Weightlifting is the Coolest Sport: All Hail the Mighty Singlet

Published: 5/29/2021

by Malia Warren

Today we’re here to convince you that weightlifting is one of the coolest sports around. Yes, watching people lift insane amounts of weight is awesome, but have you seen the outfits?

In this sport, you can get so creative with the outfits, socks, gear; it’s no wonder the sport is gaining popularity. You can literally lift in a kitten singlet, with a leopard print belt, flowery knee sleeves, AT THE SAME TIME, and feel like a badass moving weight.

Don’t let a requirement to wear a singlet keep you from competing. Plus, I’ll talk later about how to make your own!

A rough start

You’ve seen badass Quiana Welch in her jaw-dropping singlet right? Not only did she look amazing, she lifted amazing and would’ve posted a new American Record at 109 kilos (240 lbs) on her 3rd attempt but the head judge DQ’d her for her outfit.

Photo courtesy of HookGrip on Instagram. Athlete: Quiana Welch

Are you KIDDING ME!?

According to Garage Strength‘s breakdown and analyzation of the rules on outfits, I have to agree, she was within the rights of the rule book. Additionally, there were multiple opportunities (hello, how about during the introduction lineup?!) to notify her that her outfit supposedly “didn’t meet” their standards. But they waited until her 3rd, yes, her THIRD Snatch attempt, to DQ her potentially record making lift.

If that wasn’t bad enough, people called her a “Thot”, a “Hoe”, told her she was “disrespecting the sport”.

Look, this lady put in the hard work and showed up with her lifts – her outfit is the last thing that anyone should be worried about. You think she woke up one day, thought it’d be fun to lift, wear a legless singlet to make people mad, and land a 240lb Snatch? Nah. I’ve seen way more athletes actually disrespect the sport by vocally disagreeing with judges and intentionally slamming barbells down on the platform.

Though this is a crappy one-off situation, there are some positives to take from this: Weightlifting is still one of the coolest sports around.

Why?

Because you can do exactly what Quiana Welch did and be unapologetically you.

The outfit she wore was “controversial” in some critics eyes, but she and Alyssa Ritchey (who also wore a legless singlet that SAME meet) paved the way for legless singlets at that 2018 Pan Ams Trial Session in 2018. Lifters all over the world embraced what they saw: women refusing to bow down to societal norms.

Fast forward to today and legless singlets are totally a thing. In my most eloquent voice, I’ll send a big “F*ck Off” to anyone that has an issue with women lifting in a legless singlet. Women have been wearing blinged out gymnastics leotards at the Olympic stage since it’s inception.

The purpose of wearing a legless singlet in a weightlifting meet is similar to why gymnasts wear them: it allows free movement in the thighs. Duh. So why do we call a woman wearing a legless singlet a hoe? Is because it’s never been done before?

Oh wait, no, it has been done before:

Video Courtesy of YouTube/HookGrip 1991

Yup. Legless singlets at USAW Nationals in 1991. FOR SHAME. *eye roll*

I personally don’t do the legless singlet… yet. But that’s because I’m not quite ready to. I’ve seen plenty of athletes on stage, both local and national, rocking a legless singlet and funky colors.

No less than 10 times

The word “any colour” shows up in the USAW Official Rule Book 10 times. No must be “solid color” rules either. How many sports do you know that allow you to wear *almost* whatever you want? Science has shown that when we look good, we feel good, and undoubtedly perform good, er, well.

According to section 4.2.1 of the Rulebook:

This is straight from the 2020 USAW Rule Book, ya’ll.

You gotta love that this sport is so seemingly open to athlete’s individualities right?

Sure, there are some announcements that come out here and there threatening to change the allowance of this and that when it comes to outfits.

But this is from the 2020 handbook – which means legless singlets are here to stay.

Of the two sports centered around just lifting weights competitively, weightlifting is the only one that allows such expression in their outfits. I feel like we don’t need to mention CrossFit because it is already well known that you have freedom in terms of an outfit – unless you’re at THE CrossFit Games. where you have to wear their provided outfits.

When it comes to Powerlifting, however, the rules are opposite. “Only supportive lifting suits from manufacturers accepted onto the ‘Approved List of Apparel and Equipment for Use at IPF Competitions’ shall be permitted for use in competitions.”

Photo by Frederick News Post/Grace Beahm. All rights belong to their respective owners.

So, basically, you have to choose from certain brands they approve of, to be allowed to wear it at competition.

I’m not knocking Powerlifting as a sport, at all. But, forcing athletes to choose a certain kind of outfit, from a preselected brand, seems a little harsh.

From what I can find, the rules are a little more relaxed at local meets in recent years, depending on the judges. However, if you will be going to the national stage expect to wear only the pre-approved outfit and gear.

I should note, this isn’t much different from a high-level (Olympic Games) stage where you would be required to wear a Team USA singlet. However, up until that point, as long as you’re within the rulebook’s guidelines, show off your personality with that outfit, girl!

Still not convinced?

I get it.

It’s so hard walking onto a stage in front of people you don’t know and lifting in a singlet. They’re tighter than normal clothes, show a little more than you’d like, and you feel silly wearing it in public.

But, you wear a swimsuit in public right?

In front of people you don’t know?

You can do this.

I’ll admit, it’s a little overwhelming at first, rocking that singlet.

However, think about how hard you work. The blood, sweat, and tears you put into your training to be a better athlete. Let all of that drive you and don’t let one outfit keep you from competing.

Wear to buy

Pretty much any color, any style, you can find it! You can even have a custom one made for you. Peep @snortlifesinglets for some really rad designs!

There isn’t much available when you google “legless singlets” (or really, women’s singlets in general) but I was able to find that Savage Swim also has a collection of legless leo’s too! You could always go with a Fleo singlet for a super cute look too.

As far as exciting (grrrr leopard print) singlets though, you’d do best with a custom singlet.

But, if you’re like me, and not sure you want to commit to the investment of a singlet just yet – make your own! The rules state that it has to be one piece, so for my last meet I went and bought a full jumpsuit (Calvin Klein) from Poshmark and formed it into a weightlifting singlet.

I cut the legs off and sewed them together using my standard sewing machine (nothing special needed here).

It was so easy because the structure of the suit was already there; all I had to do was figure out how to get the shorts the right length. For this I turned to my favorite pair of workout shorts to gauge the length I wanted and came up with a 3″ inseam.

I gave myself a little more wiggle room for a fold over and sew and I used a zig-zag stitch to allow for some movement in the leg area. It came out GREAT and it was SO comfy and stylish. I felt good, I looked good, and I hit my lifts that day. Totally recommend this option if you’re handy with the sewing machine and not wanting to chance the fit of singlets on the market.

Hint: You could also sew a form-fitting top and bottom together (Nike Pro compression shorts come to mind here) but they do have to be connected so that they form a one-piece/leotard.

I’ll leave you with this: weightlifting has no age, race, or gender limit – which quite literally makes it one of the coolest sports around. You can be 22 or 82 competing in a glitter singlet and be welcomed with open arms.

How did you feel jumping into a singlet for the first time? Do you rock a custom singlet to weightlifting meets?

Malia is the owner, and mamapreneur, of Lifting the Dream. When she’s not lifting heavy weights, she’s doing some fun shit outdoors with her family or attempting to make rollerblading cool again. She is a Cali girl born and raised, with salt water in her veins and sunshine in her heart. She and her family now reside near Denver, Colorado, soaking up the 300+ days of sunshine and breathtaking (literally, altitude) views.

Stay Lifting My Friends,

Bee Tee Dubs (BTW). 

CROSSFIT, INC DOES NOT ENDORSE, SANCTION, APPROVE OF, OR SUPPORT THIS WORK OR ANY OPINION EXPRESSED HEREIN.

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