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For those of you who are not familiar with the sport of Powerlifting you may not get it, but I was very excited when Kimberly Walford accepted my invitation for an interview. Kimberly is the epitome of female powerlifting in the US and abroad. She primarily competes with the USAPL/IPF federation and holds countless records and titles. I first came across Kim when I first decided to start competing myself and quickly saw that she was the one that held all the records for my weight class. I immediately admired her strength and have been following her on social media ever since. Here are some of her top accomplishments and her answers to questions many female powerlifters including myself want to know about such a powerlifting great!
Name: Kimberly C. Walford
Age: 36
Height: 5’6
Weight Class: 63kg (prior), currently 72kg (Competition BW 67.5kg & under)
Age Class: Open

Training/Competition Bests
Squat: 410lbs (186kg)
Bench Press: 242lbs (110kg) | Equipped (single ply) 248lbs (112.5kgs
Deadlift: 529lbs (240kg) | Equipped (single ply) 556.7lbs (252.5kg)
Total: 1181lbs (536kg) | Equipped (single ply) 1168lbs (529.80kgs)


How old were you when you first started powerlifting and how did you get into it?

If we count the first time I picked up a weight, I started training about 13-14 yrs old while running high school track. I started training powerlifting about 21-22 years old.

What is a typical training day like for you? How often do you train?
A typical training day for me consist of some combination of squat and bench traditional lifts and/or variations of squat and bench plus accessory work, once a week I train deadlift. I train overall about 2-3x a week depending on work schedule.

What supplements do you use regularly, if any, and what brands?
I use protein, creatine, pre-workout/intra or post work out. I use Nutrabolics products.

Did you have any fitness role models or influences?
When I first started powerlifting I would read Powerlifting magazine USA. Additionally, my Coach Gene Bell (multi time IPF World open and master’s champion/record holder) and fellow powerlifter/strongwoman Jill Mills and powerlifter Kara (Bohigian) Smith were big influences when I began the sport. Over the years of my career, my support system/influence circle has grown and have pulled inspiration and motivation from a variety of people including family, friends, powerlifters, and other athletes.

Do you ever get nervous before a meet/competition? If so, What do you do to help you focus?
There’s a little bit of nervousness before comps, but I’ve learned to block it out. I believe that the nervousness is something we create in our own heads because of anxiety for wanting to do well and trying to compensate for the “ nknown” scenarios/factors related to competing in a meet. Ultimately only we can control it. To combat nervousness, I remind myself of the hardwork and dedication I put into preparing for the meet. I also remind myself that at this point I have done all I can do to prepare and now its time to perform.

What one piece of equipment or accessory is a MUST HAVE for you in a meet or while training?
One piece of equipment would be my lever belt . Although I’m very thankful for my raw strength, utilizing a belt has allowed me to lift way more then without a belt.

What is your favorite lift? Deadlift, squat, or bench? And Why?

I think it’s no surprise that my favorite lift is the deadlift. It’s my favorite lift because it is my last lift. It is the last opportunity during a meet to fight for a championship, record, placement, and/or PR in the meet.

Is maintaining a low percentage of body fat important to you as a powerlifter?
No, it’s more important for me to focus on ingesting the proper and ideal amounts of protein, carbs, fat, water, and supplements on a daily basis for my bodyweight. By doing so, (in combo with sleep and ideal training program) you set yourself up to become the most effective/efficient form of you to compete. Ultimately, your metabolism adapts to your bodies adjusting to such factors.

There are some stereotypes associated with female powerlifters such as they are too big/bulky and they look like men. Almost like with female bodybuilders. So what is the most important advice you would give to a female who is thinking about powerlifting but is afraid to because of these stereotypes?
I’d say for the most part stereotypes are just stereotypes. Since stereotypes are perspectives that are not neccesarily based on fact, but opinion the basis for their credibility is flawed from the start. So, I would suggest that they take the time to do research about the effects of strength training and supplementation related to powerlifting and female powerlifters” so they will know the facts. Additionally, I would review academic“scholarly, peer-reviewed” journal articles because the research is being done by academic experts (M.D.s/PhDs, M.S., CSCS, “legitimately certified and experienced powerlifting coaches” etc.). Strength training effects is one factor and combined with gender can result in different as well as similar physical and performance effects because of gender. Additionally, supplementation whether legal or illegal (depending on federation) also plays a role in the physical and performance effects of a powerlifter (regardless of gender). A lifter and/or coach taking the time to research these factors will provide them an informed understanding of how such factors play a role in a lifter’s powerlifting career.
What do you think about the overall coverage (from media/fans) of powerlifting as a sport in comparison to bodybuilding and Olympic weightlifting? Do you think it is overshadowed and does not receive the attention it deserves?
I believe that overall coverage of the sport of powerlifting has increased over the decades, as it’s become more popular. Highlights includes during the 80s powerlifting was featured on the tv show Wide World of Sports and also on the World Series of Powerlifting. Additionally, countries around the world have featured powerlifting on national and local tv. Fast forward to present day, thanks to the boom of the internet social media has increased the coverage of powerlifting via Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, blogs, podcast, and live web stream of powerlifting events. However, my opinion overall coverage (in relation to bodybuilding and Olympic powerlifting) is definitely less then bodybuilding and olympic weighlifting. I believe one of the reasons those sports have more attention is due to their larger following worldwide. So hopefully, as conventional powerlifting popularity continues to increase so will the support of coverage of our events.

author: Chanae Smith

Chanae Smith is an aspiring Fitness Model, Bodybuilder, Power Lifter, and mother of two. She is a Certified Personal Trainer at Knight's Gym in Philadelphia. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of PA and two PA state powerlifting records. Chanae received her Personal Training Certification in 2013. Primarily using weight lifting to regain her youthful physique, its no wonder she has become a die hard advocate in support of weight training for females. At Knight's Gym she has helped develop and facilitate various trainings that incorporate the use of weights sensitive to the needs of women.


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