Women seem to have this feeling like they’re going to become muscle bound freaks of nature if they start lifting weights. Fortunately, nothing can be further from the truth. A regular weightlifting program does not turn you into some extraordinarily macho version of your female self. In fact, even powerlifting won’t have this result. If you’re interested in getting such a result, it would typically require supplementation with drugs and hormones, as well as a tremendous dedication to your nutrition and diet, not to mention hours and hours spent at the gym on a very regimented program.
Phew! You can all breathe a sigh of relief. Now that we have released the stigma, we can get on with the important stuff, like what some of the benefits of powerlifting are. As an amateur powerlifter, I thought it best to compile a list: 5 Benefits of Powerlifting for Women.
1. You get to lift really heavy stuff, and look damn good doing it!
If you’re like me, you know that you have always wanted more out of the regular gym routine. I’m not a ‘cardio bunny’, nor am I especially athletic, but when I found powerlifting, boy did I ever light up. I entered a world where I could not only lift really heavy things – but I suddenly became a real badass at the gym! I was bullied in school and never fit in or was good at athletics in school, so finding powerlifting in my 30s really gave me something to be passionate about. I was suddenly learning things I never in my wildest dreams thought I could ever do, and I was doing them well. This made me feel strong, capable, and invoked a sense of freedom in my fitness routine.
2. You’re not just acquiring physical strength, but are constantly pushing your mental boundaries
Powerlifting is a sport where you really have to learn how to master your mind. If you deadlift, squat, or bench press a weight that you have never done before – it can be really intimidating. Especially when you first start off. Now the kicker here is that you can really psyche yourself out, especially if you don’t have control over your thoughts. You can look at that new weight you’re about to lift and suddenly feel despair come over your body… OR you can choose to come at it from a totally different angle and own the weight. Think of it like trying to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. When I powerlift, I am constantly doing this – every single time. I have to quiet my mind, focus my intention, calm my breath, and own the weight on that bar and make it bend under my whim.
3. You build muscle and lean up – getting rid of that ‘skinny fat’ and build a flattering shape
If you’re looking to build muscle and become a goddess version of yourself – LIFT. Weightlifting burns more calories than a regular cardio routine, and do so for hours after you have finished your workout! I have never owned my large legs and I always shied away from exposing them as much in public. I never understood why I couldn’t be one of those women that had the tall lean and lanky set of legs that looked good in heels in those commercials I always saw on TV. I thought I was cursed with a shape that had overly large legs. Little did I know, my legs were my best accessories! I am now well on my way to building some serious Quadzilla legs and I am proud! Thick, curvy thighs and pronounced hamstrings and calves are a girl’s best friend! Every female body is different, but if you are like me and want to build some muscle in your thighs, join the lifting club! I not only sculpted my legs but also found solace in squats and deadlifts that worked out my glutes (ie. buttocks) to gain an awesome and rounder shape.
4. Become stronger and more capable in your daily life
Need to open a jar when you’re cooking? Hello grip strength gains from powerlifting! Working out in the yard? Welcome the new gains you have from squats and deadlifts when you’re raking all those leaves and hauling large bins around. Carrying your young children and/or babies in your arms? Join the club that has less injuries with a solidly built back and upper arms that will have all the boys in the yard smiling.
Powerlifting is a GREAT way to build functional strength for your daily life, while giving you the ability to get a powerful and stimulating workout done in less time than you think, with benefits that will having you feeling good about yourself.
5. You learn a few things about yourself – including how to fail
As with any sport, powerlifting has its challenges. You have to learn patience, trust the process, and definitely learn proper form (no shortcuts!). If you go too fast or don’t learn from trusted fitness professionals, you can injure yourself and cause unnecessary time away from the gym while you heal. However the benefits really outweigh the challenges in my opinion.
I had a ton of rehabilitation I had to do during my journey, before I could even pick up or hold the bar (without any weights on it!). You need to learn how to trust yourself and develop a deep bond with your body. It’s important to become your own best friend and learn how to fail, over and over again. It’s important! You WILL fail on a lift. It’s undoubtedly going to happen. But what matters, is what you do after you fail. It’s like life. Are you going to let that moment define you, and quit? Or are you going to brush it off, learn what you can do for next time, rest and train, and try again? It’s up to you… but if you’re life me, you will have found the strength you need to face life’s daily challenges and winning moments, in the gym. The iron never lies.
by Agata Klein, Guest Blogger
As founder of Ivanco Fitness, my promise is to ensure your journey in fitness is unlocked and uplifted. It was the summer of 2012 and I was burnt out - I had spent over 10,000 hours personally training clients through rehabilitation to health, and from health to strength. Young and old and in between, I worked with these individuals to help them create their best version of themselves. While this brought me much joy, I was stressed, tired, and knew I was limited to only a small group of people I could help in this way. I had worked with other coaches along the way, and realized it was time to build a team and create a system that would allow talented coaches to create meaningful connections with those who seek to uplift their lives through physical training. Having brought the right people on board, Ivanco now works as a team of trainers, kinesiologists, holistic nutritionists and administrative staff to provide a more streamlined and versatile experience than an independent trainer could offer. Yours in health, Ivan.