CrossFit and powerlifting (mostly for girls)


Maj Bjørn Rames from CrossFit Aarhus is sharing her lifting experiences. Maj has in February 2010 won the Danish Championship in weightlifting.

Load that bar ladies!

By training heavy (85 – 100 % of your 1 RM) and choosing compound exercises (like the squat, bench press and deadlift), you improve your overall strength. The opposite of this is doing isolated movements (involving one joint like biceps curls and triceps kick-backs) that only stimulates small muscle groups and not allows you to get very much stronger. Training with heavy weights will also stimulate your core muscles (muscles around your torso) and the other small, stabilizing muscles. All in all, it’s easy to get a full – body workout from these exercises.

Get your breathing right!

Breathing and core stabilisation are key elements when doing power lifts. Many girls (and guys) don’t know how to breathe properly during a heavy lift. Breathing influences your core stability and is therefore a crucial part of good lifting technique. An example of correct breathing/stabilisation:

a. Before initiating the lift: take a deep breath, and hold it for the entire lift. You should feel a tension in your abs (similar to when you cough and the abs tightens).

b. In “the top” of the lift (before initiating a second lift, if you’re doing several reps) breathe in and out but only superficially – maintain the tension in your abs/core muscles!

Forget about getting too big!!

Many women refrain from heavy lifting, because they have an irrationel fear of ending up looking like a bodybuilder. Forget about it! Being strong does not equal being big. When you work with low reps and high weight, you primarily improve your ability to generate force (put simply: you make the brain and muscles work together in a more effective way). You don’t stimulate the muscles enough to actually increase their volume.

Team up!

Don’t train alone if you want to get better! Having someone spot you, or even videofilming your lifts can be really helpful. What you feel during the lift and what actually happens might not be the same thing. Viewing your lift on film and analysing it will help you develop a solid technique.

Grap a post-WOD-snack

The faster you refuel your body after a workout, the better. You will need both carbs and proteins, but not neccessarily large protein bars and shakes. On the Danish Bench Press Team we are encouraged to consume chocolate milk (not the light variety), amongst other things, immediately after a workout, as it contains both proteins and carbs. The body is your tool, so why not give it the optimal working conditions?

Still (very) few sports availabe for the Martin Rooney Seminar 5-7 March 2010, Copenhagen @ Butcher’s Lab. Read more and sign op here.

Support Rocinha CrossFit in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas – see more here: