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Lifting to new heights

Lifting to new heights

Lauren Durham ’22 June 04, 2019
Emma Jarman ’11 channels her inner calm to lift more than 1,205 pounds as a champion powerlifter.

Play to your strengths. This is common advice for anyone, but for Emma Jarman, it can be taken literally. The 2011 UD communication graduate has devoted her spare time, sleep schedule and diet to the sport of powerlifting.

Jarman said she entered her first powerlifting competition out of pure curiosity and instantly fell in love. Nearly three years later, she stands as an award-winning professional. Most recently, Jarman won the women’s heavy weight division of the Arnold Classic in March 2019.

Although she admits to not having her best day at the famous fitness exposition, Jarman swept the competition by lifting a grand total of 1,205 pounds — 470 pounds in the squat event, 280 pounds in the bench press event and 455 pounds in deadlift event. She said her competitive nature means she’s eagerly awaiting the second and final competition of the year. He goal is to lift more than 1,300 pounds.

In terms of approach, Jarman may not fit the stereotypical powerlifter mold. Instead of expressing any obvious signs of aggression during a lift, she quietly embraces her nerves and methodically completes each event.

 “I’m not very aggressive at all,” she said. “I like to get under the bar very calmly.”

Such strength to powerlift does not come from a few daily push-ups or occasional bicep curls. Jarman exercises discipline in all aspects of her life. In terms of diet, for example, she eats the same six protein-packed meals every day, totaling in 3,000 calories.

 “I’ve figured out what makes me feel good,” she said. “I don’t eat for pleasure anymore — I eat for performance.”

While Jarman’s 9-year-old daughter, Kate, has a close relationship with her mother, she has told mom that she does not want to following in her footsteps. But while powerlifting doesn’t catch her daughter’s attention, “she does love the trophies,” Jarman said. As Kate grows up, Jarman hopes she will begin to recognize female empowerment in their own home and eventually become just as “fiercely independent” as her mother.

Advice from the Pro

1) Keep an eye out. If you are interested in powerlifting, odds are that you’ll find someone who can steer you toward a gym or club. Don’t get discouraged if you aren’t lifting large weights at first. You’ll get there!

2) Don’t think about it (too much). Although you should stay focused and goal-driven, don’t overthink what you’re doing.

3) The more the merrier. Powerlifters are normally very helpful and supportive, according to Jarman. She shared how her gym has become like a second home. Be open to new friendships!

4) Ask away. There are never too many questions when you are new to any sport, but especially this one.

5) Get some ZZZs. Sleeping is just as important as eating and training.

6) Hydration is key. Jarman said although it may be boring advice, it’s so imperative to one’s health.

7) Be a little selfish. Ultimately, do whatever you need to do for Take care of yourself and have fun!

All photos courtesy Emma Jarman.