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Meet Warwick’s Powerlifting Academic: Dr Martine Barons, Great Britain Powerlifter

Dubbed ‘Britain’s Strongest Gran’, a University of Warwick academic is going for gold just months after taking up powerlifting almost “by accident”.

Dr Martine Barons, Director of the Applied Statistics and Risk Unit at the University of Warwick will lift for Great Britain at the European Championships this Summer.

After joining the gym only a year before, Martine tried deadlifting at Christmas under the instruction of her colleague and friend, Miss Virgo, who has 10 years’ experience as a personal trainer. Martine quickly found she had a natural talent for powerlifting and has since won gold at the Amateur British Powerlifting Union qualifier championships in May.

She squeezes in weight training three times a week alongside working full time as the Director of Applied Statistics and Risk Unit at the University of Warwick.

Martine says her job can help massively with training, “Statistics is everything. How you train, how fast to train, and how many reps you do can all be answered by data science.”

Her hard work is paying off as she can now deadlift 125kg (19.7st), squat 80kg (12.6st) and bench press 55kg (8.7st), she’s now training to represent Great Britain at the European Championships in Finland at the weekend, and hopefully will bring back a European record.

Martine continues, “I'm not the kind of person who has ever been good at sport so to be good at something for the first time is kind of nice. I'm a person who needs a goal, so when my friend and colleague, Miss Virgo told me that I should compete, it was all hands-on deck.”

“I don't look like a powerlifter. I'm quite heavy and I do keep myself reasonably fit, but it is surprising. I think being fit is important for women's health, and I don't think powerlifting should be off the table for those that want to try it. I want to go and bring back that European record, I'm proud to be representing my country, it's not something I thought I'd ever do. It's astonishing, it's like a fairy tale.”

Thanks to Martine’s encouragement some colleagues from the University of Warwick have joined in with her gym sessions.

Miss Virgo, a fellow Researcher and Martine’s Coach said, “I’m extremely proud of Martine, the sky’s the limit for her and we can’t wait to see what she can achieve in the future.”


For more information and how you can support Martine through her journey please contact her here.

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Kat Beauchamp

Wed 05 Jun 2024, 14:20 | Tags: Statistics, Academic staff, Staff, Sport