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Barbell Club provides students with training and welcoming community | Sports

Interested in practicing weightlifting in a welcoming and empowering community? Then Gonzaga’s brand new Barbell Club might be just the place for you.

The club was recently started by five sophomores and a freshman at GU who have a shared love for weightlifting.

“We welcome lifters with any level of experience who wish to advance their powerlifting and/or Olympic lifting abilities in a supportive and strong lifting community,” according to posts on their Instagram account, @zagbarbell. 

Natalie Terterov, a sophomore and one of the creators of the club, first came up with the idea when she enrolled at GU in 2020. However, the idea wasn’t able to play out until this semester due to factors influenced by the pandemic, such as not being able to do much in-person.   

The six creators of the club include Natalie Firth, Abbie McBroom, Mwansa Luchembe, Campbell McGahan, Natalie Terterov and Alexis Terterov. They submitted a form earlier this semester and were able to get the club approved; since then, they’ve been working on getting everything up and running.  

Essentially, the goal of the club is to build community with students who want to practice weightlifting, whether that be deadlifting, powerlifting or Olympic lifting.

“Our main goal is just to create a group of people who are all passionate about barbell training and improving their form and their technique,” Terterov said. “By having that supportive community, we can help each other…whether it’s competitive or just getting better in the weight room.” 

McGahan is a freshman who competes in Olympic weightlifting with Natalie and Alexis. One thing she wanted to focus on is creating a space where people can learn from each other.

“I think what’s different about this [club] is that it combines so many different views and ways of lifting that you wouldn’t really see anywhere else,” McGahan said. “[We want to] allow the space for people to learn from each other.” 

Additionally, with most of the club creators being women, breaking down the stereotypes and encouraging other women to join is another important aspect. McBroom placed an emphasis on making sure women feel welcome in the weight room.

“The main thing for me was [that] a lot of the people in the weight section are men [and] it can be really intimidating as a woman to just go into the weight section,” McBroom said. “I want to encourage women to get in the weight room because they deserve to be there just as much as anyone else.” 

“I just kind of want to ease that fear and show people that it’s not as scary as they think and that it’s such a cool community to be a part of once you’re in it,” McGahan said. “It’s just kind of that first step that I hope people can…get past to kind of just throw themselves in it and embrace it.” 

The Barbell Club’s first meeting was Saturday, April 2nd from 9:00-10:30 in the Rudolf Fitness Center. Around 35 students showed up to learn more and become involved.  

The meeting started off with icebreakers so that members could get to know one another better; then, the group broke off into a few different stations. Students could practice deadlifting, powerlifting and Olympic lifting at the stations and throughout the hour-and-a-half practice were able to meet other people, ask questions and learn more about weightlifting in an uplifting and supportive environment.

“It was such a cool energy and vibe being there on Saturday where everyone was just so excited to lift,” McGahan said.

In the future, the club is hoping to provide opportunities for students to compete, as well as bring in guest speakers to talk about a variety of topics related to weightlifting. They’re also planning on having something called the “Lift of the Week” on the Instagram account where members of the club would submit videos of them doing a lift in order to be encouraged and supported by others.

“Even if you don’t know anything about lifting, [this club] is a great place to start,” McGahan said. “You’re surrounded by so many people who love it.” 

To stay updated on the club’s meetings and future events, be sure to follow the Instagram account, @zagbarbell.