My name is Janis Finkelman, and I am a powerlifter. I don’t have much of an athletic bacground–I rode horses as a principle activity from childhood into my early twenties. In April of 2012 I began training to compete in powerlifting. This blog is intended as a space in which I can discuss not only my physical training but the psychological aspects of adjusting to powerlifting as an activity, becoming used to the idea of being an “athlete” (one semester of track in high school is the most time I have spent being “athletic” in any official or competitive capacity), and sometimes rant about gym culture and gender rolls therein.

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Some physical stats as well as current lifting PR’s (personal records, for those of you unversed at this sort of pastime):

Age: 29

Height: 62″

Reach: 68″

I have competed in the 105, 114, 123, 132 and 148 pound weight classes. I currently hold the world record total and deadlift in the 123 class.

Best competition lifts:

Squat (no wraps): 303

Paused bench: 192

Deadlift: 454


Best meet total: 950 at 123 no wraps

Visit my YouTube channel to see me lifting.


24 thoughts on “About

      1. I honestly really don’t do that many ab-isolating exercises…I think I’m going to try to make that really clear in my blog. Your abdomen is involved in so many major lifts if your form is correct; it gets WORKED if you support yourself with it during a squat or even benching. I do an (that’s right, one) ab exercise during what works out to be about half of my workouts. I do it hard, and I do it honestly. Hmm, blog post wheels are turning here.

  1. Ok, I totally want your email address because I would LOVE to discuss some of the stuff you’ve been talking about on FFG about form, function, and objectification; and the marriage between athletics and academia. And abs… but you didn’t mention that on FFG.

    1. Feel free to email me at kyprogenes (at) gmail.com (use the actual at sign and get rid of the spaces; I’m under the impression that bots can spam email addresses on wordpress pages). I’d love to discuss the topics you mention more!!

    1. Many thanks, and I really hope to see a lot of updates from you in my reader! There’s nothing better than finding other women in my weight class who have really solid lifting experience.

  2. Hi – I’m curious how you explain your incredible almost 3 x BW deadlift versus your 1.5 x BW squat? Do you think it is your body proportions making the DL easier for you? Or somehow you are perhaps using your back more in the deadlift, and there isn’t the same freedom in the squat? Did you always find the DL easy?

  3. Hey there. So glad I just came across your page. I am at the first step of getting into this weight training lifestyle. And I honestly feel like I need some personal guidance. I have read many articles but nothing is really hitting that sweet spot of knowledge for me. Which could just be me procrastinating the first step, to let to go of comfort. I grew up eating very unhealthy, no veggi intake and mostly fried foods. I did sports year around growing up and loved it. But I was unaware of my unhealthy eating lifestyle. I am married now, 21 and just had a baby. She is now almost 6 months.. Well I am desiring to be physically strong for my family. I want to be able to carry my husbands dead weight and easily maneuver carrying such weight. So I read on one of your blogs that you were a skinny fat person. Well that is where I am at and I am ready to change and be dedicated. I just need some guidance.. Would you be interested in being my personal help in this journey? I am understanding more and more the importance of food intake, and what I am fueling my body with. I am willing to eat just about anything for the health benefits. I am so hungry to be healthy and reliable. I would love to hear back from you if you are wanting to help a sister out. I am new to using WordPress, still getting familiar. Is there a way for us to email through WordPress?
    Anywho! Thanks for the encouragement. Hope to hear back.

    1. Thank you so much! Powerlifting is so important to me; it ends up meaning much more than physical activity. I have learned more about myself training for it in the past year than I believe I have in three years of bumbling around in grad school. Thanks for reading!

  4. Hi!
    I stumbled upon one of your posts when googling female powerlifter body shape. I am a year into lifting with the exact same physique as you – short femurs and log arms. I have an awesome deadlift but I squat like Bambi! Have you found ways to train around these issues? I’d love to chat with you about it – I’m currently really working my squat in preparation for the BDFPA World Championships in November. I too am going through the interesting issue of body image and ideals – as a psychologist and one who struggles with eating behaviour, it fascinates me. It’s so nice to read about someone else in the same position as me – I really suspected I might be alone in that regard!

    1. “Squat like Bambi”–THAT is a great description. I’m going to have to go find a gif of Bambi doing his splayed-leg thing.

      As far as working with one’s femurs on squat if one is like you or I–well, strengthen the hell out of your hamstrings and glutes, because you probably use them particularly dominantly in your squat work. Otherwise, mobility through a wider-stance squat may be something you want to try to improve/pursue. It’s all up to the individual lifter! I definitely don’t have things figured out yet, but my squat HAS gotten better recently (I need to update my PRs on this page!).

      As far as the nutrition stuff…ugh. I have good days and bad days right now with my mentality towards it. I’m happiest if I’m dropping pounds on the scale, and that’s literally the opposite of what I’m [purposefully] doing in my lifting career at the moment, so it’s just a roller coaster. I’ll keep writing about it. Sometimes, honestly, it’s just painful stuff to deal with. Cheers and here’s to figuring our way through things in a somewhat hostile culture!

      1. Thanks for your reply. I’m glad you’ve said that hamstrings and glutes are the way forward, as I started a mission on them 2 weeks ago and decided to adopt a wide stance. Nice to hear that you pursue the same avenue. I seem to be having two conversations with you across WordPress now, so I’ll see if I can find you on twitter etc to keep an eye out for your news. I’m @lesleylaver and http://www.lesleylaver.com

      2. just saw this, but I’m actually not on twitter. I can’t figure out how to get into the twitter groove/communicating that way, so I don’t use it. It’s so weird–I adapt quite well to all other social media but I cannot mesh with twitter.

  5. Hey Janice
    I was reading am article on Elite fts today that was all about you “shitty day” video blog. Wow could I relate. I have been training since January and am 2 weeks out from my first meet. As much as I never wanted to admit it, I dealt with depression, anxiety mixed in with a lil ADHD all my life. Nothing debilitating but defiantly affects me. Some times after dealing with it all day at work training is the last thing you want to do, even though it’s all you want to do! I actually just realized the other day I haven’t missed a single training session my trainer has written for me. Now I’ve definalty had some shitty ass days but forced my way through it which I am very proud of but it there may have been some days I should’ve caved. I acttally started last week jotting down notes to try and write something on this very subject… You beat me to the punch and I’m glad you did because now I know i should. I’m sure there are loads of people battling their “demons” and training through them more than we could ever know.
    Thanks for your honesty

    1. I think that’s what I want most with this blog–to have a place in which I can be honest about my lifting and not portray it as something that’s perfect, elevated, or epic even 30% of the time. The really good days are few and many of the days are hard and discouraging. If you couple that challenge with any amount of self-doubt, this pursuit can become a psychological drain very quickly. I’m trying to reverse years of self-dislike and consequential self-abuse, and this blog is an illustration of that process. The work isn’t done yet, and sometimes I have very dark days. I should write about some of what happened this week–it wasn’t pretty. Thanks for relating your own story and I’m SO glad you stopped by my blog. Best wishes on your own journey.

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