'World's strongest organist': Leduc church music director shatters world powerlifting records

The music director at St. David's United Church in Leduc shattered a powerlifting record last weekend in Calgary. Colin Bonneau now owns 90 powerlifting world records and at 70 years old, isn't slowing down.

Colin Bonneau has 90 world records in powerlifting

'Nobody's ever met a weightlifting church organist'

5 years ago
Duration 1:28
Sherwood Park musician Colin Bonneau holds 90 world records for powerlifting.

In powerlifting circles, Colin Bonneau is somewhat of a legend. 

The 70-year-old church music director from just outside Sherwood Park has been setting world powerlifting records for the past 20 years. 

"I've been calling myself the world's strongest church organist ... and nobody's ever challenged it," chuckled Bonneau. "I've never met one. "

Bonneau turned 70 on Oct. 9, bumping him up into the 70-74 age category. 

He set his most recent record at a meet in Calgary on Oct. 21, where he managed to shatter the world record for bench press by 99 pounds, bench-pressing a record 342 pounds.

'I was pleasantly surprised'

Bonneau easily bench-pressed 244 pounds, 303 pounds, 331 pounds, and then set a fourth record of 342 pounds, all shattering the old record of 243 pounds. 

"I was pleasantly surprised when I was able to lift as much as I did, " Bonneau said. 

Last weekend's four records officially brings him to 90 world records in powerlifting. 

When he's not lifting or pushing heavy weight, he's the music director at St. David's United Church in Leduc, which is Bonneau's other passion in life. 
Trophies of world records belonging to power lifter Colin Bonneau

"I'm a musician, " he said. "I have a hobby of powerlifting ... but music is my real passion." 

He has been teaching and playing the organ in churches around Edmonton for 35 years.  He's played in all kinds of bands. He has played the church organ since 1965. 

On Sunday, the congregation at his Leduc church was told of his latest accomplishment.   

"They announced ... that I'd gotten another four world records," he said. "People clapped and stuff, they think it's pretty cool." 

The latest four records are in addition to four he earned at a meet last March.

"Everyone clapped," he said. 

"Nobody's ever met a weightlifting church organist, [they] just don't exist."   

Powerlifting since 50

Bonneau prides himself on a natural, drug-free lifting routine. 

He's part of the 100% Raw Powerlifting Federation, a type of lifting where participants aren't allowed to use any devices to help them lift the weight, such as bench shirts. 

Once he broke the record on the weekend, Bonneau said the "high fives" starting flying. 

"I got a lot of cheering and stuff, " said Bonneau, who started powerlifting at the age of 50. 

When I did my fourth lift, the meet director said, "You seem to defy gravity!"

'I blame it on my genes'

Bonneau said he started lifting weights as a way to keep in shape and stay healthy.

"It'd be nice to say, 'I train 10 hours a day,' but really, I blame it on my genes," he said. "I've got really good genes, and I'm lucky." 

He puts in time at the gym.

"Being short is really good for bench-pressing and squatting." 

Bonneau doesn't plan on slowing down. 

"I think I could have actually done 160 [kilograms], which would have been 353 pounds. Next time, next meet, which will be in Calgary sometime in February." 

If he lifts that weight, the feat could land the powerlifting church organist with world record number 91.