Ross Edgley explains how strength and stamina can co-exist in modern day training. It is true, or is it just gym folklore?
‘One of the biggest myths is that if you powerlift you’re going to get bulky and that’s really not the case.’
For those of you that don’t know much about powerlifting, it is a sport focused on strength.
You’re put into a weight class and attend what in the world of powerlifting is known as a ‘meet’ where your one rep max is put to the test on the big three: the squat, the bench press and the deadlift.
The main focus of powerlifting is simple. It’s not about getting abs, it’s not about growing the booty, it’s about getting strong. Very, VERY strong.
Previously a sport dominated by men, more and more women are chalking up and taking on the challenge. And Serena is one of them.
Inspired by her University society, Warwick Barbell, Serena took up powerlifting two years ago and has since gone on to compete in her University Varsity and the annual University Championships.
‘It started with a course at the gym that taught me how to lift. I just wanted to lift heavy and be strong. I fell in love with powerlifting from the get-go… The culture is quite different to what I have always been exposed to. My Mum had a lot of questions, but now her mindset is changing. There is a lot of beauty in strength.’
So, apart from being able to carry all the shopping in just one trip, what is the appeal with joining the powerlifting community and getting super strong?
‘It is a really positive environment. When I was younger, I would always look at myself and want to be skinnier or taller. I looked at other girls and thought that’s what I want to look like, why can’t I look like that? Now everyone is talking about eating more and getting stronger…’
‘It is a lot less focused on aesthetics because that’s not really important when it comes to powerlifting. It is more about learning discipline and consistency and doing something for yourself and no one else.’
‘Powerlifting makes me feel so sexy.’
Just as with any sport, powerlifting is not without its hurdles and getting over them takes a lot of mental as well as physical strength.
‘Training is not always going to go really well.’ Serena told us.
‘My advice for anyone starting out would be don’t get disheartened when you hit a setback. When I started, I was worried I wasn’t progressing fast enough. I would always have to remind myself to celebrate the little victories, that’s the most important thing.’
Fancy giving powerlifting a go? Serena has some advice for beginners.
‘Don’t be afraid to approach people and ask for help. When I first started, I remember looking around the gym and just thinking how strong everyone was, and I had no idea what I was doing. I swear, no one is going to judge you for asking.’
Last but not least, I guess there really is only question: Can girls powerlift?
Huge thank to Serena and Warwick Barbell.