California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

    Act like a lady, lift like a man

    “Weightlifting is for guys.”

    “I’m not strong enough.”

    “It’s too intimidating – I wouldn’t know what to do.”

    These phrases all describe a fear of something new, unfamiliar and are all too often said by women who are hesitant to get into weightlifting. Herein lies the problem: Women want to try weightlifting, but seem to think they can’t.

    One common misconception is that weightlifting is only meant for athletes and men. In reality, weightlifting might actually be more empowering for someone who isn’t an athlete and who isn’t comfortable around barbells. I think all women can benefit greatly from lifting heavy weights and that it could potentially make them more confident in all aspects of their lives.

    One prevailing fear is not being strong enough to lift weights. The word “strong” is a subjective one – ask any weightlifter, and they won’t be able to pinpoint the day they finally became strong. Weightlifting isn’t about being strong, it’s about getting stronger.

    Barbells have no prerequisites. By going in and trying something you’re scared of, you are already making a powerful move. For me, each and every time I lift more than I could before, I am strong. I was never good at sports and I grew up believing that athleticism wasn’t for me.

    That changed when I began lifting. The first time I did a deadlift, I felt strong – not because I was lifting a particularly heavy weight, but because I had crossed the threshold into a world where I previously thought I didn’t belong.

    There are many reasons why women should do weightlifting other than the sense of empowerment that comes with proving yourself in the gym. Some of these include improvement in overall health, increased function in daily activities, improved functioning of heart and lungs and a decreased chance of osteoporosis. The last one applies to women in particular, as we are more likely to have osteoporosis in our adult lives.

    Lauren Rasmussen, strength and conditioning coach at Cal Lutheran, said “by loading our bones with weight we are actually strengthening them and creating better bone density, therefore reducing the risk of osteoporosis.”

    Often, a lack of knowledge seems to be the thing standing between women and the weight section of the gym.

    “I’m worried that I won’t know what to do and that other people will stare at me because I’m doing it wrong,” Cal Lutheran junior Alexa Hobelman said. “It’s really intimidating.”

    She is not alone. I have heard variations of this statement countless times, and I have definitely thought it myself. The less you know about something, the scarier it seems.

    Increasingly, there are online resources specifically targeted at women who want to weightlift. One good example is Girls Gone Strong, a website dedicated to help educate women about strength training and its benefits. Many of their articles deal with issues specific to women and the needs and worries they might have. If you’re completely new to weightlifting, GGS and sites like it might be good places to start.

    Rasmussen said a few of the most important things women can do are asking for help, making a plan and setting a goal.

    “If you go into the gym without an idea of what you are going to do, there is a great chance that you are going to walk around aimlessly,” Rasmussen said. “Take the time to plan out what you are going to do, or at least try.”

    Stepping out of your comfort zone will inevitably be uncomfortable. It will involve pushing yourself and at times it will be hard. This is when it’s most important to stay true to the commitments you made to yourself when you started.

    “Working out should not be easy. If it was easy, you wouldn’t need to do it,” Rasmussen said. “Do not be afraid of the challenge and actually give yourself a chance to see the results.”

    If it turns out you don’t like lifting weights, that’s fine. There is no rule that says everyone has to, but I do think we should all consistently challenge ourselves and attempt to grow as human beings.

    If you don’t yet know what you like or what you might be good at, find something scary and just go for it. You might be surprised by your own strength.

    Ellinor Rundhovde
    Guest Writer
    Published December 9th, 2015