PCB female weightlifter sets her sights on the Olympics

Inside a local gym a small but mighty lady is really raising the bar on weightlifting...
Inside a local gym a small but mighty lady is really raising the bar on weightlifting competition.(WJHG)
Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 9:42 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - A local woman is working to build an Olympic team in Panama City Beach.

And she’s doing it one lift at a time.

“I was introduced into Florida High School weight lifting at Arnold High School,” said Emily Bennett, personal trainer and Olympic weightlifting coach.

“I spent a year in college doing powerlifting and Olympic lifting and I absolutely fell in love with Olympic lifting.”

So much so that this 21-year-old 126-pound dynamo could well be on her way to the Olympics either as a coach or a competitor.

“My best snatch max is 185. My best clean and jerk is 215,” said Bennett

For those of us who may not be versed in the lingo.

“Snatch is a bottom-to-top straight movement with an overhead squat. A clean and jerk is picking it up from the ground catching it in a front squat and then jerking it overhead,” said Bennett.

Emily Bennett may be young, but she knows her stuff.

“I was the recipient of USAW’s Women in coaching scholarship and so that scholarship paid for my certification so that I was able to come back home in hopes of starting an Olympic team out of this gym,” said Bennett.

Rachael Mccormick is joining Bennett in this uplifting adventure training under Bennett.

“I do program, I do video feedback I train with her every two weeks so we can really focus on technique and stuff like that,” said Bennett.

Bennett is a stickler for technique.

“I had a really good track record in high school,” said Bennett. “Reality set in when I was thrown to the wolves in the open women’s category in college but when I came back home that was when I was forced to really learn the sport myself.”

Since there was no women’s Olympic weightlifting coach in the area it’s been pretty much just her from the get-go.

“I didn’t have a coach, I didn’t have a team at the time,” said Bennett. “So I had to learn the sport. I had to learn the ins and outs of it so I was really able to apply it to myself and I fell in love with how technique-oriented it was.”

Bennett is so excited to finally put some muscle behind her dream she wants other women to have the same opportunity.

“My goal within the next year, two years pushing would be to develop an Olympic team of out this gym here. Fitness 360,” said Bennett.

She’s hoping to lift the sport to new heights and Bennett certainly puts her money where her weight is.

“I typically work out for an average of two hours a day,” said Bennett. “This past July I’m fortunate enough to say I won the national championships in my weight class.”

Even if you don’t have any Olympic aspirations no matter your age, you can still work toward better health.

“I am a huge believer in that you have to have a strong foundation to build upon,” said Bennett.

“So you find those weak links those cracks in the foundation and fill those in first. Whether that be stretching, whether that be isolated strength training, stabilization training, and then you’ll be able to build upon that. Whether you want to truly lose weight, whether you want to build a little muscle mass or whether you want to be able to do day-to-day activities without any pain.”

Bennett is also a personal trainer. If you’re interested in joining in on the training Bennett says the best way to contact her is through social media, mostly Facebook, or drop by the gym, Fitness 360. The address is 12202 Hutchison Blvd. Panama City Beach. The phone number at the gym is 850-249-7725