It was quite a moment for Glenn Mueller.
The Fremont man walked out of a warmup room at the gym in Oakland, California.
As a participant in the United States Strength Federation (USSF) National Championships, Mueller went out to a platform where the weights awaited him.
He did the squat with 130.1 pounds. But due to an old arm injury, he began having a little trouble with the press.
The crowd began cheering him on.
“You can do!” they encouraged.
And he did.
Next came the deadlift. The crowd continued to cheer for him.
Mueller didn’t hear crowd members calling him “Grandpa Glenn!”
And he wouldn’t learn until later that he’d deadlifted 185.2 pounds.
Not bad for a guy who is 84 years old.
Or for a guy who just started weightlifting in October 2016.
But neither age nor being new to a sport has deterred Mueller one bit.
“It’s one of these new things I’m doing in not letting my age hold me back,” he said.
Mueller appreciates his good health and wants stay healthy.
“When people get my age or even a little younger and they retire, they want to sit around and that’s not me,” he said.
Mueller retired from teaching in 1991 and then worked for different organizations.
The last time he retired was in 2015 from the Low Income Ministry of Dodge County. While there, Mueller was the operations director. He made sure volunteers were at the facility when needed. He worked with volunteer supervisors and was in charge of the bicycle gift program at Christmas.
Mueller hadn’t looked at many local gyms when he got the opportunity to go to one run by a family member.
In October 2016, Mueller started going to the Testify Strength & Conditioning gym in Omaha, owned by his grandson-in-law, Phil Meggers.
“He gives personal attention to each person in the activities and that was something that I wanted,” Mueller said. “He watches everyone and makes sure you’re doing the lifting, the pressing correctly.”
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Meggers started Mueller working on the squat with the weighted bar on his shoulders and then the press exercise where the bar is lifted into the air.
Mueller then worked on the bench press in which he lies down on a bench and lifts a bar with weights from his chest into the air.
He also started working on the deadlift. With that exercise, he lifts the weighted bar from the floor to about his waist.
Mueller started working out for 1 ½ hours on Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday.
“I really had no intention of doing anything as far as meets,” Mueller said. “Phil encouraged me because I was moving along in building up the amount of weight that I was lifting.”
So Mueller went to a meet in Omaha with about 25 people, men and women, of various ages. Then he went to a second meet.
Both times, he met the goals and was the eldest person at the events.
When the USSF National Championships rolled around in January, Mueller opted to go, becoming part of a three-generation group that included his daughter-in-law, Barb Mueller of Elkhorn, and her daughter and Phil’s wife, Becky Meggers of Omaha.
He would receive a medal for being the eldest in his age category and his achievement will go into national records.
Mueller appreciated the camaraderie of the event and the encouragement from the crowd.
“That was neat,” he said.
After he made the deadlift, Mueller clapped his hands — emitting a cloud of the powder weightlifters use to keep their hands from slipping on the bar.
Then he gave the crowd a thumbs up — with both hands.
“What’s next?” he asked.
Mueller was surprised when he dead lifted 185.2 pounds, which is almost his weight. He thought he’d only lifted about 160 pounds.
Now, he’s ready to meet a higher goal.
He’s registered to attend an April 14 meet in Omaha, where his goal is to lift 200 pounds.
“I haven’t gotten there yet, but I’ve got more than a month,” he said.
Mueller never thought he’d be weightlifting.
He encourages others, noting that their age shouldn’t be the thing that holds them back.
“Think of something in your life — outside the box,” he said. “Do something beyond what you have done so far.”