Weightlifter sets 14th women’s world record
December 24, 2013
By Kaylan Lovrovich
When Pat Robey decided she wanted to get back in shape in 2002, she never imagined she would be breaking world records six months later.
Robey stumbled upon her gym, Headquarters Health and Fitness, while in pursuit of a place with a tanning bed close to her work. She’d been trying to get in shape at another gym, but decided she needed a personal trainer for accountability. She also never planned to enter weight-lifting competitions.
“I really didn’t want to compete, but he convinced me I was strong and that I could win,” Robey said of her trainer.
As it turns out, he was right.
“I blew away the first world record six months after I joined the gym,” Robey said. “After that, I was hooked.”
Now 69, Robey set a world record last June in the 181-pound class with a bench press of 192.7 pounds, as well as a state record in the dead lift of 255.7 pounds.
In all, she has 14 world records to her name and 22 state records. She was inducted into the World Association of Benchers and Deadlifters hall of fame last year.
According to Robey’s trainer, Joe Head, she has always been naturally strong.
“She did a lot of labor around her house and I saw that could be transferable to lifting,” he said. “I knew she had potential to be something pretty amazing.”
Even after her first few competitions, Robey said it took her a while to realize the enormity of a world record.
“I honestly didn’t feel I was doing anything spectacular,” she said. “I was just getting my strength back.”
Robey typically goes to the gym three days a week for an hour, but she increases her workouts to three hours when there is an upcoming competition. She goes through a rotation of working chest and back, legs, or shoulders and arms each day. Her husband Bob goes to the gym with her.
“I encourage her in whatever she wants to do, to the make the best of her abilities,” he said. “She’s always been willing to do whatever it takes.”
Robey refers to the members of her gym as an extended family. Headquarters typically takes a team of 12 to 20 people to each competition, and the team has taken the world team trophy eight years out of 11.
At a World Association of Benchers and Deadlifters event in Reno on Nov. 5, which was televised by Fox Sports for the first time, Robey set a world record bench press of 181.3 pounds in the 165-pound class, and set a Washington state record dead lift of 253.4.
“I really want a 300-pound dead lift,” she said. “No one my age has ever done that before.”
Robey lifts in the 68-74 age bracket, and the 165 maximum weight bracket. The weight brackets go in 15-pound increments.
Although Robey has strong athletic ability, Head commends her on her motivation to improve each year and at each competition.
“I was impressed by her dedication more than anything,” he said.
Robey said she now loves the competitive aspect of weight lifting.
“It’s neat knowing that your best is better than anyone else’s who’s competing,” she said. “I go to do the best I can, but to find out that my best is the best in the world is really humbling.”
Robey doesn’t plan to slow down.
“If my lift is good enough to get a world record, then I did what I set out to do,” she said. “And if it’s not good enough, then I’m going to have to try harder next time.”
Kaylan Lovrovich is a student in the University of Washington Department of Communication News Laboratory. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.