Powerlifter/Bodybuilder Shawna Mendelson – One Powerful Lady.

Shawna Mendelson - Powerlifter by Day , Bodybuilder by Night

Shawna Mendelson is not just World Champion Bencher Scot Mendelson’s sister.

Shawna Mendelson - Powerlifter by Day , Bodybuilder by NightShe is much more than this competing at a high level both in her brother’s discipline of Powerlifting but also in Bodybuilding as well..

Lets find out more about Shawna.

Phil Burgess: You are a competitive bodybuilder and powerlifter, how do you find mixing these two disciplines together?

Shawna Mendelson: Yes, I compete in both sports. I think they both work hand in hand with each other up to a certain point in your training cycle.

I feel powerlifting has given me an incredible base as far as muscularity, and bodybuilding has really helped with sculpting and bringing it all out.

Phil Burgess: How do you train, like a powerlifter or a bodybuilder?

Shawna Mendelson: I train both all year long, except when I am 8 weeks out from a bodybuilding show.

I always incorporate bodybuilding into my powerlifting routines through accessory work, and cardio.

Phil Burgess: What do you enjoy more? bodybuilding or powerlifting?

Shawna Mendelson: I enjoy them both for different reasons.

In regards to powerlifting, there is nothing like being super strong and powerful and maximizing your body to the fullest capacity. I also love the camaraderie in powerlifting, we are like a family.

In regards to bodybuilding, I enjoy the whole glam thing about it. I enjoy seeing the changes and watching my body transform.

Hopefully I dont offend anyone with this statement, but Bodybuilding to me is like a beauty pageant with muscle. I just have alot of fun doing it. BB also gives my joints a break from all of the heavy lifting, so it has its pluses besides the “bling” factor. 

Phil Burgess: Would you consider doing Strongwoman comps? or have you competed in these before?

Shawna Mendelson: I’m not sure if at this point in my life if I would do a strongwoman competition. I do train that way in my offseason from bodybuilding. With stones, the yolk, farmers walk..I just don’t need to break anything at this point hahahahahha..

I want to be able to walk when i’m 60. 🙂 

Phil Burgess: Where are you from? and what is the best thing about where you live?

Shawna Mendelson: I grew up in Southern California, but now reside in New York, on Long Island.

The best thing about where I live is I have the best of both worlds, I have the best city in the world as well as the beautiful beaches.

Phil Burgess: Your brother Scott is a world champion bench presser.  Do you train together?

Shawna Mendelson: Yes, Scot is my brother. I’ve learned a lot from him throughout the years, he is a great mentor and an amazing supporter.

We do train together from time to time, I give him advice on things too he’s always open to listening and giving advice. 

Phil Burgess: What title are you the proudest of winning/holding?

Shawna Mendelson Bench Press
Shawna Preparing for a Big Bench..

Shawna Mendelson: I guess it would be when I won Best Lifter at a WPC World meet for my overall total in my weight class. That’s a huge award to win and a great honor.

Phil Burgess: What one thing do you think would help to improve the popularity of Bodybuilding? and of Powerlifting?

Shawna Mendelson: Well, bodybuilding has had a lot of exposure for so many years,  and the NPC/IFBB are run like a real business, they are pretty much consistent on that end.

I think if Powerlifting was run more like that we would have an opportunity to get more sponsorship and have people become more aware of our sport to enable it to become more mainstream.  

Phil Burgess: What are your best lifts in the Bench Press, Deadlift, and Squat?

Shawna Mendelson: 

  • Bench 465lbs
  • Deadlift 525lbs
  • Squat 660lbs

Phil Burgess: What weaknesses have you been working to improve for Powerlifting comps? and for Bodybuilding?

Shawna MendelsonMy biggest weakness in powerlifting is my deadlift, it’s only weak because I don’t train it enough, I drive my coach crazy hahaha.

In BB it’s my conditioning. I need to be harder on stage, hopefully this will be the year that I really make those improvements.

Phil Burgess:  Who is your inspiration in Bodybuilding and in

In Bodybuilding Contest Mode.
In Bodybuilding Contest Mode. (Photo Courtesy of Shawna)


Shawna MendelsonIn Bodybuilding there are a few women who I think are incredible.

Colette Nelson, Chris Murrell, Bev Francis, Karen Gatto to name a few..

In Powerlifting, Becca Swanson, Kara Bohegian-Smith, Jill Mills, Shannon Hartnett, Julie Scanlon, Kathy Fields, Laura Phelps to name a few, and of course my teammates Blue Collar Barbell, and my brother Scot Mendelson.

Phil Burgess: What are your goals for 2012? and beyond?

Shawna MendelsonWell, for 2012 I have a pretty hefty year ahead of me.

I have two bodybuilding shows coming up, one in June and one in July.

Then I switch gears and get right back in powerlifting mode to start getting ready to compete at the Olympia.  This is a huge honour to be invited to and to have the opportunity to compete with the class of women I will be competing with.

Phil Burgess: If you could have 5 people around for dinner from the strength sports world, whether living or deceased , who would you invite and why?

Shawna Mendelson

  • Rick Hussey
  • Scot Mendelson
  • Jill Mills
  • Becca Swanson
  • Eric Adolph.

This would be the super hero team of teams.

Rick Hussey was the best strength coach to walk the planet. His knowledge and coaching skills were way beyond our time, he was always there for everyone as a coach and friend.  

Scot not only has the biggest bench press in the world, but he is filled with a ton of knowledge and experience. He’s also the best brother in the world.  

Jill is a superior athlete and someone I have always looked up to.

Becca has always been an amazing influence on me in so may ways besides her being “The Strongest Ever”.

Eric Adolph is my coach, and great friend I count on him for so many things he always comes through he’s awesome.

Shawna Ready for Battle

I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to meet, train, and compete with all of these people.  Each one has helped mold my career and been tremendous influences on me.

Thanks for talking to us Shawna and all the best with your bodybuilding and powerlifting competitions this year.



  1. Excelent interview, as always. I converted Shawna’s unbelievable numbers to kgs in order that the South American community may appreciate it – and be equally amazed.

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