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Hartley Larson: Squatting Deep and Asking Questions

Hartley only found the squat rack a few years ago and looking at her you would think she has been living there for years. This power builder has it made with all the equipment she needs at home. Learning as she goes, Hartley has come a long way in a short time. From bodybuilding to powerlifting, she has been vastly gaining knowledge in the gym and transferring it to her workouts. The results are easy to see.

How old are you, where are you from, and do you squat ass to grass?
I am 22. I lived in Oklahoma most of my life, but I am newly Minnesotan. Squats don’t count if they aren’t ass to grass 🙂

What areas of weight training do you train and what is your best squat?
I mostly train bodybuilding style, but I have done stints of power building (never straight powerlifting) in the past. My best squat was probably 145 lbs for 5 sets of 5 at around 100 lbs. I’ve never actually tested my max, haha. I wish I could say that number was higher, but I’ve spent a lot of my time as a lifter in a caloric deficit, which doesn’t do much for strength gains. That’ll come in the future, though. But I’m proud to have made it there from being afraid to squat the bar just 2 years ago.

Where do you train? Do you have a lifting team or partner?
Right now I have a gym at the house, which is super nice because I honestly train in pajamas half of the time. Haha. Before that, I would train at my college’s gym. I’m not currently a part of a team.

How did you into Power building?
It started as a mix of wanting to try something new and wanting to be able to work with heavier weights. So I went from 3×8-12 to 5×5 and other adjustments like that.

What does a normal leg day workout look like for you?
Squats, always. Then leg curls, leg extensions, calf raises, cable kickbacks and cable pull throughs (for the glutesss). I also do abductor/adductor cable work. Sometimes I’ll throw in weighted lunges and donkey kicks. I’ve been playing around with my training program recently, trying different combinations and targeting different muscle groups.

So what’s next for you? Any goals you have to hit? (short and long term)?
Relatively short term, I am trying to cut weight and maybe do a photoshoot of some sort. This leads into my long term goal of officially launching my online coaching business. I have a few clients already, but we haven’t started marketing or anything yet. Also long term, I want my next bulk to really bring up my legs and glutes.

When you lift heavy, when was the first time you out lifted a guy? And what do your non-lifter friends think about what you do?
The first time I out lifted a guy (that I know of) was while I was in college. I was training upper body and noticed the guy benching next to me was acting kind of weird. At one point, he even went to the other side of the weight room. He kept glaring at me. I couldn’t figure out what was going on until I noticed that I was putting up more weight than him. Hahaha. I guess he was embarrassed. Not hating, though 🙂 My nonlifting friends just like to poke fun at me. But it’s cool, I’ll convince them to join me someday. Haha.

What do you tell women who think lifting heavy makes you look “manly”?
I used to think the same way when I was first introduced to lifting, but it has absolutely made me more feminine. Building muscle only accentuates your shape and curves. I think every woman should do it. It’s helped my confidence and self-image considerably.

Anything you would like to tell the younger lifters? and/or anything else you would like to add?
To people who are just getting started: Stick with it. It is a process and it does take time, but the benefits of lifting are absolutely worth the time and effort.

Follow Hartley on Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, & SnapChat: hartleylarson

Founder of Fight Against Chicken Legs, part-time workout stuff, sometimes making websites look pretty, and saving the world #OneRepAtATime