Who is Franco Columbu?
Franco Columbu was an Italian actor, author, former champion bodybuilder, powerlifter, amateur boxer, doctor of chiropractic (Cleveland Chiropractic College in Los Angeles) and World Strongest Man Competition contestant.
Columbu was born in Sardinia, Italy on August 7, 1941.
He grew up in the primitive inland mountain region of Sardinia, Italy. As a young shepherd and farmer in Ollalai, he learned the high value of a strong work ethic.
He started his athletic career as a boxer and attained worldwide success as a bodybuilder and powerlifter.
In 1977, he took fifth place in the inaugural World Strongest Man Competition, although his competitors outweighed him by over 100 pounds.
Pound for pound, he was among the strongest men and most influential bodybuilders of all time. Because of his incredible strength, his fans nicknamed Dr. Franco Columbu ‘The Sardinia Strongman.'
Franco won the title of Mr. Olympia in 1976 and 1981.
Francesco Maria Columbu passed away on August 30, 2019, at the age of 78. His legacy as the skinny boy of Sardinia who became a worldwide phenomenon will continue to inspire millions.
Franco Columbu Deadlift Records & More
Franco’s deadlift can inspire you to work harder. He knew the powerful benefits of deadlifts and became a world-class powerlifter, with his world record of a 750 Lbs / 340.2 kg deadlift. Watch Franco deadlift 700 pounds for three reps in this 1972 video:
In some training sessions, he lifted over 780 Lbs / 353.8 kg. For more details on his training, see these five powerful Franco Columbu workout tips you can use today.
The Refrigerator Race
In the first World’s Strongest Man Competition held in 1977, Franco led his other competitors in the “refrigerator race.” This race required the contestants to race downhill while carrying a full-sized fridge on their back.
He stumbled and dislocated his leg 3.3 seconds into the race with the refrigerator strapped on his back. He sued the event planners and received $1 million in compensation for his horrifying injury, which required many years to recover.
Watch Franco Columbu in the 1977 Refrigerator Race and what happened on national television:
In April 1979, the Guinness book of world records recorded Franco as having the best lung power in the world. In front of a live audience, he inflated a hot water bottle until it burst in just 55 seconds.
Watch Franco apply 600 pounds of pressure and explode a hot water bottle:
Franco Columbu Height and Weight
How tall is Franco? Believe it or not, he is only 5 feet 5 inches, which is 164 centimeters in height. In fact, what is most remarkable about his powerlifting records is his height.
At the height of 5 ft 5 inches (164 cm) Franco weighed 185 pounds (83.9 kg), he could deadlift 780 pounds. Columbu was much shorter than his bodybuilding competitors, but that did not prevent him from achieving widespread success.
His Powerlifting Titles
Titles Won in Powerlifting:
Champion of Italy, Germany, and Europe
Franco Columbu Powerlifting World Records:
Bench Press 525 lbs.
Squat 655 lbs.
And the Franco Columbu Deadlift of 750 pounds.
Franco’s Workout Routine
- 1. Wide-grip chins: five sets of 10 reps
- 2. Seated cable rows: 4 sets of 8 reps
- 3. T-bar rows: 4 sets of 8 reps
- 4. Barbell rows: 4 sets of 8 reps
- 5. Deadlifts: 4 sets of 6-10 reps
- Source Credit: How Franco Trained His Back
“Train each body part twice a week, as hard and relentless as possible each time. Every second week, I’d deadlift after my leg routine. My deadlift workout was:
- 300 pounds for five deadlifts
- 400 pounds for five reps
- 500 pounds for five deadlift reps
- 600 pounds for two or three reps
- 650 pounds for one deadlift rep and
- 700 pounds for one rep
In the Movie “The Terminator”
Franco appeared as the Future Terminator in the original movie, The Terminator. In his scene, he infiltrates a resistance bunker and kills numerous resistance fighters, civilians, and even the bunker’s guard dogs. – Source credit: wikia.com. Columbu and Schwarzenegger are legendary training partners who were encouraged to come to America by Joe Weider, the ‘Father of Bodybuilding.'
He also appeared in other films such as Pumping Iron, Conan the Barbarian, Last Action Hero, and Red Sonja.
Watch Franco Columbu deadlift a car in the film Pumping Iron:
If you are under 200 pounds, you too can build a stronger deadlift. With the right training program and nutrition, you can break the 200-pound deadlift threshold and more. And even if you are only 5 foot 5 inches or less, you can still become a major international star.
You have to fuel your body with good food and progressive strength training. If you need to lose weight before beginning your fitness journey, you can use these five simple steps to lose 20 pounds in 3 months. Once you are ready to deadlift, try out this deadlift workout routine and 12-week program.
No matter where you start, the Franco Columbu deadlift and more of his great success will motivate you to accomplish your dreams.
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Next, read about Lamar Gant's inspiring powerlifting achievements despite having scoliosis of the spine.