The Feminine Urge to Lift Weight
As a young strength coach I had assumed my athletic background would lead me to all the clients, and athletes that I could get my hands on. I played football most of my life, all the way through college, and then a brief stint playing professional arena football. It would only make sense that I end up as a coach who primarily works with young football players trying to make themselves better.
Well, when you’re just getting started out, you’re certainly in no place to say no to anyone who’s looking to get some help. And lo and behold, one of the first players that walks in my door isn’t a football player at all. It’s a 6 ft tall, 140 lb, sophomore volleyball player with a shoulder that’s giving her trouble. I think to myself, “here goes nothing”. We knew everything underneath the sun to measure and assess. Functional movement screen, collect data surrounding her strength, speed, and ability to change direction. I threw the kitchen sink at her because, hey, this is my first client all on my own and I knew I needed to get it right.
Fast forward a year, this young lady turns into an all state player. Fast forward two years, she gets offered a massive scholarship to play volleyball in college at a nearby university. More importantly, she’s put on 25 lb of muscle, jumps even higher and farther than she ever had, and her volleyball IQ continued to grow as she did. Suddenly, I’m the volleyball guru when it comes to strength conditioning. I have a team of players, several who come in and out on their own, and then somehow plenty of softball players follow suit and join my ranks. And then a couple of stud female basketball players.
And you know what the secret was? Strength. Layering on a massive amount of strength. Now when I say massive I mean that in relative terms. But by enhancing each and every girl’s basal strength levels, they were able to run faster, jump higher, and stay healthy. That last one in my opinion is a game changer.
Now I know what you’re thinking, strength might be a pretty obvious low hanging fruit. But you would be astonished how many young women have been discouraged or under trained in this department. Pop culture and social media can sometimes demonize a tool that would otherwise make young women healthy and robust. There’s plenty of talk on the internet of what the ideal body is and how it’s supposed to look, and most women simply fear putting on weight, let alone adding muscle mass.
But the way I see it, strength is a tool for empowerment. Physically and psychologically. And let me tell you from experience, there’s nothing like the energy that comes with a group of young women yelling at the top of their lungs like a bunch of savages as they get ready to pick up something heavy and set a new PR. There’s something cathartic there, almost more primal in nature. The girls get to experience what it is to actualize their power and ferocity. Each of them becomes a fierce Amazon. Even the meek ones. Some stomp off in a rage after accomplishing something great, some sheepishly smile, surprised with what they did.
And upon reflection, it’s funny, I always assumed I would garner a ton of football players because of my background, and build a culture of tenacity and hard work. And based on what I mentioned above, it looks like I did just that. In a little different form
- Performance Enhancement Specialist (NASM)
- Certified Functional Strength Coach (MBSC)
- Athletics Coach from the New Mexico Activities Association