The power of powerlifting

By Travis Eldridge

April 8, 2014 Updated Apr 13, 2014 at 11:34 AM EST

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Fifty-two-year old Dennis Spangenburg can lift more than most.

"In training it's like, you put that much on and it's like, this isn't worth it. It's way too heavy," he says.

But in competition, it's clear to Dennis: it's pretty sweet.

"When you compete you get three attempts, at this last meet I did 520 for the first attempt, I did 540, which was a record and then I did 550."

550 pounds makes Spangenburg the International Powerlifting Association World Record Holder in his age group. When he broke that record, it was just his second-ever competition.

But it wasn't his first world record. That's because he set one in his first event as well.

"I really wasn't looking at record when I was first going. Who would think you could set a world record at your first meet?"

But he did it, and with that he could now lift more than he used to weigh -- the most impressive accomplishment of all.

"I mean I was in my 40s. I was 450 pounds-plus."

This was Dennis just a handful of years ago. That's when he decided he needed to make a change.

"For me it was like a switch flip. Once the decision was made and I started, I wasn't tempted by food. It was like, this is what I have to do to get to where I want to be and nothing really took me off that track."

It's a path that's led him to exactly where he wants to be.

"I have four grandkids as well. I do it for them, and I do it so I am both around for my grandkids, and also that I'm in good enough shape to get down on the ground and play with them and take them to the amusement parks and stuff like that. Because quite honestly there was a point with my own kids where I couldn't do that."

Now he can -- an accomplishment that blows away any record he'll ever break.