Deloris Aldridge, 53 years old, has been doing some kind of exercise -- running, cycling, calisthenics -- her "entire adult life." Although she had always been "fascinated by muscle," it wasn't until four years ago that she got serious.

"I was using the machines at Holiday Spa but not getting any success," says the 5-foot-1, 114-pound social service representative with the D.C. government. "I did the regular exercises for women, but I used to listen to the men training." Aldridge started working out seriously, and in 1982, when Boy's Club No. 14 on Capitol Hill sponsored a power lifting competition, Aldridge came in second among women in her weight class.

"I just had the feeling I could do it," she says. "I was fairly strong before . . . I've been lucky. I have a bad knee, but if I wrap it, it's okay. My back bothers me, but that's temporary."

At the Potomac Open in Woodbridge, Va., last November, she was second in her weight class and third in her age group, bench pressing 110 pounds, dead lifting 225 and squatting 155.

Aldridge is diligent about her diet -- low fat, high carbohydrate and moderate protein. A recent checkup indicated that she had been eating too much protein, so she cut back. She rarely drinks alcohol. Before she started working out, she weighed 130 pounds, and "people would ask me if I'm pregnant."

What she really wants now is a training partner.

Aldridge, a widow, has four grown children, and they won't work out with her.

"They say I work them too hard," she says. "I went running with my son and I left him three blocks back. I did a weight workout with my other son and he was anxious to get off the floor.

"Nobody wants to work hard enough."