Eden Prairie’s Bob Krowech started competitive weight lifting when a friend said he couldn’t.
“My friend said you can’t win at both body building and power lifting,” said Krowech, “but I’m a competitive person, so…”
A month ago, Krowech set a World Association of Benchers and Deadlifters world record with a lift of 501 pounds.
Krowech is 74 years old.
The old record was 452 pounds.
“You get three tries in a competition,” he said. “If you start lifting and the weight starts to drop, it doesn’t count. You can’t go backwards, meaning if you can’t lift 500, you don’t get to try 490.”
Krowech’s first lift was 454 pounds.
“I wanted the record,” he said.
His second lift was 480, his third 501.
And yes, he wanted 500.
“Anybody who is anybody does 500,” laughed Krowech.
Again, he’s 74 years young.
Question: How long does he plan to compete?
“Age-wise, I’m thinking I’ll do this for as long as I live,” he said.
Krowech trains five days per week and approximately two hours per day.
Krowech burst onto the competitive body building scene at age 50.
“When I watched the guys at a local competition, I said to myself, “I can do that.”
And so he did.
Krowech would compete as a competitive body builder for about five years.
“It’s very demanding,” he said. “You do a lot of extreme dieting and you do a lot of posing practice.
“When I went to my first power lifting competition,” he added, “I just showed up.”
“No matter how much exercise you’re doing, you’re capable of eating enough to overcome it,” he said.
“I had a diet of protein and limited carbs,” he said, “think chicken and vegetables.
“All the dieting made me crabby,” he added. “My wife has always been supportive, but she didn’t mind at all when I quit body building and switched to power lifting.”
Krowech has lived in Eden Prairie for approximately 20 years.
His first Eden Prairie gym was the old Flagship Athletic Club on Prairie Center Drive.
“When it closed, I dropped in here,” he said, of the Eden Prairie Vault Fitness. “I don’t need pools and tennis courts, so this fits me fine.”
He trains with younger guys, which is part of the deal when you’re a 74-year-old power lifter.
“Guys my age don’t do what I do,” laughed Krowech.
Winlan Hall trains with Krowech and laughs at this as well.
“Not many people can do what Bob does,” said Hall.
Hall’s deadlifting record is 535 pounds.
“I did it once,” he said, “but never again. I’m done.”
Hall is a 40-something Eden Prairie High School math teacher and football coach.
At the age of 64, Krowech counted a deadlift record of 611 pounds.
In February, Krowech turns 75, which means he’ll compete in the 75-80-year-old age class.
“Those records are 300 pounds and change,” he said. “While they sound easy, I’m starting to accept the fact that I’m getting more frail.”
When asked about injuries, Krowech said he can only really recall one.
“I remember seeing this cartoon,” he said. “A guy in front of an audience asked everyone with a shoulder problem to raise their hand. The big guys were using their other arm to help raise their hands.
“Bench pressers tend to have shoulder problems,” added Krowech, “it’s one of the reasons why I don’t like to bench press.”
Krowech’s one major injury occurred on his 70th birthday.
“I had just entered a new age class,” he said. “I was competing in a competition that combined bench pressing with squats and deadlifts. As the youngest guy, I thought breaking records would be a piece of cake, but as I started my squat, I heard something that sounded like Velcro opening. I tore the quadriceps tendon that attached to my knee.”
He was out of commission for almost a year.
Since, he’s taken nothing for granted.
“You do what you can do,” he said.
If that includes deadlifting 501 pounds at the age of 74, more power to him.