Weightlifting gains traction amongst student body

By Hannah Simon, Co-Sports Editor

After witnessing his older brother’s newfound success in the gym, junior Ethan Marshall was hooked.

“My favorite part about weightlifting is the feeling of satisfaction,” Marshall said. “Every time I finish my workout, I feel accomplished knowing that I’m getting stronger and healthier.”

Students, boys and girls alike, have increasingly picked up the hobby of weightlifting. Exercise has become an unbreakable habit for many, and according to  e Global Health and Fitness Association, Gen Z holds a particular interest in the fitness industry. As avid gym-goers, students spend multiple days a week focusing on pushing their bodies to maximum performance and reaping the multiple health benefits.

“I think more teenagers are getting involved in weightlifting because it’s a popular method of exercise that does not have to be a sport,” Marshall said. “Also, it doesn’t require much skill. It’s fun and lets you have the freedom to work out how you see most effectively.”

Marshall first began lifting in the summer of 2021. He attends Edge Fitness in Wayne, which boasts a majority of high school members of various skill levels. And although he did not see results instantaneously, he eventually developed his current thorough six-day routine consisting of a push, pull, legs format.

“The most rewarding part for me is looking back at where I was in the beginning and seeing where I am now,” Marshall said. “I like to look at my improvement and see how far I’ve come as well.”

On the other hand, freshman Carolyn Jones took up weightlifting to elevate her performance in lacrosse. In addition to clean eating, Jones sees the benefits of her hard work on the field.

“I’m feeling stronger against defenders,” Jones said. “I do not get pushed off the ball as often and (weightlifting) also makes me faster, which is good.”

Initially starting for different reasons, both Marshall and Jones agree though that new lifters should just go for it. While possibly frightening or intimidating at first, the weightlifting community is incredibly supportive, and trainers or other gym-goers become parent  figures. Even more rewarding is the happiness felt after hitting a new personal record or finally seeing results. 

The assistance or guidance of a mentor is also key to the process, and, in some cases, is a sibling or parent. But the presence of online creators has also served as a source of encouragement. 

“My brother started (weightlifting) before me and saw so much improvement. He loves it, and it helps him in sports, so I did it too,” Jones said. 

Some students, inspired by professional profiles, have decided to showcase their journey publicly. An intriguing way to broadcast their progress and further connect with the community, platforms such as TikTok and Instagram allow students to post their commitment and progress in a positive light, with Marshall and junior Kat Nguyen creating their own account in hopes of motivating each other. 

“Kat and I decided to make @e.k.lifts after getting inspired by my older brother’s lifting account, @dannym_lifts,” Marshall said. “I always learn from him and appreciate his support. I really couldn’t have done it without him.” 

Whether a result of post-pandemic stress, social media trends, sport-specific training or merely as a means to stay healthy, students are taking advantage of weightlifting’s benefits.

Hannah Simon can be reached at [email protected]