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Powerlifting will NOT make me hench. Right?

Updated: Dec 21, 2019

If I powerlift hard enough, will I get hench like a man?

Dictionary definition of hench - strong, fit and having well developed muscles
For those who don't know what 'hench' is...

Those of us in the know will chuckle at that question but you’d be surprised at how many people actually think that the answer is ‘yes’.

The question itself is stupid - it assumes that all men are hench. And they really really REALLY aren’t.

Althea showing off her biceps
Welcome to the gunshow

Here’s an example - when I just started lifting, I was told that I am going to look like a man. From powerlifting. One day per week.

I know right!

The way how my eyes rolled when I heard that statement - if they rolled any harder thunder would accompany them as they rolled out of their sockets.

Said statement is usually “supported” by positioning it as a quote from someone who "gyms regularly".

NEWSFLASH: that doesn't make them qualified bro.

My only words for them are “go learn”. Granted I didn’t know any better until I seeked the facts. But did you hear that? “Seeked the facts”. I’m just saying.

Now don't get me wrong - I've had people ASK me if I'll end up hench; that's totally different (they didn't know the facts so they asked questions rather than trying to position an opinion as gospel).

She looks like a man (meme)
Will powerlifting make you look like him with a wig?

So how did I get into it?

In short, my BJJ Sensei got me into it; the long version can be explored in a separate post, otherwise you’ll be reading for days!

Initially, I was like “ok I’m learning the technique”, whoop-de-doo!

Then. Came. The. First. PB (Personal Best). Also referred to as Personal Record by the way.

Here's a compilation of some of my PBs to date - and I wear my deadlift face with pride:

And that’s when I got reeled into it. I started chasing PBs like an addiction to a high.

The funny thing is I didn’t care whether I would have become hench or not, but this was the point where I was bothered enough to learn the difference. Besides, 'strong model' has a bit of edge to it - I've heard the term 'fashion model' and 'fitness model' enough. Make way for the strong models.

So going back to the question: If I powerlift hard enough, will I get hench like a man?

Lifting weights makes women huge? Try again...chocolate cake makes women huge
But will chocolate cake give me muscles tho....?

When you take a look at some of the different types of lifting and their purpose, it kinda spells the answer out to you (yep I trust that the differences will be crystal clear if it's all broken down).

Bodybuilding…both recreation and a sport, with competition bodybuilders building their muscles to the maximum. And beyond. They generally have minimal body fat and are extremely muscular.

Bodybuilders’ goal: making their muscles bigger but not necessarily stronger, by doing more repetitions with lighter weights to build muscle endurance.

Ripped female model holding a red apple
Photo Credit:

Powerlifting...with the purpose of building strength, powerlifters aim to lift the heaviest weight that they possibly can in a single repetition. They do this using three main lifts:

  1. Deadlift: lifting a (preferably loaded) barbell from the floor to the waist - the deadlift is what I call life.

  2. Benchpress: pushing a barbell upward from the chest while lying on a bench with an arched back (to reduce the range of motion) - the benchpress is also what I call life.

  3. Squat: squatting down, with a barbell on the shoulders until the thighs are parallel to the ground - I don’t love squats but I gotta do them.

Powerlifting is regularly mistaken for Olympic lifting, but the techniques are considerably different.

It's also important to acknowledge that a powerlifter's goal isn't appearance; they lift heavy weight for few repetitions as strength is their focus. This isn't stopping me and my model aspirations though.

Althea deadlifting
Deadlift face

Olympic Weightlifting...the clean and jerk and the snatch are their two competition lifts. Olympic lifters carry more fat in contrast to bodybuilders (I’m not going to pretend that I know the percentages though - this is just an overview).

Female olympic lifter holding a loaded barbell over her head
Photo Credit:

In a nutshell:

Doing less repetitions with more weight (aka powerlifting) will help you increase your strength. There is not enough “pump” to build bulging muscle.

Ignore the myth that using heavy weight will bulk you up. Just remember 3 important points:

  1. Men are more genetically predisposed to developing more muscle mass through heavy lifting than women (apparantely)

  2. Powerlifting doesn’t involve the volume of pump that’s required to create the hulky, muscle bound, 'can’t wipe my own ass' look

  3. Don’t be offended by the way - I love the hulky, muscle bound, 'can’t wipe my own ass' look

So if I powerlift hard enough, will I get hench like a man? The answer is ‘no’ but I’ll have the strength of one. I’ll be sure to keep you posted on the progress of my Powerlifting, and future plans as I get back to training properly post-injury (non powerlifting related).

Thank you for reading my post - you can keep up with my lifting shenanigans on the Gram:

Feel free to also follow my modelling profile on Insta:

Subscribe here to receive notifications when my posts are published fortnightly.

Today’s [semi] random link lists 50 catchphrases that are used by bodybuilders - so the newbies out there can fit right in. I don’t bother using them but I’m not quite the epitome of bodybuilding either. Go figure (see what I did there)?!

See ya x

About the author [that would be me]:

I am a Senior Project Manager by day; by night (aka any other time), you can find me lifting heavy metal things (aka powerlifting), threatening to dust off my belt in the name of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (I will make myself re-worthy of my blue belt), or finding ways to get infront of a camera and labelling it as modelling in some way shape or form.

I put this blog together as an add-on to my modelling portfolio, and it reminded me of how much I love to write. I will continue to write as my model portfolio grows, just so that you can get to know the real me.

Althea James model x


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2 comentarios

Harpreet - thanks bro x!x

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Great post, bro.

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