A first-grader at Wright Elementary School in Des Moines, Tyanna has been coming to the Strength Institute, her father's gym, since she was 2 years old. At the age of 3, she told her father that she wanted to start lifting like him.
Jeff Madsen, a 20-year powerlifting veteran and 2001 national champion discovered that his daughter had an affinity for the sport. He says that she really chose to do it and that he would have never pushed her into it.
Since then, every Saturday, while her 11- and 12-year-old brothers play and watch television, Tyanna goes to the gym with her father. "It's really brought us closer because its something we share," Jeff says. "I also wanted to show her early that just because she's a girl, that doesn't mean she can't do everything boys can." "She thinks it's fun," Tyanna’s mother, Nicole, says of her daughter. "She gets time with her dad. They do their thing, and I don't interfere."
Knowing that lifting can be injurious if done incorrectly, Jeff Madsen makes sure his daughter stretches properly and that she learns proper techniques. Jeff is confident his daughter is not overdoing it and said that she takes breaks from lifting whenever she wants to. Power lifting among children is discouraged by pediatric and sports medicine groups, who warn that it can cause muscle strain and bone fractures.