Sarah Huckleby has been bringing some serious energy to the bar since she was just 10 years old.

By Faith Brar
January 27, 2020

Sarah Huckleby is only 15 years old, but she's a force to be reckoned with when it comes to powerlifting.

Last weekend, the Atlanta native set not one, but three national records at a powerlifting meet. Her stats: She lifted 332.2 pounds in the squat, 402 pounds in the deadlift, and she benched 155 pounds. Insane, right?

Huckleby took to Instagram to document her incredible record-breaking moments. Take a look:

"I was so happy with the results," Huckleby tells Shape. "It's something I had been working so hard to do."

Even though there aren't a lot of girls in her age group who compete in powerlifting, Huckleby developed a passion for it when she was just 10 years old, she says. "I got into powerlifting with my dad," she explains. "We walked into his friends' CrossFit gym and he asked me to roll a 90-pound barbell to the front of the gym." (Related: This Woman Swapped Cheerleading for Powerlifting and Found Her Strongest Self Ever)

At the time, Huckleby's dad really did just want the barbell out of the way, she shares. But instead of rolling it, Huckleby says she picked it up and walked it to the front of the gym. "Ever since then, my dad has encouraged me to do what I love, and that happens to be powerlifting," she explains. (Get more powerlifting inspo from Instagram sensation @megsquats.)

At first, Huckleby started going to the gym with her dad more often and liked lifting heavy for fun, she says. But when she saw her dad compete in a powerlifting competition for the first time, she realized she was ready to take on the challenge herself. "I saw him up on that platform and said, 'I want to do that,'" she shares. "It looked like so much fun." (Related: Olympic-Style Weightlifting Women Who Make Lifting Heavy Sh*t Look Easy)

Now, five years later, Huckleby is one of the most promising powerlifters in her age group in the country. "To set my national records was amazing," she tells Shape. "It didn’t hit me until a day or two after when I realized that I actually set them. After I deadlifted 402 pounds, I cried, and I can say that is so unlike me." (Inspired? Here are a few tips to amp up your weight training workouts.)

But for Huckleby, powerlifting means more than just setting records and earning accolades. "Powerlifting has empowered me so much," she says. "I used to be super shy and now I have so much more confidence than I ever thought I would. I never thought I would get up on a platform in front of 100+ people and do what I love." (Related: Powerlifting Healed This Woman's Injury—Then She Became A World Champion)

Now that she's gaining recognition, Huckleby hopes her story will inspire other young girls to do what they love, regardless of what people may think. "If you find something you love, do it all the way," she says. "Just because someone doubts you, that doesn't mean you have to doubt yourself. I've learned that there are so many good people out there who will stand up for you even though they don't know you, which is amazing. So, just do you, and if you love it, people will accept you for it." Wise words from a badass girl.

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