Irondequoit resident Dave Edborg, a patrol major in Rochester Institute of Technology’s Public Safety Department, broke a state record after deadlifting 213 kilos (469 pounds) in the drug-free World Association Benchpress and Dead Lift Championships on Nov. 16 in Las Vegas.
Edborg, 56, who weighs 184 pounds, competed in the 198-pound class of the dead lift competition in the police and law enforcement division for those 56 to 63 years of age.
In the dead lift competition, contestants don’t lift the bar above their head. Instead, they must lift it off the floor and stand erect until the judges approve. The most weight lifted in a single lift in three tries wins.
Edborg set the previous record at 451 pounds last year, then lifted 457 pounds in the World Association of Benchers and Dead Lifters Nationals in May in Portland, Maine, and 462 pounds in his second attempt during the Vegas competition. His 469-pound lift came on his third and final attempt.
“It’s something I’ve worked hard for,” he said.
About 450 people from eight countries and 24 states competed in the championships in various age and weight classes, divisions and competitions, he said. He competed against others from Brazil, California, Utah and Nevada.
“I don’t feel anything. All I am focused on is having the bar move,” he said. “But when I am done for the day, I feel it from head to toe.”
Edborg, who played baseball and basketball in Falconer High School in Chautauqua County, started lifting weights in 1982 while a student at RIT, where he graduated in 1984 with a degree in criminal justice. He competed in the Pennsylvania Police Olympics in 1987, winning first place in the 148-pound class, and finished fifth in Chicago at the National Police Olympics in the 165-pound class in 1988.
“To have a good lift when you’ve been working so hard, it’s a terrific sense of accomplishment,” he said. “You don’t have a team, it’s just you and the weight in front of you.”
After 1988, Edborg stopped lifting weights. He suffered some injuries and was busy with other diversions of life.
“Then four years ago, I started back up,” he said. To train for this competition, he lost 45 pounds. “I’ve learned to drink water, traded lunch for a protein shake, and am making smarter food choices. And I’m always drug-free. There are no steroids happening, and never have been. There’s no substitute for hard work.”
Edborg trained four or five times a week in RIT’s Student Life Center, where he’s encouraged by students.
“The students are inspiring. They are training with me, helping me,” he said.
But he credits his wife, Lisa, a former ballet instructor and current yoga enthusiast, as his biggest supporter.
“She taught me how to stretch properly so I don’t get injured,” he said. “It’s all about knowing your body. You’ve got to train smart. My bones don’t heal like they used to.”
He also found tremendous support from his coworkers at Public Safety and from RIT’s Finance and Administration department. “I couldn’t ask for better support,” he said.
Edborg received a gold medal for his accomplishment, but says his real prize was his training to enable him to lose weight in recent years to enter the 198-pound division.
He’s not sure what his next major competition will be, but has qualified for the WABDL World Cup competition in Helsinki, Finland in August.
“I’ll continue to train really hard with the ultimate goal of representing the United States and RIT at that event,” he said.