May 2018 Featured Lifter

USA Powerlifting-NY would like to spotlight some of the stand-outs in the state. We will feature a new lifter each month, and ask them some random questions to get some insight into what makes them tick…..

This month’s featured lifter is RACHEL DENIS.

I grew up in a small town in Florida and moved to New York City almost 5 years ago. I grew up being pretty active and was both a cheerleader and played softball for many years. I’m an Aunt to a niece and two nephews, Zadie, Wes, and Brad, and they’re my favorite things in this world.

A little about Lifter

Training Center:

South Brooklyn Weightlifting Club

Question and Answer time!!

USA Powerlifting – NY: What got you interested in Powerlifting?

Rachel Denis: Actually, a minor injury! My lifting used to be more of a standard style for general fitness, and I hurt my back slightly and ended up googling “how to deadlift.” I found out that Powerlifting was a sport and I was immediately hooked before I even started training for it. I was really attracted to the idea of competing – it’s hard to find competitive sports adults can participate in!

USA Powerlifting – NY: When and where was your first meet?

RD: It was at my home gym, South Brooklyn Weightlifting Club, September 2015


USA Powerlifting – NY: What things have you learned since your first meet?

RD: SO many things. But the biggest thing is probably to just relax and trust the process. Like a lot of new lifters, I was caught up in numbers and how I compared to everyone else. I started to enjoy myself so much more when I stopped thinking about what everyone else was doing and just focused on my own training and performance.


USA Powerlifting – NY: What does the future hold for you in regards to powerlifting (PR’s higher total, weight loss, etc.)?

RD: I have to say… I have no idea, and that’s really fine with me. PRs are likely and very welcome, but I can’t and don’t want to try to predict the future. I’m just going to keep putting in the hard work and having fun and I’m confident the rest will fall into place.


USA Powerlifting – NY: What is your favorite of the “Big 3” and why?

RD: Squat. That’s easy. I’ve always loved squatting, and I absolutely have the most fun doing it. I feel like nothing is more powerful than lowering heavy weight over your shoulders in a controlled manner and then standing back up with it. Is there anything cooler than that? No. I do love all of the lifts though.


USA Powerlifting – NY: What is your least favorite of the “Big 3” and why?

RD: This changes between deadlift and bench press, depending on how each of them are going. I don’t really have a least favorite, it just depends on how I’m responding to the training and that changes all the time anyway.


USA Powerlifting – NY: Do you follow a specific training program? If so, is it a custom program for you or a template style program like 5/3/1 or the Texas Method?

RD: I follow the training program my coach, Paulie Steinman, provides as a member of his gym. His programming style is based off of Reactive Training Systems.


USA Powerlifting – NY: Do you lift as part of a team or a group? Who are they and how did you become part of that group?

RD: I would say my team/group are my training partners and friends at South Brooklyn Weightlifting Club. When you train with the same people consistently they become like family.


USA Powerlifting – NY: What advice would you give a newbie powerlifter?

RD: Oh… so much. Have fun, don’t be too hard on yourself, and don’t try to hit a certain weight class until you will be somewhat competitive at the local level in any particular one (and maybe not even then). Also, really do your research and find programming and a training facility that works for your particular needs. Don’t try to copy what anyone else is doing, because they’re likely doing it for reasons that are specific to them and wouldn’t work for you.


USA Powerlifting – NY: Tell us something about you that those in the powerlifting world wouldn’t know about you (guilty pleasure, vice, anything at all)?

RD: This is tough because I’m generally an open book. If I know you through Powerlifting, you probably know a fair amount about my life. I’m very into music and I create playlists for different occasions. For example, I have one for getting ready for work, another for hanging out with friends, another for driving, etc.


Bonus Question

USA Powerlifting – NY: Who is your favorite powerlifting athlete and why?

FL: I honestly can’t answer this question in a simple manner. There are a lot of athletes I look up to. Natalie Hanson because she trains both raw and equipped, she’s super strong, and she’s got a long powerlifting career ahead of her which will be fun to watch. Bonica Brown simply because she’s Bonica. Mike Tuchscherer because I admire his mentality and depth of knowledge. Jennifer Thompson because she’s insanely strong and I literally cannot understand how her bench is so high. Bryce Lewis because of his emotive celebrations that I can literally feel in my soul. Priscilla Ribic because I feel like she just continues to perform over and over again. I could go on!

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