An Ohio State student organization is welcoming those who are looking to get in shape through strength training.
The Buckeye Barbell Club has two primary goals — to give OSU students, faculty and staff the opportunity to get stronger and to promote the sport of powerlifting — with a focus on the latter. Participating in club workouts is free of charge, but a $20 fee is required each academic year to help cover entry fees for meets and the club T-shirt.
“When it originally started, it was meant for people to strength train together and to help new people learn how to (lift), and actually competing was in the background,” said Evan Byrne, club member and graduate student in electrical and computer engineering. “As we’ve gone forward, it’s shifted to more of an emphasis on competing.”
Powerlifting is a sport that consists of three specific types of lifts — the squat, the bench press and the deadlift — and club members learn how to correctly and efficiently do them in hopes of competing in meets, whether it be at the local, regional or national level. These lifts are learned through the “wealth of knowledge” experienced weightlifters provide, fifth-year in electrical and computer engineering and club member Alex Cramer said.
“There’s a lot of instruction and encouragement,” Cramer said. “It’s a lot easier to go to the gym every day when there’s someone invested in helping you.”
While emphasis is placed on training for and competing in meets, the club also provides a more casual atmosphere for those who just want to strength train for personal recreation and people with all levels of experience are encouraged to join.
“A lot of people are hesitant to join because they have this mental image of what a powerlifter looks like, but in Buckeye Barbell, you can see that we have tons of different kinds of people represented: different majors, athletic backgrounds and body types,” said Victoria Liang, president of Buckeye Barbell Club and third-year in information systems. “We have people who have never touched a barbell and we have nationally-ranked athletes. Our common goal of getting stronger brings us together, and that supportive network drives everyone to succeed.”
Liang said that mental image of what a powerlifter looks like was a driving force behind the creation of the club.
“When I started lifting my freshman year, I was terribly clueless and self-conscious like many beginners,” Liang said. “I often wished I had a community of people who could help, support= and motivate me, and that became my inspiration for the club.”
Another staple of the club is the opportunity to get involved. Members of the club regularly do volunteer work at high school powerlifting meets in the winter, as well as the Arnold Sports Festival, which takes place at the Columbus Convention Center annually.
Liang said the club has about 50 active members who participate in various activities that the club takes part in, from training sessions to seminars to volunteering.