The online powerlifting community is full of incredibly talented athletes who are sure to not only inspire you through their strength feats but also with their insight and advice.
The top 13 powerlifting girls to follow are:
- Amanda Lawrence
- Daniella Melo
- Jen Thompson
- Megan Gallagher
- Stefanie Cohen
- Jessica Buettner
- Prescillia (Lya) Bavoil
- Kimberly Walford
- Samantha Calhoun
- Maria Htee
- Heather Connor
- Meghan Scanlon
- Serena Abweh
Women’s powerlifting has rapidly grown over the past decade and now they dominate the top rankings among all powerlifting athletes, regardless of sex.
The popularity of the sport has grown largely due to the rise of social media and particularly influential women sharing their accomplishments and progress with the world.
In this article, I will go over all the women in the powerlifting world that are worth a follow, their online handle, their top accomplishments, what makes them unique, and what to expect out of them after hitting the follow button.
1. Amanda Lawrence (@miss.amanda.ann)
Amanda Lawrence is a 23 year old, and the reigning world champion in the 84kg weight class. Her best powerlifting total was at a USAPL meet in November 2020 where she totalled 646kg or 1424.2lbs!
Amanda is from Minnesota and has been powerlifting since 2016 when she was just a Junior lifter, but she continues to be a force to be reckoned with on the international stage with no signs of backing down any time soon. She currently holds the IPF Junior and Open squat, deadlift and total records in the 84kg class.
She posts her everyday training footage regularly on her Instagram as well as just everyday lifestyle pics to give you a look into her everyday life. She offers advice and reflections on her journey from time to time and is sure to be someone you grow to love seeing on your feed.
2. Daniella Melo (@daniellamelo)
Daniella Melo is best known for being Amanda Lawrence’s biggest competition in the 83kg weight class category and is a couple years younger to boot. She currently holds the IPF Junior and Open bench press record for the 84kg class.
She lifted for Team USA at IPF World Championships for several years in a row and her highest competition total was 1351.4lbs or 613kg back in 2019. You can expect great things to come since she is still training hard and is sure to keep growing as a lifter as she is only in her early 20s and just starting to make her mark in the Open division.
Her feed is full of everyday training footage, competition recaps and reflections and lifestyle content to keep you interested in seeing her progress over time.
Want to get advice on programming, technique, or competing? Speak with one of our coaches.
3. Jen Thompson (@jenthompson132)
Jen Thompson is an 11x IPF world champion best known for her incredible bench press performance. She is in the IPF Hall of Fame and has been powerlifting since the early 90s.
Her greatest performance was at the 2018 Arnold Grand Prix where she totalled 1103.4lbs/500.5kg at 63kg and 44 years old. Her best bench press was 319.7lbs/145kg which she achieved in 2018.
Therefore, if you’re looking for a Master’s level lifter who still continues to train and perform at an elite level, Jen is the person to follow. She is a great role model for any women who need reassurance that they can continue to be great regardless of age.
She mostly shares her training footage on her page as well advice and tips to implement into your own training. She is also a mother and teacher and is a great example of a woman who hasn’t sold herself short in any area of life.
4. Megan Gallagher (@megsquats)
Megan is most mostly known by her online handle of megsquats and has been one of the most influential forces in the powerlifting and strength training world. While she doesn’t hold world records like some of the others on this list, she caters her content to providing resources and education for those on their strength journeys.
Her best total was 887.3lbs/402.5kg back in 2018 in the 63kg class and most recently has altered her training to accommodate her pregnancy. She is especially a great follow in 2021 for any women who are pregnant or plan to get pregnant in the near future.
She is an example of someone who may not always be competing or crushing records, but does keep powerlifting training principles in her life regardless life circumstances.
Want to learn more from top powerlifters? Check out my article on The 15 Best Powerlifting Youtube Channels.
5. Stefanie Cohen (@steficohen)
Stefi Cohen is arguably one of the best known powerlifters because of her incredible deadlift strength at a body weight of 56kg. Her best raw total was in 2018 at 1157.4lbs/525kg with her best deadlift being 240kg/529lbs at 119lbs body weight.
In addition to being a world class powerlifter, Stefi is also a Doctor of Physical Therapy and has great insights on hot topics in the world of strength especially when it comes to injuries, fad practices and other misconceptions. She is co-owner of Hybrid Performance Method and recently launched an apparel line as well.
She is currently focusing her training on boxing but continues to put out content related to powerlifting training and posts longer thought-provoking posts from time to time sure to be interesting to female athletes.
6. Jessica Buettner (@djessicabuettner)
Canadian powerlifter Jessica Buettner, also known as the Canadian Forklift, has been killing the powerlifting game since starting as a Junior lifter in 2014. Her best performance was at the 2020 CPU Nationals where she totalled 1240.1lbs/562.5kg and most impressively deadlifted 250kg or 562.5lbs at 24 years old and a bodyweight of 72kg.
Jessica is also well known for being outspoken as someone with Type 1 Diabetes, spreads awareness about it and also speaks on how that affects her approach to lifting, nutrition and life in general. She also works as a pharmacist by day and shares all these pieces of her life and training on Instagram.
7. Prescillia (Lya) Bavoil (@lya.powerlift)
Lya Bavoil is a powerlifter from France in the 63kg and 69kg classes who has swept Europe by storm. Most recently in 2021 she hit a total of 1207lbs/547.5kg at 63kg. She currently holds the IPF world record for both the squat and total in the 63kg class.
She regularly shares her training footage, good and bad, and reflects on how things are going in and out of the gym.
Lya is also known for being autistic and spreading awareness about the fact that autism doesn’t present in one single stereotypical way and that anyone around you can be struggling. Her next competition will be the IPF World Championship in Sweden where is definitely going to put up a good fight. If you want to see how she fares make sure to give her a follow!
8. Kimberly Walford (@trackfu)
Kimberly Walford is a world class US powerlifter who currently competes as a Master’s and open level lifter in the 72kg and now, in the new 69kg weight class category. She is known as one of the greatest female powerlifters with her best total being in 2014 at 1210.3lbs/549kg but is a 7x IPF world champion and as recently as 2020 broke her own IPF deadlift record with a 244kg pull.
She represents the US Virgin Islands in international competitions and is still very active on the competition scene with her most recent meets being in 2021. Regardless of being in 40s she shows no signs of slowing down and is one of the most inspiring lifters and a role model for any woman looking to be the strongest version of herself.
9. Samantha Calhoun (@sam.s.calhoun)
Samantha Calhoun is a Team USA powerlifter who has won USAPL Nationals three times now and hit the international stage multiple times and likely has plans to do it again in the near future. She holds the current IPF 63kg deadlift record of 221.5kg, but has since pulled 227.5kg at the Arnold Grand Prix event in 2020 suggesting she is not done defending her title.
Sam is also an active powerlifting coach and often shares accomplishments done by her athletes. Her captions are often reflective and relatable even though her feats of strength are incredible. She is often found also sharing her own tips for executing lifts or even managing expectations in competition and is an all around great athlete to follow.
10. Maria Htee (@maria_htee)
Maria Htee is a Canadian powerlifter who consistently makes it to the international level in the 57kg category and currently holds both the 57kg total record at 473.5kg and the squat record of 178.5kg. She may be small in stature but she is an absolute powerhouse and one of the strongest women in Canada.
She hasn’t competed since 2019 she will likely be back on the platform before the end of the year. She often shares everyday training footage beyond just squat, bench and deadlift and comes off as a down-to-earth athlete focused on always doing her best in training.
11. Heather Connor (@heather.e.connor)
Heather Connor is a pint-sized world class lifter who competes in the 47kg class and holds the IPF world deadlift record for her weight class of 176kg. She represents Team USA on International platforms and has won IPF worlds twice in her class and competes mostly in the USAPL at home.
She took 3 American records with her 143kg/315lbs squat, 192.5kg/424lbs deadlift and 408kg/899lbs total at USAPL Nationals in June 2021 making her the strongest 47kg lifter in the world. If you’re looking to be inspired by what the human body can do, regardless of gender, look no further than Heather.
12. Meghan Scanlon (@Megscanlift)
Meghan Scanlon is a 63kg and 57kg powerlifter from the U.S. and while she may not hold a world record, she displayed one of the greatest feats of strength in 2021 when she gave birth to twins and roughly 6 months later came second at USAPL Nationals in the 57kg weight category.
Her best total was 1085.7lbs/492.5kg in 2019 at the Arnold SBD Grand Prix where she hit over a 400lbs squat and deadlift and a 259lbs bench!
She shares her lifting and personal life on her social media and often adds longer reflections in her captions that really let you get to know more about her and her views on training and life in general. She often shares tips, cues and general advice for powerlifters and is a great source of information.
She is overall such an inspiration to so many and a great example of what potential women have when they choose to not hold themselves back.
13. Serena Abweh (@rena_serenaa)
Serena Abweh is IPF lifter who has competed as both a teen and junior division lifter in the 47kg weight class category and by 20 years old has hit the powerlifting world by storm. The deadlift is definitely her most impressive lift at a whopping 140kg.
The most inspiring and unique part of Serena’s story is that she is someone who has battled and overcome anorexia throughout her teen years and has come out on top as an International Junior powerlifter who deadlifts over 300lbs. She often shares her everyday training footage, private mental health struggles in addition to funny memes sure to get a laugh out of you.
Serena is someone you definitely won’t regret following and we’re bound to see some great feats of strength come out of her this year.
It’s important to surround yourself with those who inspire you to be what you wish to become or are able to provide you with the tools to reach your potential. Therefore, following other women who have similar goals to you can help you stay motivated and progress towards bettering yourself.
While there is no shortage of strong people on the internet sharing their journeys, this list of 13 powerlifting athletes is a quick list of some of the best profiles out there to get you started on getting more strong women displayed on your feed.
About The Author
Elena Popadic has worked within the fitness industry for over 6 years, is co-host of the Squats and Thoughts podcast and trains and competes as a powerlifter. She has a BSc in Life Sciences from McMaster University, a Postgrad Certificate in Public Relations from Humber College and is currently pursuing a MSc Occupational Therapy at Western University. Connect with her on Instagram or LinkedIn.