American Powerlifting Association meet in Hattiesburg on Feb. 16 to try to break state records in the squat, dead lift, bench press and total weight in the 65- to 69-year-old age group.

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Jenkins had lifted weights in high school when he played sports, but quit lifting once his athletic career ended. However, in the mid-1980s when Jenkins was living in New Orleans, a co-worker got him interested in the sport once again. He’s been lifting ever since.

“It’s a hobby I really enjoy,” Jenkins said. “It keeps me healthy. I think about what I eat and want to stay fit.”

The weightlifting also helps with his job as a reserve deputy with the Adams County Sheriff’s Office, he said.

It isn’t only the sport that he enjoys, it’s the comraderie among the competitors at meets that draws him in as well.

“I’ve made a lot of friends doing this,” Jenkins said. “It’s a social event too. After the meets we’ll go out to meet and visit. They are a bunch of family guys and good people.”

The current records are 315 pounds in the squat, 325 pounds in the bench press and 405 pounds in the dead lift and 1,035 pounds total.

Jenkins is hoping to break all three records in the Hattiesburg meet, and has lifted more weight than the current records in practices, but must pull off the feat in front of the judges at the competition.

Jenkins’ training usually consists of lighter weights and more repetitions earlier in the week and heavier weights and fewer reps later in the week. He has to wear special equipment such as suits, socks and wraps in order to avoid injury. Jenkins said he is careful with his lifting and has suffered very few injuries, mostly muscle pulls.

“You’re lifting a lot of weight and it’s important to always abide by all the safety measures,” Jenkins said. “I’m from the old school, so I like to put chalk on my hands to help with grip as well.”

Jenkins admits that most senior citizens aren’t lifting huge amounts of iron over their heads, he says it’s something that he really enjoys.

“Even an 80-year-old man, if he starts weight lifting, can increase his muscle mass,” Jenkins said. “It’s a real enjoyable hobby for me. I don’t plan to stop.”