It would be safe to say that male dominated sports are more widely recognized. And the attributes associated with sport, such as strength and speed, are more commonly qualities one would use to describe a male. In the beginnings of sport, not only were women not allowed to participate, they were not even welcome to be part of the audience. Times are changing, however, and more women are ‘stepping up to the plate’, and showing that activities like boxing, tennis, wrestling, and weightlifting are no longer just a man’s game.
Powerlifting specifically is a sport where womens’ participation has increased in recent years. These athletes push their body to the limits lifting weights that most people wouldn’t even consider lifting in their lifetime. Not only do they overcome physical challenges but the mental barriers that come with it. And all of these women started somewhere.
Every female powerlifter has been that woman in the gym who struggled with learning the difference between a squat and a deadlift. She likely started with those five to ten lbs pink dumbbells in the ladies only section next to the treadmills and stretching mats. She was probably nervous about looking foolish because she did not have a clue what to do with any of the machines. Despite all of this, she did learn, she did get better, and even with everyone telling her that weight training would make her bulky and man-like, she continued to challenge herself and break the mold of female athletics.
Women are strong. Physically and mentally. They can overcome great obstacles if they want to. Lifting weights won’t make their bodies masculine. Lifting weights will increase their lean muscle, decrease adipose (fat) tissue, increase bone density and make women less prone to osteoporosis as they age, decrease the chances of developing heart disease and diabetes, reduces risk of injury, and help them and think and sleep better! To put it simply, lifting weights makes you look and feel better! Who doesn’t want that?
So next time you venture into the gym, walk past your favorite elliptical and give those weights a try. If you are unsure of yourself, talk to someone about working with a trainer or taking a class that incorporates weights. Many gyms have programs in place so that a professional can educate you. Who knows, maybe you will be the next female to get on the platform at a powerlifting competition and show the world just how strong a woman is!