The pair smashing the strongwomen stigma

HEAVY LIFTERS: Jade Carr (left) and Shani Russell said that strongmen classes are not just for big muscular men as they are perceived to be, but that they can be done by anyone.

HEAVY LIFTERS: Jade Carr (left) and Shani Russell said that strongmen classes are not just for big muscular men as they are perceived to be, but that they can be done by anyone.

IT’S often preconceived as an activity for big, tall and muscular men – but strongwomen Shani Russell and Jade Carr beg to differ.

Russell, 32, and Carr, 29, have now been participating in strongmen and women classes since January and can say that the fitness activity is not all it’s made out to be.

“It’s got a bad stigma that you have got to be the guys who are on TV doing worldwide competitions and that’s definitely wrong,” Russell said about the preconception.

“I originally thought only big guys could do it, but the guys at Momentum Fitness said that's wrong and not right at all.

“All I can say to people is come and watch and have a see at what we are actually doing and who is involved in it and you might be quite surprised.”

A simple observation of fellow gym members was what drove Russell, a mother of two, to participate in the strongwoman class and become known as one of the gyms ‘Valkyries.’

“I was just watching some of the guys doing it and I thought that was a good challenge and I thought I'd give it a go and from then I sort of had the passion to sign up in the strongman-strongwoman class,” she said.

“It's a good challenge and it's good to push yourself and think I can't do that but I'll try it and to know that you can succeed and do it and I surprised myself that I could do the stuff they were doing.

“I thought you can try and you aren't going to fail if you try, but you are going to fail if you don't give it a go in the first place.”

Carr said for her it was just a natural progression from the exercises she currently did at the gym.

“We were already doing heavy lifting and stuff that was similar to what happens in the strongwoman classes, she said. “We were doing bodybuilding stuff and normal heavy weights training, but since we have started the strongwoman we have gradually progressed onto heavier and heavier weights.”

The two ladies train up to six days a week, encompassing a variety of activities that are similar to crossfit, which aims to build strength, lose weight, increase tone muscle definition or improve general fitness. Some examples of the sorts of apparatuses that the strongmen and woman do in a session include rope pulls, kettle bells, dead lifts and tyre flips.

Russell said doing the strongwoman classes had helped her immensely. 

“Just the results I’ve had from doing the program have been amazing,” she said. “I wanted to get stronger and lose some weight and I've well and truly done that.

“You can only try it and if you don't like it that's fine but you may surprise yourself.”