Powerlifting Club offers welcoming environment

Powerlifting at Oakland University is a new student organization which seeks to provide a welcoming environment for lifters of all experience levels.

Christina Johnson, an OU freshman majoring in exercise science, began organizing the club at the beginning of the fall semester after recognizing the lack of a community for powerlifting groups on campus.

Johnson began her powerlifting career in high school after placing a priority on her physical and mental health amidst the pandemic. She competed in various USA Powerlifting (USAPL) competitions throughout her senior year, placing seventh in the Michigan High School State Meet (varsity 165 lbs. weight class division) and 16th overall at High School Nationals.

After high school, Johnson considered competing with the Penn State Powerlifting team but ultimately decided OU would be the best fit for her. Upon making this choice, Johnson made it a priority to integrate her passion for powerlifting into the campus community.

Carolina Martinez, an OU senior majoring in biomedical science, was informed of Johnson’s interest in beginning a powerlifting group on campus early in the fall semester. Martinez shared a passion for lifting, which made her eager to get involved.

Martinez took on the role of vice president of the club, and also currently serves as secretary of Girl Gains at Oakland University, another new student organization which supports female health and fitness.

“My powerlifting journey has been long and hard,” Martinez said, “but I have fallen in love with feeling stronger.”

Johnson and Martinez describe their planning process as difficult yet rewarding. The pair has spent several months becoming certified as a student organization and finding a practice space.

“We recently found a great gym to hold our practice at,” Johnson said. “I am very excited to finally move this club forward.”

The first official practice for Powerlifting at OU will take place on Nov. 14 at Rochester Performance Gym from 6-9 p.m. The group will be practicing regularly at Rochester Performance three times a week: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-9 p.m. and Wednesdays from 4-7 p.m.

Members will be required to pay membership dues to cover the cost of their gym and USAPL memberships (if they plan to compete). This will also allow members to utilize gym amenities outside of scheduled practice times.

“Powerlifting is an expensive sport, but we have figured out ways to make our club more inclusive,” Johnson said. “We will have two divisions, D1 and D2. D1 will lift and compete, while D2 is for casual lifters.”

Johnson and Martinez have big plans for Powerlifting at OU, hoping to make it an accepting place for lifters of all abilities. They point out that the powerlifting journey is typically long and difficult, though one that is worthwhile.

“If you are debating on joining the club, I think you should do it regardless,” Johnson said. “We welcome members of all skill and experience levels.”

On Nov. 10, Powerlifting at OU will hold a Zoom meeting for members to learn how the club will be conducted, as well as what is expected of lifters. To learn more about the organization, visit their GrizzOrgs or Instagram page.