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At 37, James Harrison is weightlifting legend in Steelers headquarters

PITTSBURGH -- James Harrison could sleep with a curl bar and it would surprise no one. the Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker lifts an obscene amount of weight, which he documents on social media (either a teammate or a trainer holds the camera).

But Harrison hasn't reduced the workload with age. He's going bigger, heavier.

More pounds equals more years.

The increased lifting workload has helped Harrison, 37, prolong a career that has five new sacks and two forced fumbles in 2015 despite splitting outside linebacker reps with Arthur Moats, Jarvis Jones and Bud Dupree.

"I've probably ramped up the (heavier weights) the last six or seven years," Harrison said. "It makes it easier to recover from anything you have, as far as soft tissue injury. Just continued maintenance of the body."

That maintenance includes "painful as hell" dry needle therapy. Harrison has several methods for staying in the league, and the Steelers help him with that by providing veteran off days on Wednesdays.

But the 405-pound bench press, close grip, sets of four? Linebacker Arthur Moats laughs when asked if he's touching that. He works out with Harrison, but not like that. And Moats is listed at 246, four pounds heavier than Harrison.

This is how Harrison trains "all the time," said Moats, who agrees the heavy lifting has added years to Harrison's career because his body is constantly replenishing itself.

"From a strength standpoint, he's able to take on double teams and tackles," Moats said. "He's going to handle those guys like little kids. I try to work out with him just so I can improve my strength."

This is not for show -- Harrison is without question the team's strongest lifter. "It's clear," linebacker Anthony Chickillo said.

Lifting doesn't translate to the field all the time. When asked about his performance this year, Harrison assessed it as, "eh, fine."

"Everything could always be better or always be worth," he said. "Take what you've got, be happy with the blessings you've been given and go from there."

Harrison has a plate limit. He's not going to try benching 700 pounds. He's got to know ahead of time that he can lift the bar at least once.

And he's no bodybuilder. That's not his post-playing future. He can only max out his body so far.

"There are steroids in that," he said of bodybuiling. "Not willing to sacrifice my body in that way."