Abbie & Annie

How did the Women’s Barbell Classic Originate?

These two ladies brought their heads, ideas and passions together to create the first ever women’s only powerlifting meet in the state of Iowa that focuses each year on giving back to a local cause. Read below each of their missions that helped create what is known today as the Women’s Barbell Classic.


Abbie Mork

Shortly after graduating chiropractic school in 2010 I moved back to the Des Moines area. In school I spent a lot of my time in the rehabilitation department learning how the body is designed to move. My passion for the human body lead me to meet Wesley Keith, the owner of 22nd Street Barbell. He was the first person who not only encouraged me to lift weights, but to lift heavy weights to attain my goals. Needless to say I jumped in and have never looked back. Today I not only train clients at 22nd Street Barbell, but I also direct 2 powerlifting meets a year for the gym.

The Women’s Barbell Classic is one of my proudest accomplishments alongside my great friend and co-founder Annie. It was created because in my heart I felt our community need it. Women needed this! They needed to understand the power a barbell has not only physically, but mentally and emotionally. Little did we know it would do so much more than either of us had ever imaged.

It created positivity that spread through the community and local gyms like wild fire. We brought together women from all walks of life and different abilities under 1 roof who encouraged and supported others they had met minutes before. Genuine compassion for another as they hit the platform while seconds later to step on the platform themselves scared out of their mind to crush a weight they never thought possible. Being strong and vulnerable while hundreds watched and cheered. High fives, fist bumps, applause and cheer from the crowd were contagious. Accomplishing more than your mind has limited you to in past all while raising money for a great local cause! The flood gates with tears of joy were opened for so many. Myself included! Come to find out selfishly the Women’s Barbell Classic created a movement that made me a better person and I met so many great people that reminded me how wonderful our Des Moines community is. I am proud an honored to be a part of the movement and can’t wait for what each year has to bring.

Annie Brees

Annie Brees

I’m a personal trainer and mom to three kiddos who have logged many wo(man) hours in the weight room. I fell in love with powerlifting about 5 years ago shortly after joining 22nd Street Barbell, but in the past year tried my hand at Crossfit. I love both so don’t make me pick sides.

In fact, my admiration for all disciplines of strength is really what led me to the vision for the Women’s Barbell Classic. As a true “people person,” after meeting all these amazingly strong and determined women in powerlifting, Crossfit, strongman and other various gyms I just had to try to bring them all together under 1 house. And after our first meet in April, I think it’s safe to say it was totally worth it. Watching women cheer on, support, and encourage other women just gives me all the feels.

It may be hard to believe, but our 2019 is going to be even bigger and better. This year we’re giving proceeds to a non-profit near and dear to our hearts, The Young Women’s Resource Center. This organization helps young women build confidence, independence and resilience and as women to lift - I think we can all understand the value in that.

I’m in the profession to help and Abbie and I are always available to provide support in any way we can. Swing by the gym, attend a workshop, shoot me a DM, or add me on Facebook. I’m here for you.