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Close up of a man about to deadlift.

Brute Strength...Not JUST For Brutes! 


I spoke with a few of our staff and friends around our Ys about Powerlifting so that you can hear it from people just like you! Elaine started twenty-three years ago at age SIXTY after a trainer challenged her to try it. She thought Powerlifting was just something the big guys did but he gave her the compassion and toughness she needed to lift and compete. Only around one third of the meet participants were women. 


Elaine says, “Powerlifting is exciting and something that I do very well... I don’t know if I should say this...but I have never gotten 2nd place 😉 The group of people I started with have become my family. They had always been helpful with anything I needed; they didn't treat me like I was "too old.” It’s like working at the Y, we become more than just friends but people you can rely on. 

She said, “It just took one person to push me past my limits. To encourage me and tell me that I could do it.” 


Adam, now nineteen, started lifting at age fifteen to gain weight because he was SKINNY and lacked confidence. Of course, like most freshmen in high school, he didn’t think about what he ate or his sleeping habits. After hitting the Y and strength training for a year, he discovered Powerlifting at age sixteen and learned very quickly that he needed to eat and sleep a lot more so that his body could recover. When I asked him what he thought he would weigh if he hadn’t started lifting, he believed he’d be at least thirty pounds lighter, still skinny and struggling with self-confidence. Adam says, “I never would have known how good I could feel if I hadn’t started taking better care of myself so that I could perform better in the gym. I had no idea I was tired all the time because I wasn’t eating healthily or sleeping enough.” 


I had considered asking a few more of our Y friends why they lift heavy things but instead I’ll just ask you to trust me that I can easily fill in the gap of stories between the ages of nineteen and eighty-three. Powerlifting is a great sport for those who want to lose body fat, build muscle and gain strength. Powerlifters try to lift as much weight as possible, to build up strength over time. It is a strength sport that consists of three attempts at maximal weight on three lifts: squat, bench press, and deadlift. These lifts should be coached by a certified professional to ensure proper form for safety.  


Powerlifting will also: 

  • Increase bone health stronger muscles equal stronger bones 
  • Build confidence it takes a lot of guts to get the glory 
  • Increase body fat loss muscle = higher metabolism for ALL age groups 
  • Mental toughness 
  • Injury prevention  
  • Shapes your body cardio burns calories, it does not give you guns or glutes 
  • Improved mental state helps fight depression  


Not to be confused with body building (I just want big muscles like Arnold), Powerlifting (maximal strength) is a wonderful sport that can help you in many ways. My favorite thing about Powerlifting is that it makes me feel good about my body on days that I struggle with poor body image. Don’t let fear hold you back, find a coach and see if it’s what you’ve been missing!


Amber C., Buena Vista YMCA Express Senior Program Director

Category: Health & Wellness

Image of YMCA Trainer

Meet Amber...

I got certified to become a personal trainer in 2014 after struggling with my weight for over a decade. I had developed a passion for helping others take charge of their health and knew the Y is where is wanted to do that. I've been training at the Armbrust YMCA ever since! Over the years I have added more certifications to my tool bag including a second PT certification, Small Group Fitness, Fitness Nutrition, and some of my favorite YMCA programs including Y Weight Loss, and LIVESTRONG at the YMCA. As a Health and Wellness Director I am looking forward to many more years of cultivating health and physical activity in our community! 

To connect with Amber please email: