Women’s Bodybuilding Is A $5 Billion Industry

Women’s bodybuilding has the potential to be a high grossing industry. However, there are some aspects that must be considered when attempting to make this possible. Zennie62 explains in this video what must be done to preserve women’s bodybuilding. He states that women should start their own contest instead of waiting for the IFBB or other organizations to do so. Athletes need to market their image in a manner that is advantageous to them. The most important step is to challenge the corporate exploitation of athletes under contract stipulations. Women must learn that fan support can be  critical financial stability  of the industry. You can visit Zennie62.com  for more articles and videos on sports, politics, and entertainment in the following link. It is worth checking out.

http://www.zennie62blog.com/

Women’s Bodybuilding Is A $5 Billion Industry

Women in Professional Wrestling

When someone thinks of professional wrestling, they either mention Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Stone Cold Steve Austin, or the Rock. This is not just a man’s sport. Women have participated in professional wrestling for at least half a century. Many do not classify professional wrestling as a sport, but rather sports entertainment. The sole purpose is to amuse an audience. Stunts are performed  and the matches are scripted. This should not be confused with Greco-Roman wrestling  that is seen in the Olympics. However, professional wrestling takes a level of strength and skill. Women have often been ignored in this sport. There were women wrestlers that were active before modern sports entertainment.

Women did participate in professional wrestling as far back as the 1950s. One wrestler that gain some notoriety was Mildred Burke. Her career lasted form 1935 to 1955 and she was the World’s Women’s Champion. Early on she did have dreams of becoming a wrestler. The interesting aspect to all of this is that she did wrestle men. Her start in wrestling involved her wrestling men at carnivals. This was not unusual at the time considering many circuses, carnivals, and vaudeville houses had strong woman acts. These women would perform feats of strength to entertain audiences and challenge volunteers in the audience as part of their acts.

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Mildred Burke (1915-1989) was physically impressive. At  only 5’2 and a 138 pounds she packed power into a small body. 

Mildred Burke was very muscular and athletic prior to entering wrestling. This strength came in useful against her opponents. It was alleged that she wrestled close to about 200 men and was only defeated once. Even with such great talent, she still faced discrimination. The National Wrestling Alliance did not allow women to participate in their conferences. As the 20th century progressed women did see more opportunities than their predecessors.

         Around the 1980s and 1990s American professional wrestling entered a golden age.  Due to the efforts of Vince McMahon and talented professional wrestlers sports entertainment became a popular part of television. The WWF ( now WWE) delighted millions of viewers  with amazing stunts and outrageous storyllines. One woman who captivated audiences was Joan Laurer, better known as Chyna. Like Mildred Burke, she was not afraid to wrestle men. She did this on a regular basis. Chyna had a size advantage that she utilized in matches. Before entering wrestling she was active in bodybuilding. She mostly competed in the fitness division, while working numerous jobs to support her self. Chyna would have her first wrestling match in 1995 when she was on the independent circuit. Chyna  has the distinction of being the first woman to compete in the Royal Rumble and King of the Ring events.

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Chyna became a very popular wrestler for the WWF ( World Wide Wrestling Federation).  She wrestled for the WWF from 1995 to 2001 and had a lasting impact. 

Chyna appeared in numerous television shows, films, and other media. This in some way brought a strong and muscular woman paradigm to a mainstream audience and the response was positive. Chyna became so popular that the WWF’s  rival for viewership the WCW attempted to imitate their success. Christe Wolf  was hired by the WCW to wresle under the name Asya. She also had a background in bodybuilding and strength sports and took these talents to the wrestling ring. Just like Chyna she would wrestle both men and women and perform stunts. One opponent she challenged was Midnight. Her real name was Anne Marie Crooks who was also notable in bodybuilding circles. She was of enormous stature and was very skilled. As much as the WCW tried, it could not fully get the upper hand with it WWF competitor.

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The stage name Christe Wolf adopted was clearly trying to be the the WCW version of Chyna.  This ratings rivalry between the WWF and WCW did provide great entertainment. 

Even though this was fake, with matches be predetermined the hits and stunts were real. This environment allowed women to demonstrate their strength without ostracism. Audiences would watch and attend matches faithfully. Women throwing punches and tossing people around did not generate questions about their femininity. Many women even in the present era are still scrutinized by a narrow gender social construction. Women were given their own wrestling division and championship belt. They were proving that they were just as capable as their male counterparts.

812280976 (1)Anne Marie Crooks had a brief wrestling career and entertained many with her matches. Unlike Asya she developed her unique character for World Champion Wrestling. 

Women did not just wrestle, but appeared as announcers, managers, and valets. Soon the WWF divas became very popular. Eventually the WCW would dissolve and the WWF would change its name to World Wide Wrestling Entertainment. Like any form of entertainment, it is subject to criticism. Parents complained that wrestling was to violent for their children. Fans complained that by the mid-2000s wrestling storylines became redundant and repetitive. Another argument is that current divas really do not have wrestling talent at all. The criticism is that the WWE  is hiring models to just be “eye-candy” for the male audience. Even with these challenges there are still talented women willing to pursue professional wrestling. The golden age has pasted, but professional wrestling still has high ratings on television.

Women in Professional Wrestling

Women’s Sports Throughout History Video

This is a link to a video made on youtube that outlines some significant events in women’s sports history. This is posted on another blog the author produces. Feel free to visit and some more of the author’s work.

http://clashofworl.blogspot.com/2015/03/womens-sports-throughout-history.html

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Just remember to keep flexing ladies

Women’s Sports Throughout History Video

Physical Strength

Physical Strength can be defined as the maximum force that can be exerted by muscles. There are different factors that determine physical strength. Examination of the cross sectional area of muscle fibers is one method. Muscle fibers are capable of generating force by means of recruitment. Then the amount of type I and type II muscle fibers are also critical. The amount of these fibers are determined by genetics. The force from physical strength is dependent on joint angles and the size of limbs. Other factors in the ability to develop muscular hypertrophy include sex, age, the health condition of the individual, and the hormones produced in the body. However, this can vary from individual to individual. Exercise physiologists classify specific measures of strength. These two types are relative and absolute strength. These are elements of physical fitness that analyze how force is projected.

Relative strength is the force exerted by cross-sectional area of muscle and body mass.Testing the relative skeletal muscles require looking at separate muscle groups. Human muscles are capable of generating 16 to 30 newtons maximal force per square centimeter  of the cross sectional area. This can be the same for both men and women. This is also dependent on the skeleton and muscular structure composition of a person.

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Strength training not only strengthens muscles, but ligaments, tendons, and increases bone mass.

Absolute strength represents the aggregate of force exerted by the body. This includes both upper and lower body. This is both dependent on weight and height. A taller person would be more capable of carrying more muscle on their frame. Considering force is mass times acceleration, a larger person would have the potential to generate more force. On average men are stronger than women due to endocrinological attributes and differences in size .However, some of this disparity can be reversed through weight training. Before puberty, there is no significant difference in physical strength. When boys enter puberty around age 13 the hypothalamus will release gonadotropic releasing hormone (GnRH). The anterior pituitary gland then produces luteinizing hormone, which instructs the testis to produce androgens. The androgen important to strength and other functions is testosterone. Boys will gain more muscle and bone mass along with other secondary sex characteristics. Women  produce more estrogen and progesterone which allows for the storage of fat. This does not mean that strength is male only.

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Boys and Girls can be at the same strength level. Sometimes girls even mature faster. When puberty starts boys will surpass girls in strength, particularly in the upper body. 

With enough training, women can certainly be stronger than a man who does not exercise. When adjusting a comparison to height and weight the results are fascinating. Estimates vary according to exercise physiologists, but men and women of the same weight including height can be close in terms of  absolute strength. The percentage is calculated to be 65% as strong when weight is equivalent. Women are closer to men in the lower body. Men have more of their strength concentrated in the upper body. Androgens are not the only factors in strength. The total distribution of type II muscle fibers is essential. They can usually be referred to as fast twitch fibers. These muscle fibers are essential for explosive bursts of physical power.

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Testosterone allows for a greater extent of muscular hypertrophy .

Type I muscle fibers are best suited to endurance. Strength does not come from the size of the muscles, but the distribution of the amount of type II muscle fibers. One could have big muscles, but may not be as strong as one would presume. For example we would assume that a bodybuilder would be stronger than a powerlifter by the appearance of the muscles. This is not necessarily true, because the the purpose of bodybuilding is making the muscles appear as large without the goal of becoming stronger. Powerlifting focuses on lifting the largest amount of weight with no concern to aesthetics of muscular development. Also, it should be considered even though men have a size advantage, that does not mean every man is stronger than every woman. At the cellular level there is no difference between male and female muscle tissue. There is no such thing as “girl muscles” and “man muscles.” Women do show major gains in strength through weight training. Women can gain strength without seeing major addition to muscular hypertrophy.

Women can gain strength if they train. Some women have the genetic potential for far greater strength. As you can see here Dawn Riehl through weight training and diet gained strength. 

Besides training, diet is critical. Diet and nutrition are major parts of a training regimen. Proteins and the consumption of them are required to maintain a strong physique.

      Another factor that determines the level of strength is age. As we age just like a machine, our body shows signs of wear and tear. Testosterone levels will lower as a man ages and as a result muscle mass will lower. Around age 75, the body can lose about half of its muscle mass. This can be more dramatic for women who are more susceptible to osteoporosis. Women who on average live longer than men, could end up having more ailments just because of their life expectancy. This can be prevented with exercise. Weight training for the elderly has shown that it can improve balance and strength.

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Aging does not mean you automatically become frail or break down. Strength training can prevent some health ailments that occur when you reach old age. The woman picture is actually 77 years old.

The body does go through changes. Aging does not have to be a curse or something feared. Maintaining a healthy weight and physical activity can increase life expectancy. The most important reason to maintain muscle mass is for the sake of balance. The elderly are known to lose balance, which make them prone to falls. Women need to engage is some form of strength training for the sake of their bones. Even in their early twenties women should be building as much bone mass as possible to avoid chronic bone diseases. Decades ago many in the medical profession thought this was normal aging. Upon further examination the culprit was sedentary life styles and unhealthy eating habits. Physical strength can be maintained in old age. Women, men, and seniors can gain strength.  As we advance further into the 21st century new training methods will emerge and our understanding of human physical capabilities will increase.

Physical Strength

Basic Anatomy of the Muscular System

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The muscular system is responsible for movement in the human body. This organ system contains up to 650 voluntary skeletal muscles. Muscle can compose up to 30% to 50%  of body mass depending on fitness level and other factors. There are different types of muscles. Skeletal muscles are striated having a stripped appearance and are under voluntary control. Smooth muscle performs tasks that are signaled by the nervous system. Cardiac muscles function solely for the heart. The voluntary skeletal muscles are responsive to signals to the brain, which controls movement. These muscles can either contract or in other instances lengthen. The tendons acts as connectors between muscle and the bones. Each muscle has a specific name.

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Muscles of the face

  • Frontalis-  The muscles of the forehead
  • Temporalis- The muscle that covers the temporal bone
  • Zygomaticus – The  muscles of the cheeks
  • Orbicularis oculi – The muscles around the eye
  • Masseter- The  muscles of the jaw

Every facial expression we make requires muscles. Frowning and smiling may seem like simple acts, but nerves and muscles work in coordination. Facial muscle connect to connective tissues on the skin, but do not work in pairs. Expressions of the face require little contraction. The facial muscles would be classified under the superficial layer.

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Muscles of the Back

  • Levator Scapulae-  This muscle is designed to lift the scapula bone.
  • Tres Major – A thin muscle that covers the underarm.
  • Tres Minor- A  smaller muscle above the tres major.
  • Trapezius- It is another muscle that goes from occipital bone to the spine of the scapula.
  • Infraspinatus- One of the muscles of the rotator  cuff and responsible for the movement  of the humerous bone. It also stabilizes the shoulder joint.
  • Semispinalis- A total of three muscles situated around the spinal cord.
  • Rhomboideus major- responsible for connecting the scapula to the vertebrae

The back has sheets of muscle. The critical points are the shoulder joints, which are essential for motion of the arms. The muscles of the front of the body are easily recognizable.

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  • Pectoralis Major-  located in the chest
  • Serratus Anterior- Surround the rib cage
  • Rectus Abdominis- Located on the stomach
  • Tensor Fasciae
  • External obliques
  • Linea Alba

Muscles of the Legs

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  • Ilopsoas
  • pectineus
  • Vastus lateralis
  • Gracilis
  • Gastronemius
  • Tibialis Anterior
  • Adductor Longus  and Adductor Magnus
  • Rectus  Femoris  and Biceps Femoris
  • Sartorius
  • Peroneus Brevis
  • Gluteus Maximus

Muscles of the Arm

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  • Deltoid
  • Biceps Brachii
  • Triceps
  • Brachioradialis

More detailed analysis will follow of the physiological and chemical properties of the muscular system.

Basic Anatomy of the Muscular System

Iris Kyle

Iris Kyle is considered to be one the best and successful  bodybuilders. She broke Lenda Murray’s record of eight Ms.Olympia wins and dominated the 2000s. Iris Kyle won the 2001, 2004, 2006,2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 Ms.Olympia contests. It will be a long time before any other athlete can top that impressive accomplishment. She was born in 1974 in Benton Harbor Michigan and from an early age demonstrated athletic talent. She participated in basketball, softball, and cross country. After graduating from Alcon State University she began involvement in the sport of bodybuilding. According to her statements, it was looking at pictures of Lenda Murray that inspired her to compete. She became an IFBB professional bodybuilder after winning the NPC  USA Championship in 1998. She then gradually rose up the ranks. The year 2004 was a turning point. She defeated Lenda Murray and would continue to be at the top rankings. Iris Kyle announced that she is retiring, ending one of the most successful careers in the sport. She truly deserves the title of the best.

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Iris Kyle

A Basic Timeline of Women in Sport

Before Title IX, women did play sports. Sometimes they participated in organized teams, but not at the same level of competition as we see today. Women across the world did play at one point or another. Rarely, was their participation given mass attention. The rise of television and the expansion of mass media gave athletic women more exposure than ever before. This is a general timeline of women’s involvement in sports. There are gaps, because data from the ancient world may be partially lost. Men’s athletic talents were praised and documented, but women’s feats were either ignored or ostracized .

Women in Sport (776 B.C.E-2015)

  • 776 B.C.E – Women are banned from the Olympics, but could participate in The Games of Hera.
  • 396 B.C.E- Kyniska  wins the Olympic chariot races. even though she is a Spartan princess she was not allowed to receive her prize.
  • 1406- Dame Juliana Berners produces writings about fishing as a sport. This was during the time of middle ages in Britain.
  • 1552-Mary Queen of Scots was know to play golf  and allegedly coined the term caddy.
  • 1722- Elizabeth Wilkinson becomes one of the first professional women’s pugilist. This was in Great Britain, which had a long history of boxing.
  • 1804- Allica Meynell  becomes the first woman jocky.
  • 1811-The first women’s golf tournament was held in Scotland.
  • 1856-Catherine Beecher publishes an exercise manual for women. It is called Physiology and Calisthenics for Schools and Families.
  • 1874- Mary Outerbridge brings tennis to the United States. Prior to this, it was mostly played in the European countries.
  • 1900- Margret Abbott become the first woman to win an Olympic gold medal. This was in golf.
  • 1912- Women’s events are officially  added to the Olympics.
  • 1923- The women’s division of the NAAF is formed. It was designed to promote physical fitness and stop exploitative behavior by certain sports promoters.
  • 1926- Gertrude Ederle successfully swam the English Channel.
  • 1932- Babe Didrikson Zaharis  sets three world records at the Olympics. Tidye Pickett and Louise Strokes become the first African American women to be placed on a US team.
  • 1948- Alice Coachman becomes the first African American woman to win a gold medal. This was when she set a record in high jump.
  • 1957- Althea Gibson becomes the first African American woman to win the Wimbledon  tennis tournament.
  • 1960- Wilma Rudolph wins three gold  medals in track and field events. she becomes the first woman to do so.
  • 1974- The first issue of Women’s Sports magazine is published. this is significant because rarely women athletes were covered by the press.
  • 1987- The first observance of National Girls and Women in Sports Day in the United States.
  • 1991- Judith Sweet becomes the first female president of the NCAA.
  • 1996- Women’s soccer and softball are added to the summer Olympics.
  • 2002- Thirty years of Title IX and women’s participation in sports increased dramatically. It was renamed the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act  in the late senator’s honor.
  • 2012- Women’s participation in the Olympics reaches a new apex.
A Basic Timeline of Women in Sport