Get Caught Living Active – Powerlifting


Photo: UBC Powerlifting – Facebook

Welcome to the UBC Recreation Health Promotions “Get Caught Living Active” series! This series highlights various ways that students can be active on campus. Each week we catch people being active and share the benefits of what they do with you! There’s plenty of research that relates physical activity with academic success, so we’re here to provide you with a bunch of different activities that you can check out to stay physically fit. If you would like to share ways that you or your friends are active on campus, let us know at
This week’s highlighted group is the UBC Weightlifting & Powerlifting Club. Recently founded, the club has burst onto the lifting scene with enthusiasm and a supportive community for its members.
What is this activity?
Quick to establish powerlifting as *not* bodybuilding, the club members explained that powerlifting is a set of various lifts that are intended to increase and measure a person’s physical strength. The end result is not inflated muscles, but increased strength! For both guys and girls, you can squat, deadlift, bench press, and do Olympic lifts to achieve increased strength, health, and an athletic build.
Starting with light weights, once you master the form of the lifts, you can slowly start to add more weight on. Within the club there are many experienced lifters who help guide and mentor new members looking to get into the sport as well.
Club President, Sam Tsegai said, “Lifting with other people gives the chance to improve your skill and form, all while being part of a really supportive atmosphere.”
Why do it?
Powerlifting and weightlifting is a great way to keep active and strengthen your body. Increasing overall strength, coordination, and fitness are all benefits of lifting weights. Having trouble picking up that heavy backpack or walking to the top floor of Koerner? Lifting weights can help you with that.
After a basketball injury, Tsegai found himself having a lot of problems with his knee. During his rehabilitation, he began to go to the gym, and from there he got into weight training. Finding his strength increase, he continued training and with his competitive nature, moved into competitions and founded the UBC Powerlifting and Weightlifting club. A pharmacy student, Tsegai credited weightlifting as a large factor in his academic success as well.
“[Powerlifting] gives you something to look forward to; gives a purpose to going to the gym. Competitions are meets really, where everyone comes together to lift. In other sports, like basketball, hockey, [or] football, there’s an opponent that you have to defeat. Powerlifting is really you trying to best yourself. It’s all about you and what you can do.” – Tsegai
Public Relations representative, Pam Anderson said, “people always think that weightlifting makes girls big, but that’s not true.” Later adding, “it keeps you fit; I love it and I’m proud of my body!”
The hard facts:
Lifting weights has been shown to reduce blood pressure in healthy adults and those at risk or diagnosed with hypertension (Cornelissen 2013). It has also been observed to improve glucose control for people living with Type 2 diabetes (Cornelisson 2011). In fact, exercising was found to be as effective as drug therapy for preventing further cardiovascular events or strokes in people who had previously had them (Umpierre et al 2011).
Best way to get started for beginners?
Tsegai said “Join our club – it’s only ten dollars per year and you get free instruction from some of the best lifters in BC and Canada. Can’t get any better than that!”
You can check out the online lifting community at their Facebook Page. If you’re more of a DIYer, check out the BC Powerlifting and Olympic Lifting sites! The gym can be intimidating for some, but there’s always a warm group of people offering support.
“It’s a really close-knit community – as you’re starting out, there’s always people to ask, either at the gym or with clubs like us. There’s really no need to spend a lot of money on trainers because there’s always people to help you out here” said Tsegai.