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New Event Showcases Strong Women Supporting Each Other

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DES MOINES, Iowa  --  Walking into a weight room can be intimidating for anyone, especially women. Trainers say there are so many benefits to lifting weights, and a new event will showcase strong women in the metro.

Deadlifting hasn't always been easy for Sarah Otte.

"I had no idea that my body could do any of this or that I even wanted to, but it just keeps me coming back for more every week," she said.

Otte started lifting weights at 22nd Street Barbell a year and a half ago. She trains with Annie Brees and Abbie Mork, who are preparing her for the first Women's Barbell Classic.

Mork said, "We've been a part of this community, which is mostly male-based and we said, you know, there's a need for a women's only event in the Des Moines area."

The event is Saturday, April 28th, when 100 women will test their strength.

"We have a teenager, we have a woman in her 60s. We have a mom, sister, daughter combo. We have a woman with MS and we have a woman who is blind locally here in Des Moines who is competing," said Mork.

It's a push-pull competition, which means participants will have three chances to see how much they can deadlift and bench press.

Brees said, “You'll see anything from 100 pounds to, I wouldn't be surprised if we have women pulling or deadlifting well over 400 pounds. Women are amazingly strong."

The trainers say there are so many benefits to strength training, especially for females.

"Everything from increased bone density, increased muscle mass, you can decrease your body fat, if that's a goal of yours," said Brees. "It can help you manage your weight, your mental health, your emotional health."

The biggest benefit might be confidence.

"I keep challenging myself and keep competing against myself. It's amazing to see where I started out and where I am now."

The Women's Barbell Classic is Saturday, April 28th. Lifting starts at 9 a.m. at 22nd Street Barbell. Spots are almost full. Admission is $5, and proceeds go to a fellow female lifter who was hurt in a motorcycle accident.

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