Last summer I enrolled in the Ridge Athletic Clubs’ six week program, the Foundations of Powerlifting, run by two of their personal trainers – Jay Corti and Logan Gregg. My desire to at least qualify into all life activities lead me to my interest in powerlifting. Our bodies, minds, and capacities for learning and growth are outstanding and I think we owe ourselves the courtesy of exercising all of those facilities as often as possible! The Powerlifting program at the Ridge enabled me to be more confident at the gym, progress in all avenues of training, and become more functionally fit. And a bonus – I don’t look like a female Arnold Schwarzenegger when it’s all said and done!

If you can imagine a “Usual Suspects” lineup for powerlifting, you might not peg me as a shoe-in. I’m a 5’11” horseback rider turned yoga teacher who dabbles in all kinds of movement, but until recently, no powerlifting. I had spent time with friends and my partner learning some of the basic movements so I could participate in their workouts, but had never had any professional coaching. I viewed this program as an opportunity to safely see what powerlifting is all about – and I got exactly that.

Over the course of the 6 week program, our powerlifting group of eleven met in the Ridge X studio twice a week for an hour. The group that came together was a broad mix of folks – experienced lifters, inexperienced gym go-ers ready for the next level, college age people, a female basketball player, guys in their 50’s – 60’s, everyone was there! Logan and Jay cumulatively have 15 years of powerlifting experience and they kept us on point, taught us what to do and what not to do, and kept us all in good spirits when the challenge increased.

We worked through the basics of deadlifts, cleans, bench press, and back squats. What does that look like? A lot of repetition – teaching your body the movement first with just your bodyweight, then with very light weight, and then progressively more weight until, Bam! you’ve found your 3 rep max. I felt myself first go through a heavy cognitive phase – where I was moving in a conscious manner and I pieced together each lift, one step at a time. With steady coaching from both Jay and Logan, feedback and encouragement from other classmates (there was a lot of this), and ideas from the slow motion videos of each of us moving, I started to associate the movements from my mind to my body. Executing the movements with more weight started to become smooth and more natural. The tips I was getting were for smaller tweaks and adjustments. Over the course of the six weeks, I felt myself become comfortable and competent with the weight and the lifts.

Since the Foundations class, I have incorporated powerlifts in to my workouts once or twice a week. I now have the autonomy to walk up to the weight rack at the Ridge with the best of ‘em and do my thing. Sure, the weight I’m moving is not  in the 200lb range, but I view each 2.5lb plate increase as a tiny badge of honor. And let the fears be dispelled, ladies – it is challenging and a deliberate effort to get “big” in powerlifting. Although I have noticed my muscles becoming more toned, my core strength is enhanced, and my posture has even improved.

As a result of Foundations of Powerlifting class at the Ridge, I am functionally stronger on all fronts – from my yoga practice to lifting my 12 year old dogs into the back of my truck. Anytime I have questions or need a refresher on something we worked on in the class, Jay and Logan have been so open and generous with helping me out. I feel this program is a solid choice for those looking for some positive change in their lives and gym activities. Please feel free to contact me with questions regarding my experiences or to compare biceps!

Written by Ridge Yoga Instructor, Julie Pritchard