Tag Archives: fitness

What is Powerlifting?

By Dennis Wu

Last semester, I picked up a new fitness hobby called powerlifting.  According to the International Powerlifting Federation, powerlifting is defined as a strength sport made up of three attempts at maximal weight for three lifts: squat, bench press, and deadlift. The goal of powerlifting is to lift the most weight possible for each of the three lifts. The summation of the best attempts for each of the three lifts is the final score a competitor receives.

Squat

The powerlifting squat begins when the announcer yells, “the bar is loaded”. Then, a competitor has one minute to un-rack the bar.  When the competitor is read to squat, the competitor makes eye contact with the referee.  The referee will yell “squat”. Then, the competitor must squat down until the hip joint is below the knee joint. After that the competitor can squat back up and re-rack when the referee yells “rack”.

Bench Press

The powerlifting bench press also begins when the announcer yells, “the bar is loaded.” Then, the competitor has one minute to begin the lift. The competitor is allowed to un-rack the bar but must wait for the referee to yell “start” before the competitor can lower the weight. When the bar is touching the body, the competitor must wait for the command “press”. Then, the competitor can drive up the bar to lockout. When the command “rack” is given, the competitor may rerack the bar.

Deadlift

The last lift is the deadlift. This lift also begins when the announces states, “the bar is loaded”. However, there is no start command. The competitor must begin within one minute. The competitor must stand up with the weight and when the referee yells “down”, the competitor may place the weight back down with both hands on the bar.

Conclusion

To summarize, powerlifting has become my new fitness hobby. Powerlifting is comprised of the three main lifts: squat, bench press, and deadlift.  The final score of a powerlifting competition is comprised of the best weights for each of the three lifts.

Featured image is author’s own

Dennis graduated USC with a degree in Human Biology, with an emphasis in Applied Physiology, and a minor in Occupational Therapy. He was born in Belgium and moved to the U.S. at the young age of 5, so Dennis had experienced numerous cultures around the world. Once in the U.S., he moved around quite a bit, living in multiple cities in Arizona, Texas, and California. Dennis speaks three languages- Mandarin Chinese, Flemish, and English. Ss a student, he loved playing basketball; he’s been playing since he was five years old, but his greatest passion in life was fitness and the pursuit of progression. Dennis always sought to improve himself – to become the best version he can be, not only physically but also mentally. Dennis was also a certified personal trainer at USC Lyon Center and worked with numerous international clients. He also worked as a tutor for mathematics and various sciences with numerous volunteer organizations around campus.

Top 5 Southern California Hikes

By Gabrielle Kimche-Gilstrap

Sometimes after spending so much time at or near USC (whether in class, at clubs, or even living in a dorm), it is nice to get off campus and explore outside of South Central. When thinking of California, celebrities, the beach, or even the Hollywood Walk of Fame may come to mind for most people, but outdoor hiking and nature trails are common and a fantastic attraction. Around LA, there are hiking trails in the city, North, and South. Most are dog friendly, feature crafted hiking trails with maps, and even offer parking. One important aspect to consider when visited these parks and trails is the risk and past occurrences of wildfires. Remember to always leave nature better than how you found it! I have listed my top sites 5 below:

Runyon Canyon

Photo by Chris Goldberg on Flickr

Located in the Hollywood Hills, Runyon is a fairly known hike and trail around Los Angeles. Often, you may see the beautiful view of Hollywood posted on Instagram or Facebook tagged at Runyon. People commonly known Runyon as a place to bring dogs, spot celebrities, and see a full skyline. Many dog owners take their pets to Runyon for the off-leash areas. This trail is not very long, as it only extends around 3 miles round trip, but it is still a challenge especially in the summer Southern California heat. Since it is so popular, parking can be a challenge and Uber is recommended, but there is one lot and street parking around the entrance.

Solstice Canyon

Photo by Juan Monroy on Flickr

Solstice Canyon is located near Malibu just West of Los Angeles, so it works best to drive instead of paying for an expensive Uber. Aside from the 2.6 mile round trip hike, Solstice Canyon also features historical ruins and a waterfall. Also, along the Solstice Creek there are picnic tables for a nice outdoor lunch. When passing the ruins, you should see the Roberts Ranch House, which is now protected by the National Parks Service. Next on the trail, you’ll spot a short waterfall down the rocks into the creek. It’s a beautiful sight!

Cahuenga Park

Photo by Michael McCarty on Flickr

Another park in the Hollywood Hills is Cahuenga Park, which leads to a view of the Hollywood Sign and the Wisdom Tree. Again here, there is not much parking except street parking around the bottom. Heading up the East trail, there is a 1.6 mile round trip hike to the Wisdom Tree. This trail is more rugged and less paved than Runyon Canyon, and it gets steep at points. To the West, the trail gets even steeper and more rugged, but eventually leads to the back side of the Hollywood Sign. Both of these trails offer a large amount of elevation for a short distance. 

Santa Anita Canyon

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

The most challenging hike on this list, the Santa Anita Canyon, is a whopping 8.7 mile loop, best made for a full day hike with lunch and swimming stops. The Santa Anita Canyon is located Northeast of Pasadena, so it is again best to drive and park in the lots or along the street below. Along this trail, there are numerous cabins, a 60-foot waterfall, and an escape from Los Angeles. The waterfall is comes up in the first half of the trail, so you can jump in then dry off the rest of the way. 

Sandstone Peak

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Sandstone Peak is the furthest hike to the East, past Santa Monica and Malibu but is one of the highest points in Southern California. You can see jaw-dropping views of the Pacific Ocean and Santa Monica Bay. The summit is over 3,000 feet and follows a 6.25 mile loop. This hike features another picnic area and plenty of shade on the way up. Another beautiful aspect are the Grottoes with creeks and pools.

Featured image by Lital Levy on Unsplash


Gabi is a Pre-Law sophomore majoring in Law, History, and Culture in Dornsife with a minor in Culture, Media, and Entertainment from Annenberg. She grew up in Atlanta, Georgia before fulfilling her dream of moving to Los Angeles for college. On the weekends, Gabi loves to go to the beach, visit museums, go shopping, watch movies, hike, read, work out, do yoga, and spend time with friends. Back home, Gabi has one younger sister, who she is very close with and for whom she acts as a role model and mentor. In high school, Gabi worked with many international exchange students through an organization called ICES. She loves traveling, meeting new people, and learning about other cultures.


A Guide to Self-Care

By Jackie Kim

Whether at USC or any other American university, many international students have a tough time adjusting to not only American culture but also college culture in general.  As an international student myself, I was able to experience firsthand how it felt to come to a completely new country without any prior exposure to the new culture that would soon engulf my life. Thankfully, I went through this change at a young age and had a strong support system to guide me through the difficulties. I hope to be able to provide this same support to other international students at USC, especially those who recently had to go through the big move.

One of the things I wish I had realized earlier when I moved to Singapore (and then to America) is the importance of self-care. I realize now that I was so caught up in making new friends, adapting to the challenging curriculum, and getting used to the change of scenery that I lost my motivation to take care of myself. I often skipped meals and didn’t get enough rest; I was left feeling lethargic and unable to extract the overseas experience to which I had previously looked forward. Being a firm believer in always showcasing the best version of myself, I constantly challenge myself to reach my full potential, and this denial of my basic needs was hindering my ability to achieve this goal. I needed to switch gears and really dedicate time to self-care. Here are some tips that I currently abide by in Southern California to make my USC experience as great as possible:

  • Equip yourself with a water bottle: I’m used to the warm weathers of Singapore and the changing seasons of Korea, but I never knew how parched I could get until I found myself walking around the vast USC campus on a daily basis. There are a lot of water fountain stations on campus at which you can fill your bottle, and being hydrated is the key to energy when studying, exercising, and socializing!
  • Exercise as much as you can: Although walking around USC is an exercise in itself, people who board or bike around campus don’t get nearly as much exercise as those who choose to walk. Taking full use of the exercise equipment and classes at the Lyon Center or joining a sports team (club, intramural, Varsity) on campus is encouraged for a fresh start to the day. Even a quick walk or jog can immediately lift your mood!

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