March 29, 2016 2:05 PM EDT

Shirley Webb had never done any weightlifting until she was 76 years old. Now, at the age of 78, she can deadlift 225 pounds.

Webb joined the Club Fitness gym in Wood River, Illinois, at the request of her granddaughter in 2014, and soon found that she had a talent for powerlifting. “At the time, I couldn’t walk up the stairs unless I held on to the handrail, and if I got on the floor, I couldn’t get up without a chair,” she told Today. “Now I can come right up off the floor. The harder I work out, the better I feel.”

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The grandmother of two deadlifted 237 pounds at a competition in Belleville, Ill., in November to set the state record for her age group and has maxed out at 245 pounds. “I’ve seen such a remarkable difference in myself,” she said. “I’m glad that people are getting inspired by me doing this. I had one lady come in the gym and say, ‘I saw your video and I decided to come down and join this club.’ That makes me feel good.”

Webb hopes to beat both her personal best and own state record by lifting 260 pounds at her next competition in June.


Write to Megan McCluskey at

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