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The Benefits of Powerlifting for Women

The Benefits of Powerlifting for Women

Ask anyone woman who’s into powerlifting – this stuff ain’t just for men and the the benefits of powerlifting for women are so terrific, I’m sure most would start giving it a go if they knew.

Powerlifting is a strength sport that involves lifting heavy weights in three disciplines: the squat, the bench press, and the deadlift. You might hear people talk about “the big three lifts” – well, that’s them!

These lifts are designed to test men and women’s overall strength and provide a comprehensive workout for the entire body. Let’s look at all of them:

The Powerlifting Squat

The squat is a full-body exercise that focuses on the legs, hips, and glutes. It is a crucial exercise for building lower body strength and is considered the foundation of powerlifting.

Women doing squats with barbell at the gym

The Powerlifting Bench Press

The bench press is an upper-body exercise that focuses on the chest, triceps, and shoulders. It is performed by lying flat on a bench with a barbell in hand and pushing the weight up until the arms are fully extended.

The bench press is effective for building upper body strength and is considered one of the most important lifts in powerlifting.

Bulk Nutrients Ambassador Hani Watson bench press

The Powerlifting Deadlift

The deadlift, a very famous exercise you probably see a lot on your social media feed, is a full-body exercise that focuses on the back, legs, and hips. It is a crucial exercise for building overall body strength and is considered the cornerstone of powerlifting.

The benefits of deadlifts for females include increased strength and muscle mass, improved bone density, better mental health, and increased confidence and self-esteem.

Ok, so how do women get started? And how does all this aforementioned magic happen? Easy! In this blog, I’ll tell you everything you need to know, whilst clearing away any misconceptions of women’s powerlifting you may have, so you can get brilliant results. Let’s go!

Ellie performing a dead lift in Competition

Unleashing the Benefits of Powerlifting for Women

Why is female powerlifting becoming so popular? Easy. It’s because of the five benefits outlined below:

1. Increased Strength and Muscle Mass

One of the most obvious benefits of powerlifting is increased strength and muscle mass. The heavy lifting in those “big 3 lifts” means that over time, women who participate in powerlifting experience a significant increase in strength and muscle mass, providing a foundation for improved physical performance and overall health.

Bigger glutes? Check. Stronger and more defined legs? Check! Powerlifting will help with all of these things.

2. Improved Bone Density

Powerlifting can also help women improve bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and other age-related conditions.

This is because weight-bearing exercises like the squat, bench press, and deadlift put stress on the bones, encouraging you to grow stronger.

Regular participation in powerlifting can help you maintain healthy bones throughout your life, reducing the risk of fractures and other related injuries.

3. Better Mental Health

We’re learning so much more about the importance of mental health, and luckily, powerlifting helps with that, too. It provides a sense of accomplishment and empowerment, as you work to achieve your strength goals and push the limits of your physical abilities.

Additionally, powerlifting can be a great way to relieve stress and improve mood, helping you feel more relaxed and confident in your daily life.

4. Increased Confidence and Self-Esteem

Finally, powerlifting can help you build confidence and improve your self-esteem. Nothing makes me feel better than finishing a workout or a competition, and riding that high for as long as possible!

You see the results of your hard work and dedication, inspiring feelings of pride and accomplishment. And as you build more strength and muscle mass, you’ll also become more confident in your physical abilities, giving you a newfound sense of pride and empowerment.

But perhaps one of the most important benefits is the sense of community.

5. Being part of a special community

In powerlifting, you become part of a community and the people that you will get to train and compete with are so diverse. Some amazing coaches and clubs bring expertise and structure to your training, there’s even the opportunity to compete on the national and international stage! What I’m saying is, the benefits of strength training are clear, but the sport of powerlifting offers so much more than that.

There are countless unquantifiable benefits of powerlifting. You’ll never forget the first time you walk onto the platform and get under the bar to show the culmination of months of hard work.

Then comes the pride with every successful lift, and the crowd cheering you on, no matter how much weight is on the bar. These benefits carry over into the gym too. You’ll feel a renewed sense of confidence when you walk onto the gym floor and you’ll be driven to continue to improve your strength.

So many more positives will come from pushing yourself, mentally and physically, to see what you can achieve in powerlifting!

Bridget Freeman Fitness Model and Power Lifter

Getting started with powerlifting

Here are the four things to consider when starting your powerlifting journey…

1. Finding a Gym or Coach

The first step in getting started with powerlifting is finding a gym or coach.

A gym can provide the equipment and facilities you need to train, and a coach can help guide you through your training program and provide tips and advice to help you achieve your goals.

You can search online for coaches that specialize in powerlifting, or ask friends or family members for recommendations. If you’ve seen someone on your social media feed who is smashing it or heard some good stories from friends, maybe enquire as to who is coaching them.

Consider visiting several gyms and talking to a few coaches before making a decision. You want to make sure you vibe with the person, and the gym you chose has plenty of powerlifting facilities.

2. Building a Training Program

Once you've found a gym or coach, the next step? Build a training program!

A well-designed training program should include a variety of exercises that target different muscle groups, as well as adequate rest and recovery time. Your program should also include the “big 3 lifts” powerlifting lifts we spoke about: the squat, bench press, and deadlift.

A good coach will help you design a program that is tailored to your goals and fitness level.

3. Setting Realistic Goals

Setting realistic goals is an important part of any training program, and powerlifting is no exception. You can’t just walk in and lift what everyone else around you is lifting – an injury is very likely to occur!

Your goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Start with smaller goals and work your way up, focusing on gradual progress rather than overnight success.

Remember, powerlifting is a long-term journey, and it's important to take your time and progress at a pace that feels comfortable for you.

4. Safety and Injury Prevention

You know all about “safety first”, and it especially applies to powerlifting. Especially if you’re just getting started. Safety and injury prevention must be a top priority when getting started with powerlifting.

Proper form and technique are essential for avoiding injury, and your coach can help you refine your technique as you progress. You should also focus on warming up before each workout and stretching after each workout to prevent injury and promote flexibility.

Wearing appropriate gear, such as a weightlifting belt and wrist wraps, can also help prevent injury and promote proper form.

Overcoming Stereotypes and Challenges for Women in Powerlifting

Unfortunately, there are still stereotypes and challenges we women face when it comes to getting into powerlifting.

Despite the growing popularity of the sport, many people still hold misconceptions about powerlifting for women, which can make it difficult for us to fully thrive.

But I believe we can overcome them.

Common Misconceptions about Powerlifting for Women

The most common is that we’re not strong enough to lift heavy weights, or that powerlifting is a sport for men only. These misconceptions can be discouraging.

However, the truth is that women are just as capable as men when it comes to powerlifting, and with proper training and nutrition, they can make incredible progress in the sport.

Women are just as capable as men when it comes to powerlifting

Strategies for Dealing with Discrimination or Bias

If you're a woman who is interested in powerlifting, it's important to have a strategy for dealing with discrimination or bias.

Here are a few strategies you can use:

  • Surround yourself with a supportive community (as I mentioned above): Join a powerlifting club or find a group of like-minded women who are interested in the sport. Surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people can help you overcome stereotypes and feel more confident in your abilities.
  • Focus on your own progress: Don't let other people's opinions or beliefs about powerlifting for women get in the way of your own progress. And forget comparisons on social media, use it to motivate you only, or log off entirely! Focus on your own goals and training, and let your results speak for themselves.
  • Educate others: If you encounter someone who holds misconceptions about powerlifting women, take the time to educate them about the sport. Share your own experiences and progress, and help others see the benefits of female powerlifting.
  • Speak up: If you experience discrimination or bias in the sport, don't be afraid to speak up. You have a right to participate in the sport without experiencing negative treatment, and speaking up can help promote change and encourage others to support women’s powerlifting!
Women happy with gym achievement

Wrapping up

So, these are the benefits of powerlifting for women, and my hope is that it motivates you to get started! We’ve learned about the “big 3 lifts”, the squat, the bench press, and the deadlift, which focus on testing overall strength and giving you a comprehensive workout for your whole body.

The benefits of powerlifting include increased strength and muscle mass, improved bone density, better mental health, increased confidence and self-esteem, and being part of a supportive community.

Taking part in women’s powerlifting will provide a sense of accomplishment, empowerment, stress relief, and renewed confidence in physical abilities. Plus, you’ll likely look a whole lot better in your dresses, too!

Bulk Nutrients Ambassador Hani Watson

Hani Watson

Hani Watson's a competitive powerlifter who won bronze while representing Australia at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

More about Hani Watson
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