Aug 27th, 2011
Schedule Update: Strength Saturday will happen on Sunday this week from 2 to 4 PM. We’re all full this week, unfortunately. Email me if you would like to get in next week (9/3).
Mini sent this video my way this evening and while the video above fails several of my criteria for being watchable, the subject of the video, Jennifer Thompson, is truly amazing. Thompson tips the scales at at a mere 132 pounds. In the video above, she squats 315 pounds, bench presses 293 pounds, and deadlifts 419 pounds. Those lifts shattered a number of American records for those lifts in her powerlifting federation (USAPL) and added up to a massive 1027 pound total, also a record.
All of the lifts were performed with nothing more than a singlet, a belt, and some shoes. No squat suits, bench shirts, or knee wraps were used. The squats were deep and there was a marked lack of screwing around during the competition. I was impressed.
Provided you can get around the awful camera work, bad editing, and misspelling of the subject’s name in the opening credits (really?), the strength that Thompson displayed was humbling. Her lifts are quite respectable for a man significantly heavier than she is. This woman benched 2.2 times her bodyweight. That is unreal. Few men manage that feat, let alone women.
Time is short this evening, so I cannot expound at length upon some of the issues raised here, which include, most importantly, my hurt feelings over how strong Thompson is. On one hand, this video could be used as evidence that size does not always equal strength. That is very true within certain parameters. However, Jennifer Thompson chose her parents very wisely. Most human beings will never be able to display that kind of strength at that low of a bodyweight. Thompson is amazing and is an inspiration, but very few, if any, will equal what she did at 132 pounds, men or women.
This brings me to another point, that I hear quite often, which is an insistence upon keeping bodyweight as low as possible, especially among females. If you were not excelling at sports from the time you were a child and could not jump higher than almost everyone around you, chances are you are not an exceptional athlete. That’s okay. Welcome to the club. Therefore, just because someone is capable of performing a feat of strength at a given bodyweight does not mean that you should be able to do the same. Maybe you can, but maybe not.
If performance is important, then training and diet must accommodate those goals. This might mean muscular bodyweight gain. This is to be embraced and celebrated. Those that insist women must be skinny are not only wrong, they are not entitled to an opinion on the matter and are to be ignored. More on this next week. Lift like Jen Thompson, but be more concerned about the weight on the bar than the weight on the scale.