Record-Breaking Powerlifter Ernie Frantz Dead At 86

Legendary powerlifter Ernie Frantz passed away today at 86 years old after a long and successful career in the sport.


Widely considered to be one of the “godfathers of powerlifting,” powerlifter Ernie Frantz passed away on Thursday, January 15th, 2021, at age 86. In addition to the many incredible feats of strength he performed throughout his career, Ernie Frantz is probably best known for founding the World Powerlifting Congress (WPC) in 1986. The WPC has collaborated with the American Powerlifting Federation (APF) and British Powerlifting Union (BPU) to host powerlifting meets and competitions across international borders. Unlike RAW competitions, those who enter WPC meets are allowed to use multi-ply equipment.

Frantz actually began his successful career as a powerlifter by getting into bodybuilding at his local YMCA after returning from the Korean War in the early 1950s. In 1955, he had already progressed so far he was able to place 5th in the Mr. America competition. But, like many legends of the sport, he was always interested in how he could push himself further and achieve new heights. This led him to powerlifting training and helped inspire him to establish the first powerlifting federation, the WPC, in the mid-1980s. He was beloved by fans for his lifelong commitment to strength sports; he could famously deadlift 315 pounds well into his 80s.

Frantz also cultivated a love of the sport among younger acolytes by releasing his popular training guide, The Ten Commandments of Powerlifting. After more than five decades in the sport, Frantz shared his knowledge with others and accumulated the many tips and tricks he had learned over the years into an easy-to-read book that allowed those starting out to learn from his mistakes and growth as an athlete. Many consider the book to be one of the “reference bibles” of bodybuilding and powerlifting for those looking to break into strength sports.



Frantz’s legacy and impact on the sport will not soon be forgotten. He had a long and very full life contributing to a discipline that he loved and deeply cared about; for that, he is truly one of the lucky ones. Generation Iron salutes one of the truly great athletes who was alive to compete during our generation

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