Women weight lifters at SHS


Jordin Baker

Senior Kenzie Lukas spots her lifting partner as they bench press on Nov. 6.

The male-dominated weightroom can be an intimidating place for women. According to the Park Nicollet Melrose Center, 53 percent of 13 year-old girls are not satisfied with their bodies. By the time they reach 17, the number grows to 78 percent.

So for that 78 percent of teenage girls, thinking about picking up weight training may be a scary thought because of how society has shaped weightlifting into something that is geared towards men, how men outnumber women in the weightroom and because of the thought of gaining a bulky appearance due to the increase in muscle mass. Despite these factors, some girls at SHS have decided to participate in weight training, and are reaping the physical and mental benefits.

Senior Kenzie Lukas picked up weight training her sophomore year and gained strength, size and the nickname “man arms.”

“I do get the comment of about man arms sometimes…and I’m okay with that. I do have man arms,” Lukas said, proudly showing the way her sleeves hug her arms.

For Lukas getting called man arms doesn’t phase her. She likes to see the progress of her muscles getting bigger. Becoming bigger and stronger also helps her with cheer and being the base for stunts.

SHS gym teacher Leah Enterline weight trained during high school and college to become a better athlete playing basketball. Enterline continues to work out as a gym teacher to stay healthy.

According to Enterline, one day she wants to have kids, and when she does, she doesn’t want to slow them down.

“Now I do weight lifting to stay healthy and to be able to move,” Enterline said. “You know one of these days when I have kids running around, and when I have grandkids, I want to be able to play with them. I want to be able to do active things with them and not being the one holding them back.”

Enterline also knows that a lot of girls don’t weight lift because they think they’ll get big and bulky. According to her, diet and doing the proper exercises can help avoid that.

“If you’re doing it the right way, and you’re eating appropriately to meet your goals, you’re not going to get big and bulky or anything that you don’t want to have as a female,” Enterline said. “You’re going to get stronger and potentially be able to live longer.”

SHS weightlifting coach Clint Frank also thinks that the bulky appearance is a huge factor that stops women from weight training and that a lot of women see weight training as manly. This is understandable due to the fact that in Frank’s elective weightlifting classes, there are 75 males and just 13 females. However, Frank says that seeing weight training as a manly thing shouldn’t stop girls from participating because “everyone has to start somewhere.”

“I would tell girls to do their research and educate themselves on the myths and benefits of lifting for females,” Frank said. “They may find that their fear of weight training is unfounded.”

Ever since senior Alexis Zrebiec started to weight lift she has gotten so strong she can lift more than most guys in her weight lifting class. According to Zrebiec some guys will “attack” her for lifting more than them. Zrebiec doesn’t let this affect her. In fact, this just gives her more confidence.

Aside from gaining physical strength from weight training, Zrebiec has also gained a lot of self confidence and a sense of empowerment. To her, weight training is a way to improve herself and only herself.

“I’ve talked to girls her who are scared to get into it because of what other people might say… so what I say is when you join, that doesn’t matter,” Zrebiec said. “You’re working for yourself, on yourself. You’re not working for anyone else.”