Earning the title of World's Oldest Bodybuilder in 2015 did not give great-grandfather Jim Arrington an excuse to rest on his laurels. If anything, it only increased his desire to do one thing: train to win.
Fresh off his most recent contest in Venice, California, the Guinness World Record holder insists bodybuilding is something he'll do as long as he possibly can—and as long as he enjoys it.
From 'Skinny Bones' to World Record Holder
According to The Telegraph, Arrington earned the nickname "Skinny Bones" as a young man—and he's kept it over the years, even while flexing his impressive muscles in bodybuilding competitions.
"When I started working out, I was 5-foot-8 and weighed 115 pounds." Arrington told the Sacramento Bee in 2016. "I was 15 years old and a sophomore in high school. By college, I got up to 150 pounds."
Arrington entered his first bodybuilding competition in 1947—which for those of you keeping track at home is the same year Arnold was born.
"I was just into bodybuilding," explains Arrington. "I really enjoy training. It's a great feeling to be in the gym. It gets your blood flowing and your muscles pumped up."
Bodybuilding for Life
With 70-plus years of training under his belt, Arrington is still entering competitions—and still dominating his division. The Grand Masters division—a 50-plus or 60-plus age group, depending on which association the contest is affiliated with—is one of the fastest growing divisions in the sport of bodybuilding. And for good reason. Faced with the prospect of inactivity and physical decline, many retirees rediscover their youth and vitality through training and competing.
"That's my favorite group, age 70 and up," promoter Gary Udit told the Sacramento Bee in 2015. "That's the one group that blows people away the most. They're so remarkable."
Legacy of Lifting
Working out at the famed Gold's Gym in Venice Beach, Arrington is an inspiration to other gym-goers.
"I want to grow up to be like him!" exclaims Jerome Ferguson, a fellow competitor and Bodybuilding.com athlete. "84-years young with abs—most people who are 84-years old are dead!"
Even now that he's the record holder, the good-natured Arrington shows no signs of stopping.
"I think I'll keep going as long as I possibly can. I've been enjoying bodybuilding for almost 70 years now, so I don't think I'll really get tired of it."
Inspired? You should be! Now put it into action with these Bodybuilding.com resources.
- Think you have what it takes to keep competing at any age? First ask yourself these three crucial questions.
- Wondering if going heavy is a young lifter's game? Ask strength coach Charles Staley, or listen to his appearance on the bodybuilding.com podcast about staying strong and healthy at any age.
- No matter your age, heed these lessons so you can keep lifting for long enough to someday be an old gym rat.