Hunter Henderson turned the world of powerlifting on its head in April 2021. At the 2021 Kern US Open, the 75-kilogram competitor set all-time world records in both the squat (295 kilograms) and the total (702.5 kilograms). According to Open Powerlifting, she is the pound-for-pound number two strongest lifter ever based on her Wilks score, in the Raw W/ Wraps category, behind only Marianna Gasparyan. Now, Henderson has set her sights set on making headlines this summer in a different sport — bodybuilding.
On May 9, 2021, Henderson shared images of herself on Instagram performing bodybuilding poses such as the front double biceps, rear lat spread, and side triceps. In the post, which you can see below, Henderson revealed that she’ll be competing as an amateur bodybuilder on July 10, 2021.
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“Based on how I got in shape for the Kern Open, we decided to throw my hat into the bodybuilding ring. My bodybuilding debut will be July 10th in Omaha, NE… [I’m] very excited to learn and see what my body can do!” At the time the above photos were taken, Henderson weighed 79.1 kilograms (174.6 pounds). She also implied that this won’t be a one-off event: “When I said BITW (Best in the World) I didn’t just mean powerlifting.”
Henderson will compete at the 2021 Wings of Strength Omaha Pro show. The NPC Duel of Champions contest will also be a part of that event. Since Henderson is an amateur, she will compete in the amateur women’s bodybuilding portion of the show. The winners of each amateur division qualify for national-level NPC shows, which could lead to a potential professional qualification. In preparation for this contest, Henderson is working with renowned nutrition coach Matt Jansen — whose clients include 2020 Olympia 212 Champion Shaun Clarida and IFBB pro Nick Walker.
Henderson is not the first powerlifter to transition into bodybuilding in recent years. Larry Wheels made the switch in 2018, and he was able to win that year’s Gold Coast Muscle show. Since then, Wheels has tried strongman and, as of late, arm wrestling.
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“After this show, I will go back to powerlifting and do the Showdown in September ,” Henderson tells BarBend. “Looking at 2022, I plan to do the Kern US Open and then a national [bodybuilding] show, not sure which one yet. Depending on where that show falls, that will decide whether I do a second powerlifting competition next year.”
“I’m very excited to pursue bodybuilding,” Henderson adds. “It has been very fun to learn and try something new. It’s also been a great break for my body. I hope to leave my mark on women’s bodybuilding as I have for powerlifting. I look forward to seeing what my body can do.”
Featured Image: @huntermhenderson on Instagram.