Ladies of Lifting put huge power on show

Winners are grinners: Eden's Loureen Kelly is all smiles after smashing a good deadlift during the Ladies of Lifting event at the Iron Stronghold on the weekend. Picture: Tony Harrington.
Winners are grinners: Eden's Loureen Kelly is all smiles after smashing a good deadlift during the Ladies of Lifting event at the Iron Stronghold on the weekend. Picture: Tony Harrington.

Female powerlifters were celebrated during a special women’s only “Ladies of Lifting” competition at the Iron Stronghold on the weekend. 

Recognising the great work of female powerlifters in the local area, gym owner Dan Dakis said about half his members were female and proving weightlifting was no mere “blokey” sport. 

Entrants all attempt their max possible lift in three key categories, the bench press, a squat and a deadlift. 

Eden nationals contender Loureen Kelly, who finished first on the day from runner-up Kate Tighe and third Katrina Oldham, said it was a great chance to compete alongside some of her friends on a home setting. 

“This was my first comp back at home in a long time and honestly it was so refreshing because it was so much more relaxed and fun,” Ms Kelly said. 

“I'm currently training in my off season which is a different type of training so coming into it I decided this was just going to be for fun.”

Ms Kelly told her coach she was only going for “sub-max” lifts just outside her personal bests, but said the excitement of competition day did get to her. 

She hit a personal best on the squat without wearing competition wraps, but Ms Kelly said it was the bench press where she had something to prove. 

“Now the bench I had a score to settle ... and without my coaches knowledge pushed not just for a PB which would have been hitting 87.5, but I went in for a 90 kilo bench and hit it really fast,” she said. 

“That was actually super emotional for me as its a huge milestone in lifting especially for a woman.”

Meanwhile, Ms Oldham runs her own personal training camps, but said there was value in learning powerlifting from the best. 

“People often ask, ‘why do you have a coach when you’re a trainer? – Dan has extensive experience with powerlifting and he has has been able to teach me the best techniques and build my strength.”

She said it had not only helped her put some enormous numbers on the bar, but was an overall transformation helping with her efforts as an endurance obstacle runner. 

“In the races I need to carry and pull heavy objects, pull myself up ropes, over walls and across bars – I need strength and powerlifting is the perfect partnership to keep your body strong and balanced, ready to compete.”

There is also something addictive about the accomplishment. “It’s such an empowering feeling to move a heavy piece of steel and to know you want it heavier,” Ms Oldham said. 

Women or men interested in powerlifting and strength training can call Dan on 0428 753 024.