01 JAN 2022

This 85-year-old Patient Can Deadlift 226 Pounds

Carrie Reese flexing triumphantly in Vacaville’s Old Skool Gym with her weightlifting belt draped over her shoulder.
Carrie Reese has set multiple records in her age and weight classes for deadlifting during the past decade.

Fairfield resident Carrie Reese is 85 years old, but you’d never know it by looking at her, especially when you see her deadlift a 200-plus-pound barbell.

It’s true. Carrie Reese has set multiple records in her age and weight classes for deadlifting during the past decade. She hefted a whopping 226 pounds in November, earning her a place as the oldest woman ever inducted into the World Association of Benchers and Deadlifters Hall of Fame.

It’s inspiring, particularly when you consider that one year earlier, she underwent a bowel resection followed by six months of physical therapy at NorthBay Healthcare.

About 12 years ago, Carrie had an umbilical hernia repair in the Bay area. “I was told that it is not uncommon for people who have had that kind of surgery to develop bowel obstructions a decade later,” Carrie explained. But when it happened to her, she resisted surgery, instead seeking osteopathic manipulative treatments. When she ended up in the hospital for 10 days in 2020, she couldn’t put off surgery any longer.

She admits that she was “a bit depressed” following the surgery as she was not able to lift, an activity she started at the age of 71.

After her surgery, NorthBay surgeon William Fulton, D.O., assured her she would be able to get back to an active lifestyle, but it seemed like an impossible dream. “Everyone kept telling me I would get back to it, but I didn’t believe them,” she admitted.

Still, she kept at it, and focused on her physical therapy exercises.

“My physical therapists — the two Pauls — were great,” she said, referring to physical therapist Paul Tepora and physical therapy assistant Paul Miquiabas. “They encouraged me and assured me that I would come back.”

“The two Pauls” are equally in awe of Carrie.

“Ms. Reese always exhibited the determination and passion to succeed in returning back to deadlifting,” said Paul Tepora. “Despite all of the adversities, she sets a great example for others when it comes to the focus needed to achieve a goal in life.”

Paul Miquiabas agreed.

“She is a very driven individual,” he said. “We worked not only on increasing her strength to improve function, but also to improve her deadlifting form. It was an honor to work with her. But the main takeaway for me is that if someone like her can be this driven, I have no excuse not to be.”

By May of 2021, Carrie returned to workouts at Vacaville’s Old Skool Gym. By August, she was deadlifting 195 pounds and bench pressing 90 pounds. Then came her record in November.

“I’m feeling great,” she said. “Find what makes you feel great and work at it because the more you work, the better you will feel and nothing beats that. So just go to it!”

You can learn more about NorthBay's Rehabilitation Services here on our website, by calling our Fairfield office at (707) 646-5599, or by calling our Vacaville office at (707) 624-8290.

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