Inspiring Stories

Abbey Moon, 76: Powering Through Life

Meet Abbey Moon. She’s one of the 2021 Senior Planet Sponsored Athletes, and she’ll be sharing updates on her health and wellness journey through the rest of this year. Abbey, age 76, is a survivor who turned trauma into triumph through her mastery of powerlifting.

“To begin my journey, I need to share that I was a domestic violence victim for about 10 years, and even after my divorce, I walked around feeling scared all the time. I tried therapy which was helpful and I went to the gym to work out, but I had no plan of action. I finally realized the only way to not feel scared was to be able to defend myself.

“When I started this journey, I was hardly able to do anything; but I was determined to be strong plus powerful, and able to take care of myself.”

“In 2012, I started doing CrossFit workouts which were challenging, but I kept coming back.  Eventually I could finish all of the workouts – and got stronger. In 2014, a young man who was teaching a powerlifting class I was attending suggested to me that I should compete.

“I fell in love with powerlifting — it made me feel strong and now all my working out has a purpose.”

“I participated in my first powerlifting competition in August 2014.  Despite being scared to death, I performed quite well…and secured an American record in bench pressing by being the best in my weight and age group! I fell in love with powerlifting — it made me feel strong and now all my working out has a purpose.

The exercise program

My exercise program today consists of a morning workout class five times a week, with three evenings of powerlifting, and three afternoons of accessory work. My morning Zoom exercise class started with COVID-19 and the closing all of the gyms. I and three of my friends decided to do a morning workout in order to not lose strength. The beauty of these workouts is we only need barbells, a thin red band for pull-aparts, and a timer for wall sits and planks. I love starting my morning this way because it is fun, it continues to be challenging, and I get to hang out with my friends.

Below: Abbey demonstrates a squat, one of the core exercises in powerlifting.

It’s not always easy!

“I want to point out that there are days when I drag myself through my workouts, and even some that I miss altogether. I have learned to accept it as part of being a powerlifter. Sometimes I do not want to go and just want to lie on the couch and watch Netflix — which happens — but, whenever I go, I feel challenged and much better about my lifting when I leave. If you work consistently on your lifts, you will be able to lift more weight and your numbers will improve.

“I have a big competition coming up on September 23rd, and I am determined to obtain a world record in bench pressing.”


“My first competition I was only able to bench 88 pounds, and now I am up to 125. Sometimes the workout sessions are hard — my mind is saying ‘keep going!’ and my body wants to stop, but the support of the people at the gym motivates me to finish my lifts for the evening. I have a big competition coming up on September 23rd, and I am determined to obtain a world record in bench pressing. I want to accomplish that because it is a challenge, plus it will help my lifting team.

“When I started this journey, I was hardly able to do anything; but I was determined to be strong plus powerful, and able to take care of myself. I have had a hip replacement, a knee replacement, a broken leg, a fractured hip, and a year and a half ago was in a car accident that injured my back and my knee — plus I developed PTSD.

“Just being surrounded by people who were working out gave me the motivation to keep moving, and I eventually healed.”

“I have always gotten through these detours by feeling sorry for myself for about 2 weeks, a lot of physical therapy, and returning to the gym as soon as possible and utilizing parts of my body that were not injured. I would go to the gym using a walker and then a cane, but I went on a regular basis. Just being surrounded by people who were working out gave me the motivation to keep moving, and I eventually healed. Due to a lot of mobility issues and not really doing any physical exercise until I was 50, I have had to work really hard in order to be good at powerlifting.

Abbey’s Tips:

“I want to leave you with the following ideas that have guided me:

“First of all, just show up. Even if you do not want to go or feel like the workouts are too difficult, do what you can do and modify things.

“Secondly, do not be afraid to ask for help. Most people at the gym want to help people just beginning to start powerlifting.

“Third, challenge yourself with higher weights and more repetitions.

“Lastly, make working out a part of your day. I think of it as my job. I started committing to go two times per week, and then added days — but it has to be a commitment. Find a workout partner so you have to be accountable to someone, and repeat to yourself over and over, ‘I can do this.’

“Guess what? YOU CAN DO THIS. And when you start noticing muscles and feeling stronger, you will be very proud.

“I am delighted to have been chosen as a Senior Planet Athlete, because it gives me an opportunity to come into contact with a number of Senior athletes all over the country and to share my love of powerlifting. My dream is to motivate some of you reading this blog to try it and those of you who are already lifting to continue doing what you are doing.”


24 responses to “Abbey Moon, 76: Powering Through Life

  1. Weightlifting and cardio are the only things that help my treatment resistant depression. I am getting older and wish I had a trainer that was an older strong female, understands recovery from injuries, and how limiting hand pain can be. I needed to read your story and hear how you do it. The hardest part of the gym for me is getting there for me since I have hypersomnia. I enjoy bench the most. I am starting to have more twinges when I lift and had a slight injury a couple years ago due to deadlifting. I am horrible at understanding where my body is and even mirrors don’t seem to help so I have a difficult time getting form down, even though I had been doing this for years and with the help of trainers. I have not done any deadlifting with real weight since then and when I do with small weight I still feel twinges of pain afterwards. Should I just not do it at all or is that normal? I don’t trust the advice of the young (mostly male) trainers at my gym to answer that. Thank you.

    1. Just want to say congratulations auntie abbey for pushing thru and not giving up your inspiration to others out here and of course myself. Love you and I can’t wait to see you compete and win this…you got this I’m cheering you on all the way

  2. You are an amazing woman! “Just show up” this is the part I am working on. You have inspired me. When I struggle with getting to the gym, I am going to draw strength from your story. Good luck on your competition on September.

    1. Dear Trisha,

      It is a struggle, but just think we will be independent strong and alert. I have a workout partner who keeps me accountable and I do the same for her. The other thing is pick a day you are going and make it part of your schedule, like a doctor appointment, when that is easy add another day and then keep adding as many days as you want. Once it becomes an appointment, you will just naturally go. you want to go which is half of the battle.

  3. I love working out and how it makes the inside of my body feel. And outside too.I especially love working out like at the David. Barton gym when he had 4 or 5 djs on different nights

    I love the Romanian deadlift and the regular deadlift I especially feel blessed I learned from my trainor James. Working out is a real high to me.

    I am already 69 next week

    May be some underlying physical feeling there. Working out makes me feel stronger I just keep Doing everything I learned from my trainor

    I have Arnold szwarznaggers book and find him supportively helpful

    I would like too try “powerlifting”

    Hope I can find out more about it powerlifting from you all

    Really bad at the computer but don’t know if this makes a difference.

    Good luck with your competitions. Thank you for your article. Good luck to you

    Thanks for listening

    What is powerlifting.

    What if you ar already effected by arthritis But can still do everything

    I love dumbells, all free weights, machines I see the value in all. ‍♀️

    1. Dear Susan,

      It sounds like you are powerlifting and doing a phenomenal job. You have a trainer which is very helpful. I have arthritis in my hands but take tylenol before I train and it seems to help.
      I also wear gloves. I like the variey of things you are doing, I try and included dumbbells and machines Send me energy on 9/23 and thanks for writing

    1. Thanks for reading my story. Inertia is the enemy, that is why I say to people just show up. Someone asked my first trainer what was different about me, and he replied,” She just shows up. ” Working out was really hard for me, but now I treat it like a job and make it a priority. Please send me good energy on 9/23

  4. Abbey,
    Thank you for your empowering story. Some of it rings true in my life, post cancer, age 73.

    I like “just show up” – sometimes that’s all I can do but still so important.

    I strength train and do cardio (different routines on different days) – disciplined, but nothing serious like what you are doing.
    Congratulations on your achievement(s) – I’m sure others will take something positive from your story.

    1. Dear Don, I am so impressed with your story, talk about just showing up and working out when you do not feel like it. What I like about your story is you sound like you have days where you do not feel very strrong, but you go and in the long run, just going is making you stronger. I am envious of people who do cardio, I dislike it so rationalize by saying oh I walk which is not enough. It sounds like you are doing everything but powerlift so maybe that is the next step.

  5. Good for you! I am impressed with your accomplishments! I’ve been lifting weights (though not power-lifting) for almost 20 years and it’s the best thing I ever did – for my mental health and my physical well-being, and my self confidence.

    1. Dear Carol,

      If ou have been lifting weights that long, you would probably be a great power lifter. I agree lifting weights is so good for us, we will not be falling and not able to get up. I think going to the gym and seeing other people work out, is very good for mental health. keep up the amazing work, and try deadlifting with a light weight and see if you like it. It is the best for self confidence

    1. Dear Charles,

      that is so impressive, I do them every year on my birthday and thought 76 was great but what you are doing makes my routine seem very mickey mouse. you must have amazing bi-cepts and your back must be very strong, what a great exercise to be doing. I think you should try bench pressing and I bet you would be amazing. Keep up the good work.

  6. I am so inspired by your story. I, too, wish you luck in your upcoming competition. I do a weight routine 6 days a week, but nothing like your power lifting. I will add more to my program because of you.

    1. if you are doing a weight routine 6 days a week, that is inspirational. the thing about powerlifting, is it does not seem like work, because you have light days and heavy days, plus you see progress so it is very motivating. I think you should try some light deadlifting, do you have a trainer if not just google how to deadlift and start with an 18 pound bar and add 10 on each side when that feels like a piece of cake. So much of powerlifting is keeping your body tight and your shoulder blades back and with the bench press touching. I started with very light weights and increased slowly. Congratulations

    1. I have had so many mishaps, broken bones, hip and knee replacement, and what i learned was go to the gym and work the part of your body that is not hurt or watch other people work out. A broken elbow does not sound like fun, but do try and get back to the gym. My mental health always improved, and the part of my body that still worked got stronger. That is my secret message go and do what you can do

    1. Thanks Mimi, I totally agree as we get older we need to be challenged and try new things if gives us self confidence and a sense of adventure. Power lifting has given me the courage to try new things, and also being around younger people is good for us. They are so amazed that you can work out, and they start telling you about how they try and get their parents to the gym and they do not want to go. I am excited about this competition and am determined to do very well

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