'Female Weightlifters Can Still Be Feminine' Says Supermum Who Can Drag Her Own VW Polo

Petite Becki Barrett is only 5ft 1in tall but she doesn’t break a sweat as she lifts her six-stone sofa with one arm to hoover underneath.

She doesn’t even have to ask her six-year-old daughter, Kayla, who adds an extra three stone to its weight, to move out of the way.

During her weekly shopping trip, Becki singlehandedly carries all the bags – and Kayla – with staggering ease. And she manages all the ironing while holding her daughter in one arm.

But Becki, from Reading, isn’t your average mum.

When she’s not looking after Kayla or working as a nursery key worker, she’s spending time on her favourite hobby – weightlifting.

Incredibly, Becki can deadlift weights up to 21 stone. She can also raise an eight-stone log above her head. She’s so strong, she can carry her 14-stone boyfriend, Adam Hales, 34.

And she can pull the family’s Volkswagen Polo – with both council enforcement officer Adam and Kayla inside.

Now Becki is set to compete in the final of England’s Strongwoman Championships after qualifying in April this year. She is the only mum to compete in her class – the under 63 kilos.

Becki said: “It’s a shock to a lot of people that I’m so strong. I’m quite small so when I tell people I’m competing in England’s Strongwoman Championships no one really believes me.”

She added: “I think a lot of people associate the competition with big, butch women. But I want to show that this isn’t the case.

“I even do my nails, hair and make-up when I’m competing to show that you can still be feminine.”

The qualifier, held at the Centre for Functional Performance in Watford, involved an eye-watering set of strength tasks.

Becki was tested to her limit with 70 kilo squats, lifting a 35 kilo log, pulling a 100 kilo metal sheet, and carrying a metal sheet with 100-kilo weights stacked on top.

She also had to carry 40 and 50 kilo sandbags and barrels.

What’s the secret of her strength? Becki trains six days a week.

She and Adam, who competes in Strongman competitions, have converted their garage at home into a makeshift gym, complete with an array of heavy weights and Strongman equipment – including five stone logs and a 62 stone tractor tyre.

She said: “When we train together we tend to bicker a lot. Adam does tend to push me too hard but I think that’s good for me.”

Becki admits juggling training with family and work life can be hard.

She drops Kayla at school at 7.50am before heading to work. She finishes at 1.30pm – fitting in a 45 minute exercise regime before picking Kayla up again at 3.10pm.

And she still finds time to help Kayla with her homework and do all the chores.

She said: “There aren’t many mums who compete in Strongwoman - it can be really hard work juggling everything but I love my hobby so I don’t mind.

“Thankfully Kayla is really interested in what I’m doing – she loves watching me train and coming to competitions.

“I ask her if she’d like to try it when she’s older and she’s adamant that she won’t at the moment but she does like to have a go sometimes.

“I think I’m a positive role model for her – it’s good to show her that anything is possible.”

Becki has set her sights on taking home first prize in the Strongwoman final, due to be held in September this year. But, incredibly, she had never even picked up a weight until two years ago.

She said: “I had never thought about weightlifting. I kept fit and went to the gym but I’d stick to the running machines. I thought weights were for people who wanted to be big and muscly.

“It wasn’t until I met Adam that I was introduced to it. He convinced me to have a go at weightlifting and we were both surprised by my strength.”

She added: "If you’d told me I would be competing in Strongwoman three years ago, I would have laughed but this has given me a new outlook on life.

"It’s shown me that the sky really is the limit.”

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