Still doing the splits at 77 - Littlehampton man on staying as supple as a 25-year-old

A 77-year-old gymnast who can still do the splits wants to help others defy the sands of time.

Monday, 6th August 2018, 2:21 pm
Updated Sunday, 2nd September 2018, 2:53 am
Ted performing the splits

Born in Barbados, East Preston’s Ted Pollard began training at seven years old under the guidance of his brother Norman, a weightlifting coach.

Since then he has carved out a remarkably varied career as a martial artist, Bruce Lee impersonator, bodybuilder, performing gymnast, European Tour golf trainer and now, he hopes, an author.

His book, Ultimate Fitness Techniques, shares the secrets of his success and longevity through the exercises that can leave you supple and flexible well into your 70s.

Ted performing the splits

“I want people to understand that once you reach a certain age, it’s not the end of the line,” said Ted, who has two daughters.

“I’m doing workouts now that I was doing when I was 25, but I still try to push myself further.”

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Ted doing the splits, ably assisted by Lucy Waller

The effectiveness of Ted’s methods are clear for all to see. He admits to ‘not being shy’ and has no qualms about dropping into the splits at a moment’s notice, even in the middle of a canteen.

Although he describes himself as a ‘gymnast and a performer’, in 1967 Ted competed alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Mr Universe competition – Arnie went on to win the amateur crown that year before skyrocketing to superstardom.

Ted performing an age-defying vertical split

Ted pinpoints that as the time he gave up on bodybuilding, concerned that his natural techniques would never bring him success. He said: “I stood no chance against the ‘chemical builders’, so that’s when I walked away from it all.”

Many previous winners of Mr Universe, including Arnie himself, have admitted to using steroids to boost their performances, but Ted said he has always been clean.“I’ve never drank, smoked or taken drugs in my life,” he said.

“You see the bodybuilders now who have not aged well – look at Arnie and Jean-Claude Van Damme. They are doing it wrong. Bodybuilders are not fit.”

He said his techniques can be applied across all walks of life and offered his services to football coaches to help reduce the number of injuries.

“It is about having a solid foundation based on movement and flexibility,” he said.

“Without flexibility, it’s like building a house on quicksand – it doesn’t last. There are no foundations.

“I wake up and I have no pain, I don’t take any medication, I never have injuries and I exercise every day. That’s what keeps me motivated.”

The next step for Ted is to find an agent for the book and promote his message through his Instagram page, including more videos of his physical feats, at @tedpollardfit, and his website