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Watch a 13-Year-Old Girl Bench Press 240 Pounds Like It’s Not Even a Big Deal [VIDEO]

The YouTube comments on this video are filled with suggestions that Maryana Naumova‘s form is awful and that if she lifted weights on a flat back “She’d be reduced to <120 lbs.” And, OK, I don’t know anything about weight lifting, so that might be true.

But I do know that the face that guy is making at 3:20 was my face throughout the entire video.

And anyway, 120 lbs? My noodle arms ache just thinking about trying to lift that.

(via: HyperVocal)

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  • The Gaf

    Yes, she does have poor form, but the problem is that she is going to end up hurting herself. Back in the college days when I would go for 300, I could do it, but like this. I couldn’t do more than 275 flat on my back. But you know what? I got stronger, and felt better not arching my back…

  • Joanna

    I like the Harley Quinn look she’s got going on with her hair =)

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, I always worry when I see kids (of either gender) doing this kind of heavy weightlifting. I don’t know much about weightlifting, but isn’t it kind of dangerous when your body is still growing? I mean, she’s amazing, but I hope she can still lift in adulthood!

  • Dave Young

    Given that this is a powerlifting meet, her form is perfectly acceptable. The goal is to minimize your range of motion and maximize the amount of weight you can lift for a one rep max. Rarely in powerlifting do you test your 1RM; you do other things to increase it, and test it periodically. I’m not even going to wade into the YouTube comments.

  • AnnaB

    I am mostrously impressed. I am envious and I think she’s so freaking awesome.

    I wonder about the arched back, though. Why do that?

  • Sign Ahead

    I asked someone at the gym about it today. He called it “the power-lifter’s arch” and said it lets people use their lats as well as their pecs, which enables them lift much heavier weights. It also reduces the distance the weight has to travel for a successful lift.

    He didn’t think it had a lot of exercise value, but thought it was a very useful tool for competitive power-lifting.

  • Ryan Colson

    All I know is between the weirdo dubstep crap music and her :p face, I kinda wish someone had slapped her in the face and said “NO.”

  • Anonymous

    The arched back essentially stabilizes the lifter and decreases the range of motion of the bar. It allows the lifter to press more weight than is usually possible with a more traditional lifting posture. There is an ongoing debate about whether the technique is dangerous or not as it puts increased stress on the lower back. The general thinking among many – but certainly not all – power lifters is that the arch is safe if done correctly. It is not an advisable training technique – it shouldn’t be used as a way to gain muscle and strength – only as a way to max out your repetition, usually during competitions. Whether the technique is any safer or more dangerous for young lifters is unknown.

  • Sign Ahead

    I loved the :P face!

    Here’s a young woman with a ton of self confidence and focus. She’s part of a supportive community and she looks like she’s having a lot of fun. To me, that’s a great kid in a great situation. It’s what I want for every young person in my life.

    Also, if your response to a silly face involves slapping (or any other form of violence), you need to reevaluate your thinking.

  • Kaesa

    Wow. Really? You were wishing for someone to act violently towards a kid because they made a silly face and you don’t like the video uploader’s choice of music?

  • Anonymous

    Only if after the slap, she picked the slapper up and broke their back over her knee, Bane-style.

  • AnnaB

    Oh, wow, Ryan. Didn’t take long to let your feelings of inadequacy manifest, did it?

  • Anonymous

    ‘I kinda wish someone had slapped her in the face and said “NO.”‘
    ….fuck you. Not cool.

  • Anonymous

    Love it.

  • Anonymous

    “The YouTube comments on this video are filled with suggestions that Maryana Naumova‘s form is awful…”

    Weird how whenever a member of a minority group does something amazing, you get a bunch of amateurs criticizing their “form”. Gabby Douglas? Messy hair. Mayuko Kamio? Poor bow technique. The 11-year-old trans girl who wrote a letter to Obama about LGBT rights? Bad handwriting. And so on…

  • The Gaf

    Totally. This would be just as impressive with proper form if she lifts 215. Maybe even more so. A few controlled, slow lifts at that weight would be fine.

  • The Gaf

    I worry about her getting hurt. She should lift safely and not do a silly powerlifter arch, just to be a hero on the internets.

  • Anonymous

    …At a powerlifting competition? Really?

  • The Gaf

    The point is she shouldn’t BE a powerlifter at this age! Kids are too young for this.

  • Anonymous

    What would be an appropriate age, then? Fourteen, eighteen? Too young? Maybe twenty-five or thirty would be better… but then that’s just over the hill for athletes, she’ll hurt her back…

  • The Gaf

    Oh brother, never mind.

  • 00000

    Let me guess…You’d rather them do drugs.

  • 00000

    Aw, how sad you need to lash out like this.

  • Anonymous

    I find it tiresome that people are downvoting you without citing any reason. It looks dangerous, so I understand your concerns. I did some internet research it looks like powerlifting is fine for kids as long as the form is o.k., and it’s well supervised, and they have good nutrition. This article also points out that it’s less dangerous than sports like football, which can be very harmful.

  • Stephen

    I have no experience power lifting so I can’t and won’t comment on her form. Regardless of that, it is encouraging to see this girl embracing her own strength, as well as the encouragement of the men and women around her. Most women’s exercise programs emphasizes weight loss and cardio and discourage building strength and power. Most women in the gym avoid the heavy iron/ free weight section because they’ve been steered away from it by a trainer, because the guys in that section harassed them enough to make them never want to go back, or because of the social stigma against physically strong, powerful women. Criticize the young girl’s form, whether a 13 year-old is too young, whatever, but don’t take away her desire to be as strong as she can be. My five-year old daughter has fallen in love with Tae Kwon Do. She spars. She wears a mouth guard. She’s going to get bumps and bruises now and then. She’s going to do things wrong now and then, and be corrected. But I don’t ever want her to be afraid to be strong, or to do the things she loves.

  • Jesse

    People talking bad about her have 0 clue what they’re talking about. I’m no expert on lifting but I have friends who are trainers, i’ve been lifting for about 7 years now and all I can say is that her form is very very good. Her form is what it should be.

    I can tell you from personal experience and the experience of everyone I know who benches that benching with an arch is safer, better for building muscle, and better for your body than lifting with a flat back. The point of benching is to work your chest muscles – by arching you create a natural state where the weight is directly on your chest instead of on your shoulders or below your chest where you CAN cause damage and have accidents because those areas are less stable and weaker. And just to note: benching in proper form takes a lot of time to learn, she clearly has practiced a lot and has learned it.

    What’s she’s doing is not only amazing, it’s the healthiest and safest way to do it. And for those people who are worried about her health you need to relax. I know 240lbs seems like an epic shit ton to people who don’t lift but it is well within the abilities of the human body. She’s large and obviously works out a lot and she doesn’t look like she’s taking any drugs (and hopefully isn’t) – just because she’s incredibly strong and working hard on her strength doesn’t mean she’s being unhealthy. Most people (men and women) can’t do what she did at her bodyweight – she is, simply, gifted.

  • Jesse

    The Gaf – I don’t understand why you think she has poor form. She has great form. If you didn’t feel good arching your back I think you were probably doing it wrong or, for whatever reason, your body just doesn’t work well that way, or maybe you were overarching and just weren’t that flexible? I don’t know. This form is considered by many, and by all the people I know who lift, to be the safest and best way to bench. I find it to be FAR more comfortable than lifting with a flat back and far safer for my own body.

  • Thalestris

    Thanks, I wanted to know that too.

    (I’ve never seen anyone arch their back like that doing bench press, and it was making me REALLY nervous!)

    Your explanation makes a lot of sense, though. And, arch or no arch, I was impressed. I wouldn’t have been able to do that at thirteen, and probably can’t lift that much now, either. I wonder how long she’s been lifting.

  • daria

    Negativity is the standard reaction from the peanut gallery about anything.

  • daria

    Unlike everyone else, I want to know how impressed I should be. What’s the record for her age group and for boys vs girls?

  • Pink Apocalypse

    You Tube comment threads are like watching a sewage drain backing up. I never even bother trying to wade into them anymore.

  • Holly May

    I am not, nor have I ever been, a powerlifter; however, back in the day I served as an active duty Marine, so I have some experience as a female in a male dominated environment. Kudos to this young lady for competing in the sport of her choice (regardless of any gender stereotyping negativity) and kudos to the adults working with her. Didn’t anyone else catch the fact that her coach/spotter held her pigtails out of the way while she was getting into position? Loved it. Maryana is obviously very body-positive and seems to be following her bliss, so good for her!

  • Zara Jayne

    Well it’s about 17 stone she’s lifting, and my sister is 13 and she can lift about 12, but she would exercise regulary where as I can barely lift all 8 stone of her, so I think this girl is well above the average.

  • Tim Deschene

    She’s awesome. The non-lifters have no idea what they’re talking about.

  • Tim Deschene

    You couldn’t “do more than 275″ because you were doing it wrong. You can’t drive your shoulders into the bench with a flat back. Also, if you were actively trying to flatten your back by removing its natural arch, you were doing way more harm than this girl’s arch ever could.

  • Dave Young

    Records depend upon federation, so it’d be hard to say.

  • Kifre

    Eh, it’s not an illegitimate concern. Many of the sites I’ve seen recommend strength training with emphasis on hi-rep, low weight until one has ‘finished developing’ (end of puberty, I guess?). Livestrong is the only one that gave ages, but they recommended waiting until 15-16 to begin training for maximum weight:

    But really, her family and doctor and trainer are in a better position to determine whether she’s too young.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know ANYTHING about weightlifting/powerlifting, but the pigtail-wrangling was adorable. And I kinda loved how the other woman was so thrilled by her. :)

  • cbottles

    what ever haters lot of big dudes given it up to the kid good job girl keep kicking ass

  • llamathatducks

    I like that she gave the woman a matryoshka doll! I did think her name sounded Russian – I guess she’s embracing that part of her heritage :)

  • Anonymous

    I can tell your a liberal……

  • Anonymous

    I can tell you’re American. “Liberal”, lololol. Any particular reason why you felt you had to respond to a 7-month-old post, oh Gifted One?