Cassi Niemann


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I’m a Starting Strength Coach, UCanRow2 Master Rowing Instructor and licensed architect. I love super dorky things and probably say the word “awesome” too much. But my goal is to live a happy and fun life, all the while helping others to do the same – whether it’s through the built environment or your own built body.

I started my athletic career as a gymnast at age 2 and retired from that sport at age 15. I went on to compete in track & field in high school and then switched to collegiate rowing at Georgia Tech. After graduating, I began both my coaching and my architectural career simultaneously. This led to a few years of personal inactivity and I eventually ended up deep into bootcamps, group fitness and then later, CrossFit.

After a disappointing neck injury, I found a strength coach and she introduced me to the world of strength training and powerlifting. It soon became apparent that this was what I needed to be doing and also that I must share it with the world.

I believe that finding the balance between architecture, strength and rowing allows me to grow in many different dimensions at once. I have discovered an abundance of overlaps between the spaces we build and the bodies that occupy them. I believe in the power of design and the endless benefits of well-thought out spaces. I also believe that strength training leads to healthier and happier people. Together, these lead to a more awesome life.

When I’m not coaching other people, I am competing as a powerlifter, strongman athlete or as a masters rower with Virginia Boat Club - it depends on the season! My best lifts are: 285 lb squat, 165 lb bench, 120 lb press, 358 lb deadlift and I’ll never do a 2k on the erg again, so don’t ask. I love competing but I also love being able to try new things all the time and whenever I do, I find that strength helps!

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Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Fear begets fear. Power begets power.
— Cheryl Strayed, Wild


I believe that every person has worth as an individual and every BODY can get stronger than they are now. Every person is entitled to dignity, respect, and strength training - regardless of age, race, color, religion, disability, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Thoughts and acts of prejudice have no place in the gym, or the world. In my training spaces, I pledge to treat all people with dignity and respect, to discourage others’ prejudice in all its forms, and to strive to maintain a climate for work and learning based on mutual respect and understanding.