By Katie Benoit SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC NEWS) – Inside Hercules Gym, Rheta West is ready to help train anyone who walks though her door, especially women who are just starting off their powerlifting careers.
West is the world record holder in the squat category for the 148-pound class. She began powerlifting to prove that women could lift.
“There was a manager at a gym I used to go to that didn’t think that women should dead lift. So I started dead-lifting every week. And I would tell him ‘Guess what I did this week? Guess what I did this week to kind of aggravate him,” West said.
Last week Hercules Gym hosted the Iron Maiden Women’s lifting competition. West heavily promoted the event on social media, hoping that the community would attend to support women.
Powerlifting helps women to become successful both in the gym and in the real world. West tries to teach discipline and make women stronger with training and proper nutrition.
“If they can handle that weight, they can handle anything,” West said.
Becki Pierotti started her training with West and is now also a top-ranked powerlifter in her weight class. She says that West’s help has gotten her to the top much quicker than if she was on her own. West giving back also makes Pierotti want to encourage more women to lift and volunteer at meets.
West helps women improve by watching and working with them on their form. She also encourages them to come to her female powerlift group so they can be with other female lifters. This helps them to see how lifts should be performed and get to know other female lifters.
Sometimes it takes many repetitions, but West enjoys it when the women she trains finally gets their form right.
“The look on their face when they get it right it just priceless. I love that. It just makes me smile,” she said.