UMD’s Uplift: a New, Inclusive Fitness Community

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending a session of UMD’s new workout program: Uplift. Held on Saturday mornings in the School of Public Health fitness center, Uplift aims to create an inclusive workout environment in weight rooms for women and under-represented identities. When I first heard about this opportunity, I was surprised that more people weren’t talking about it. I can confidently say that something almost all women struggle with, especially those like myself that are just getting back into an exercise routine, is using machines in the weight room. Whether it's the intimidation factor of a male-dominated environment or the pressure of using the equipment quickly enough for others to use, the weight room easily  turns a lot of people away. As somebody who used to implement a lot more lifting-related workouts in a daily routine, I understand how difficult it may be to utilize the resources the school provides because of these constraints. Luckily, seniors Sara Kohorst and Rachel Edsall started Uplift with these concerns in mind. Whether you want a space to complete your own workout or need help creating one, Uplift is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of a weight room on campus in a more comforting environment.

Woman doing box jumps

As certified trainers, they have reserved the weight room at SPH for two hours per week to allow women and under-represented identities to learn more about the benefits of weight-lifting and become more comfortable with the equipment. Sophomore Amber Owens, another certified trainer and weight-lifting savage, is also present for Uplift to stand by and help those that need assistance in the weight room. During my experience at the session, the three trainers answered all of my questions regarding my form, how to use the equipment, and what specific exercises are beneficial for the muscles I was trying to target. I started off by completing my own leg-day routine. If I had any questions or needed any advice, I made sure to turn to them with my concerns. Sara, Rachel and Amber also helped me create my own personal workout to target my biceps and triceps, which I have continued to use on my own as I exercise and achieve my weightlifting goals. They helped me write out the routine in a way that I would remember.

Woman doing bicep curls

My sample workout is as follows:

  1. Bicep curl (3 x 8-10) → bi + tri

    1. Push back at bottom (palms facing sides)

    2. Rotate coming up (top → palms facing chest)

  2. Tricep pullovers (3 x 8-10) → tri

    1. Shoulders on bench

    2. Main target: triceps

    3. Keep core and glutes engaged in table top

  3. Seated ez-bar curl (3 x 8-10) → bi

    1. Seated bicep curl

Woman deadlifting

Having the opportunity to implement new exercises in my routine not only got me excited to get into weight-lifting again, but also inspired me to continue to branch out when it comes to exercising. Instead of sticking to an old routine, I was able to learn more about the equipment available and how I could use it to my advantage. I strongly encourage those who are able to attend and that are looking to learn more about weightlifting — or even just trying to find a comfortable place to utilize the equipment — to consider Uplift sessions. 

Through first-hand experience, I know how intimidating the weight room is. I am very excited about Uplift and the opportunities those who attend have to improve on their weight-lifting progress. If you have any further questions about this program, you can visit their information site to get in contact with Sara and Rachel.