Barbellas: Powerlifting Women Empowering Women

by Shirley Cypher

The Barbellas is a group of female students here at Haskell that are working together to help motivate a healthy lifestyle and encourage fitness on campus through the sport of powerlifting. This group was co-founded by two students, Kari Snelding and Taylor Hall, that wanted to empower Native women on campus to break the barriers of the fitness world that women too can be in the gym and lift heavy weights to become strong. Not many females are familiar with what goes on in the gym with free weights instead of the normal routine with cardio machines. But Kari and Taylor help create a workout routine that targets the main three components in a powerlifting competition: squat, deadlift, and bench press.


“The purpose of Barbellas is to empower native women. Not only to lift weights but to also lift each other up. Girls Who Powerlift (an inspirational group that focuses on women in the powerlifting community) has a motto that relates to our philosophy: “Strength is Beautiful, Uplift and Lift Heavy”. The gym is not a familiar place for most females so Taylor and I try to make a safe environment where women can learn from other women on how to properly lift. We also break the stereotype and let them know it is okay to be strong inside and outside of the gym. Barbellas is different from other clubs because it is female exclusive. It is unique because the women who participate can take what they learn beyond Haskell. The qualities developed by the women who participate in Barbellas translate in the classroom and everyday life. After you lift you can think clearer, you eat better, and sleep more. Other qualities developed are consistency and humbleness. In order to get better you have to commit time out of your already full college schedule and you don’t just get good overnight it takes time and practice to Powerlift.”

-Kari Snelding (Senior)

Soon the founders of Barbellas will be graduating this May. It’s going to be up to the young women to see who will be 

next to continue training future lifters and keep empowering Native women and women everywhere to get in the gym and show others the power and benefits to lifting, building character, making friends, and carry on what you learn with you everyday. This program will help women not only realize that powerlifting is not only just lifting weights, but understanding the power of both physical and within yourself pushing you beyond your limit and gain more confidence and build great potential. And hopefully encourage more female students on campus to stay fit and become future powerlifters here at Haskell.


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