Jordynne Grace is a phenomenon. The 26-year-old from Austin, TX, (real name: Patricia Parker) has become a dual-sport superstar, winning titles in both professional wrestling and powerlifting. As one of the most recognizable stars currently running the ropes in IMPACT! Wrestling airing on AXS TV, “Thick Mama Pump” sat down with Muscle & Fitness to talk about her grappling origins, her love of lifting and that historic championship challenge coming up at the twice-year-old Slammiversary pay-per-view.
“When I was growing up, I really gravitated towards strong wrestlers, so Beth Phoenix was my number one,” says Grace, who was a big WWE fan and grew up watching wrestling on TV. Powerful female wrestlers such as Chyna and Beth Phoenix helped to break the mold and provide a much-needed breath of fresh air from the cover girl look that prevailed during WWE’s Attitude Era in the late 90s and early 2000s.
Jordynne Grace Knows that Strong Girls Rule
“I think (I liked the stronger girls best) because they were so different from what WWE mostly had then. They had the Diva Search, which were people that were models who were basically in for a modeling gig, and [had] never wrestled at all. That was what I grew up seeing. It’s extremely great to see those types of women (like Phoenix and Chyna). We should appreciate diversity in terms of race, height, nationality. I think it’s important for kids to see that because they can relate to it.”
Grace first started lifting weights at just 12 years of age, knowing that muscles would be necessary if she were to follow her dreams of becoming a pro wrestler. “That was my mindset,” she recalls. “The first step into wrestling, for me, was lifting weights and getting strong.” By the time Grace was 14, she had already enrolled in both amateur and pro wrestling training sessions. “I would use what I learned in amateur wrestling to make myself better as a [pro] wrestler,” she says. The now multi-time champion recalls that the very first time she got into the ring, it just felt right. “I watched so much wrestling a kid that when I finally got in there, it kinda felt like second nature.” Her debut would come in 2011.
Pro wrestling has evolved since WWE’s Attitude Era and unlike in those old Diva Search days, where women were often taught a less aggressive style in order to present a sexier image for audiences, girls now learn the ropes alongside the boys. “Where I came from, there was no difference in the training,” says Grace. Indeed, as a pro wrestler, “Thick Mama Pump” has earned a reputation for being as tough as anyone else in the locker room, even taking on the boys in countless intergender matches across the United States. This 5’3″ dynamo has become a social media sensation and one of the most famous wrestlers on the circuit that is not signed to a WWE contract. Jordynne Grace doesn’t fit with sexist ideas of what a female wrestler should look like, and her fans love her passionately for that. With her wide frame and popping quads, this warrior could outlift and outwork most men.
Achieving many milestones already, Grace was the first woman to enter AEW’s “Over Budget Battle Royale” and almost won, eliminating Brian Cage in the process. “That was a really, really big moment for me,” she recalls. And. shortly after grabbing everyone’s attention that night, IMPACT! Wrestling announced that it had signed Grace to a two-year contract. IMPACT! is the previous stomping ground of many of today’s crop of WWE superstars, including Drew McIntyre, AJ Styles, Bobby Roode and Xavier Woods. Many critics feel that being successful in IMPACT! is a great indication of being able to make it anywhere. In 2018, Grace lifted her first Knockouts Championship. Since then, she has become one of the companies most decorated stars. She says that there is nothing she wants more than to regain that title, and she will have an opportunity at Slammiversary.
Jordynne Grace Knows that Success Requires Hard Work
“I usually try to get in the gym every day,” she says. “If it’s not an intense day then I’ll try to do some kind of mobility training, but I try to go at least once per day. Recently I’ve been doing twice-a-day because I really hate doing cardio. I’m sure a lot of people can relate to that, so I try to split that up to a different time in the day.”
For maintaining her flexibility in the ring, and recovering after strenuous lifting sets, Grace has also taken up yoga. “It’s very difficult to lift heavy alongside professional wrestling so I started taking up yoga just because in the past year or so, doing the powerlifting competitions with wrestling has just been crazy. With the yoga, I’ve been trying to get my body back into feeling better.” And it’s not just the physicality of it all, that makes lifting and wrestling difficult to juggle. Our girl has been known to leave the ring following a live event and head straight out on a four-hour drive to make powerlifting competition weigh-ins at 6am.
So, does Grace have a preference over wrestling or powerlifting? “It’s difficult to say, because they both mean completely different things to me. Professional wrestling pays the bills and I’ve been doing it forever and I love it, but powerlifting is something different. There’s no ‘if’s’, ‘and’s’ or ‘but’s’ about it, you can either lift the weight or you can’t, so I do feel a different type of fulfillment when I’m able to do something in a competition.” And, speaking of doing ‘something’ in a competition, Grace broke 3 Georgia State and National Records at a World Natural Powerlifting Federation (WNPF) competition last year, in the 165-pound weight class. Incredibly, she squatted 320 pounds (150 kilograms), bench pressed 210 pounds (95 kilograms) and deadlifted 355 pounds (161 kilograms). Then, in February at an unsanctioned powerlifting meet, Grace showed further progress by smashing all of those numbers to hit a total of 1,065 pounds (483 kilograms).
The balance between wrestling and lifting continues to bring challenges, but Graces takes it all with good… well… Grace! Recently, the grappler was forced to ease off the heavy weights for a short time after a bad landing in a match caused her to suffer from back pain. So, instead she shifted to Powerbuilding training while she recuperates. “It’s like a program that is a little bit between powerlifting and bodybuilding,” says Grace. “It’s not the full-fledged, 100 percent powerlifting, basically.” Powerbuilding is a great way to work on muscle building and strength gains at the same time.
Jordynne Grace Hopes to Become Queen of the Mountain
As IMPACT! celebrates its twentieth Slammiversary pay-per-view on June 19, available on FITE.TV and “Thick Mama Pump” is hoping to be at her best in order to crush 4 other opponents in her quest to regain the Knockouts title in a “Queen” of the Mountain” match. While Grace has achieved so much already, there are still many dream matches for her to look forward to, so who does she have her eye on? “Dakota Kai would be great to wrestle,” says Grace. “And, I think Rhea Ripley. That’s a dream match that a lot of people have picked, and it’s one of mine too.” The powerhouse is also excited about the possibility of wrestling meeting up again with Athena having last wrestled her around 10 years ago. But right now, there’s nothing more important than gaining that shiny Knockouts title. “Slammiversary is gonna be awesome,” beams Grace, who is excited about the prospect of being victorious on the historic show.
Not only is Jordynne Grace an inspiration as far as her athleticism goes, but she is also a shining light for other people who may not feel like they fit a certain mold. With a massive social media following, Grace has to deal with negative comments like many of us but the star says she is learning that giving attention to trolls is to gift them with exactly what they are looking for. “One of the most important things to understand is that loving your body is really a process, it’s a day-to-day thing,” says Grace. “Look at your body as a whole, as opposed to ‘I hate how fat my thighs are’ or ‘I hate my stomach’ and stuff like that. Be cognisant of all the things that your body does for you on a daily basis and once you realise that it becomes ten times easier to love yourself.”
Jordynne Grace’s 3 Day Full Body Powerlifting Workout Routine
Day 1 (Chest/Triceps)
- Bench Press: 4×5
- Incline Dumbbell Press: 5×8
- Flat Bench Squeeze Press: 4×15
- Tricep Pushdown: 5×8
- Barbell Skull Crusher: 4×15
- Pushup: 1x AMRAP
Day 2 (Quads)
- Back Squat: 4×5
- Bulgarian Split Squat: 4×10 (each side)
- Walking Lunge: 4×20
- Weighted Squat Jump: 4×15
- Leg Extension: 4×20
Day 3 (Shoulders)
- Military Press: 4×5
- Late Rise: 5×20
- Arnold Press: 4×15
- Cable Front Raise: 4×15
- Wide-grip Upright Row: 4×15
- Dolphin Pushup: 3×12