15 You-Can't-Believe-It Fitness World Records

Be inspired—or depressed—by these unbelievable athletic feats
Staff Writer

Andy Bolton deadlifts more than 1,000 pounds.

Since 1955, Guinness World Records has been documenting people’s amazing (and often ridiculous) feats around the world. From the person with the most tattoos to the oldest gymnast, no extreme accomplishment has been overlooked…as long as it fulfilled a few criteria. To qualify as a world record, the organization requires that feats be:

  • Measurable: Records must be the fastest, longest, heaviest, oldest, most, etc…
  • Focused on a single variable: If you drove the oldest car on the longest road trip, Guinness would recognize the oldest car or the longest road trip, but not the longest road trip in the oldest car
  • Verifiable: The feat must be witnessed by an official Guinness World Records judge or carefully documented and recorded as evidence for a team of Guinness adjudicators
  • Breakable: Each record should be able to be challenged

No matter where a person lives or their economic status, they can lay claim to a record. The six-week record application and assessment process is free, according to the Guinness World Records website, although there’s also a $700 Fast Track service for those itching to try a record sooner.

See 15 record breakers and their amazing fitness feats.

With more than 40,000 accomplishments in the Guinness database, we chose to narrow down the selections, rather than set a world record for longest slideshow. To make our list, we required record holders exemplify incredible fitness and that their accomplishments require extensive athletic training, as well as physical and mental discipline. For professional and recreational athletes alike, it is this type of dedication that inspires us to run that extra mile or pursue our dreams even at an older age.

Our final picks include the 70-year-old man who set the record for consecutive chin-ups (yes, it’s different from a pull-up), a swimmer who faced the perils of the Amazon jungle and a cyclist whose jaw-dropping distance records have gone untouched for decades. Ready to know more? Click here to see our slideshow