For years, the scene at the gym has been the same: Men hit the big weight racks while women gravitated toward cardio machines and light weights. The female population was sold this magical idea of “toning” and warned against getting bulky.
In recent years there has been a shift away from this concept of light weights and cardio workouts. Women have been making their way to the weight section of the gym. They are leaving behind the myths about the effects of heavy lifting on women’s bodies and embracing the concept that women can be fierce, strong, and powerful. That is why many women have begun powerlifting.
What is Powerlifting?
Powerlifting is a form of weight training that consists of three main lifts: the bench press, squats, and the deadlift. Powerlifting requires a combination of technique and brute strength to move the weight. The core purpose of powerlifting is to test and build your strength and power.
The bench press is one of the most commonly recognized powerlifting movements. If you have watched any movies where all the football players are hanging out in the gym, chances are you’ve seen someone bench. In a bench press, you lay on your back on the bench, hold the barbell over your chest, lower it slowly to your chest, then propel it upward using your arms, back, and even your legs to move the weight.
Squats are also a universally recognized powerlifting move that you’ve probably used variations of in the past for your workouts. In powerlifting, squatting consists of putting a barbell on your back, squatting down, and forcing your way back up against the weight. Squats are a full body exercise. To effectively squat, you must use your quadriceps, your glutes, your hamstrings, and your core.
The deadlift is named as such because you are moving a dead weight with no starting momentum. The movement requires you to sink into an almost sitting position, hold on to the bar, and use your legs to push upward rather than using your arms to pull. When you deadlift, you use your grip strength in your hands, your quadriceps, hamstrings, hip muscles, and core.
Benefits of Powerlifting
Before you learn how to powerlift, you might want to know why you should start powerlifting. Lifting heavy weights has numerous benefits, including:
- Reduced body fat percentage. You don’t need cardio to burn fat, though cardio has numerous health benefits of its own. Lifting weights is a form of resistance training, which burns body fat and builds muscle, altering your body composition.
- Burn more calories while resting. Most data shows that minute for minute, cardio will burn more calories. However, cardio doesn’t do much for your muscle growth. Calories are responsible for providing energy to your body. Maintaining muscle requires more calories than maintaining fat. That means when you build muscle, your body uses more calories just to wake up and exist.
- Better bone density. Osteoporosis is a very real health concern for aging women. Resistance training, such as powerlifting, can help maintain and improve bone density.
- Physical strength. As your muscles grow, you get stronger. You’ll be able to do more, push harder, and get better at physically demanding tasks.
- The changes to your body will inevitably result in a change in your mental health. Don’t be surprised if the ability to lift heavy things makes you feel powerful and amazing.
If you’re new to lifting heavy weights, it can be very intimidating to cross the gym floor and enter that space. It can be especially difficult if you are a woman entering a male-dominated area. So what’s the best way to start powerlifting if this is something you would like to do? Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Work with a trainer or a powerlifting coach.
- Get the right equipment. Flat-soled shoes, wrist wraps, and a belt are a few staples for powerlifting. Inzer is a great source for this equipment. If you’re building a home gym, you will need a squat rack, bench, barbells, and weights. Atomicmass Strength Equipment can help you get started.
- Find a support system. Online friends with similar interests or local females who can attend gym sessions with you can be a source of motivation, inspiration, and accountability.
Go Forth and Lift!
There is a beast in every woman, and it stirs when you put a barbell in her hands. Go now and give powerlifting a try. You may find a new passion and discover strength you never knew you possessed. If you don’t fall in love with the sport, you can always move onto something else. Honestly though, you’re probably going to love it!