Ladies who lift: Tampa is home to some of the world's strongest women

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Powerlifting is not just for the boys anymore. Women are beginning to make their mark in the sport, especially in the Bay Area.

“What we see now in powerlifting, in the last five to 10 years, is an influx of women into the sport,” said Andrew Yerrakadu, coach of the IronBound Barbell Club.

FOX 13 went inside a training session with the IronBound Barbell Club at Powerhouse Gym in Tampa. Unlike most groups, the IronBbound Club is evenly split between men and women.

“The girls we have in our group are actually some of the best middleweights in the country. Some are the top lifters internationally,” said Yerrakadu.

Blanca Villoch is a 35-year-old paralegal who can dead lift nearly 500 pounds -- at a weight of only 148 pounds. Currently, she is ranked sixth in the world in her weight class.

“I love it. I’m never strong enough. It keeps me motivated every time I come in here,” Villoch said.

Sarah Lanzillo has a lofty title too. After winning a top strongman competition, she is considered the strongest woman in the world.

”I was weak inside. I was not a happy bubbly person, so I looked to an outlet where I could become strong, and this is where I found it,” Lanzillo explained.

“The goal is not to be as big as and strong as possible. It’s to be as strong as possible and stay under 132 pounds if you're in the 132-pound weight class,” said Yerrakadu.

“It’s a great way of burning fat-building muscle and the toning is really building muscle,” Villoch offered.

It’s hard work, but these women do it with style.

“We go out in heels and jeans, do our hair-do, our makeup,” said Lanzillo. 

“We're a community. We just help each other,” Villoch added.