CrossFit South Brooklyn held its fifth annual Iron Maidens Raw Open this past Saturday, which, as the hardcore name suggests, is a powerlifting competition just for women. The video above, from Salon, takes you behind the scenes to hear a few competitors talk about why they lift, and why it's important for a space like the one created by this competition to exist. Iron Maidens was started to celebrate women who lift at any level, whether they do it for their health or to test their limits. For most of them, it's truly a lifestyle. As Bethany Erskine puts it in the short above, "feeling strong is part of who I am now."
The 65 competitors, ranging from 25 to 70 years old, completed three different types of powerlifting (deadlifting, bench-pressing, and squatting) in order to place in their weight groups. The woman who came in first place lifted a total of 845 pounds. Linda Lempert, the oldest competitor, says that women who powerlift are fighting "the stereotype that women can't" lift weights at all. She admits that her main goals were to avoid getting hurt, and not to "make a fool" of herself — but by the end of the open, the 70-year-old lifted a total of 227 pounds, which, to my younger self, sounds like the least foolish thing imaginable.