Psychology Today : Battle of the Sexes

The Battle of the Sexes

There have been arguments that men are biologically and physically superior  to women. This has been proven false, because scientifically it has been proven that ” biological superiority” does not exist. Men and women are biologically, anatomically, and physiologically  different . This does not indicate a superior or inferior sex. Science reveals much about the battle of the sexes in terms of physical abilities and biology. The Psychology Today article does claim there is no clear winner in terms of the battle of the sexes. However, from an evolutionary and health perspective women are the winners. They are more likely to live longer compared to men. Women are in this regard not a weaker sex. Other measures such as intelligence quotient (IQ) are not a reliable measure. While the other scientific statements can be verified, measuring intelligence may not sustain the rigors of the scientific method. Psychologists are still debating what is intelligence. There exists health disparities among the sexes that are due to both environment and biology. There is no stronger sex, yet women are winners in the test of survival.

        Men have more physical strength on average. The difference has to do with the amount of free testosterone in the male body. This cause a difference in body composition resulting in a greater percentage of muscle mass. Muscles are not the only contributor to physical strength, it also includes bones, ligaments, and tendons. Muscle cells are the same for both men and women the difference is amount. Women retain higher fat levels no matter what their body type is. Males have a greater number of type II fast switch muscle fiber, which allows for more explosive power during a physical task. Until the onset of puberty, there is no difference in physical strength. When puberty starts women’s bodies gain more adipose tissue from estrogen and progesterone.

Women do not have the strength spurt that males gain during puberty. Both sexes have growth spurts during these years. Girls have their growth spurt earlier meaning they will for awhile be taller than boys. Between the ages 9 to 14 girls are growing faster than boys. Boys experience growth slower. The first stage happens around the age of 10, but there is a dramatic shift around the age of 13. The largest growth spurt happens around two years after puberty. The last growth spurt happens at the end of puberty. Between these two growth spurts the strength spurt increases muscle mass and broadens the shoulders. The largest disparity between physical strength in the body between males and females is in the upper body. Women are closer to men in the lower body, but not stronger in that area. Men have an estimated 50% more muscle mass in the lower body and 66% more in the upper body. The average woman’s body is estimated to be at least 35% muscle weight compared to men’s 50%.

Olympic Records in Weight Lifting – Maximum Lifts
Date Event Sex Achieved Name Category
2012 Snatch F 151kg Tatiana Kashirina 75kg+
2012 Clean & Jerk F 187kg Zhou Lulu 75kg+
2012 Total F 333kg Zhou Lulu 75kg+
2016 Snatch M 216kg Behdad Salimi 105kg+
2004 Clean & Jerk M 263kg Hossein Rezazadeh 105kg+
2016 Total M 473kg Lasha Talakhadze 105kg+
Highest Male Record Below Women’s Maximum
2000 Snatch M 138kg Halil Mutlu < 56kg
2012 Clean & Jerk M 177kg Óscar Figueroa < 62kg
2012 Total M 327kg Kim Un-guk < 62kg

This explains the difference in athletic performance. However, it should be realized that strength is not solely determined by biological sex. Age, genetics, health condition, and training method are also important factors. Women respond to training stimuli and can benefit from improved health. The reason why women  would have higher rates of osteoporosis is due to the fact that they have lower bone density. As a person ages they lose both muscle and skeletal mass. This could be more severe for a woman as she ages, Strength training can reverse such issues and preserve bone health. It is not impossible for a woman to be stronger than a man. It is unlikely that a woman would reach the same level of strength as a man on the same training program. This has to do with starting point. If males have lower body fat and more muscle prior to training this means their physical fitness capacity would be higher. If women natural strength is lower, that means they would be behind in terms of attempting to reach the same out put. Then there is the consideration of size. Men are taller and have larger frames, which correlates to housing more muscle on skeletal frame. Women relative to their size can see an improved level of strength.

Women’s muscles can experience hypertrophy, just not to the same degree as men. All men are obviously not stronger than all women. A woman who strength trains can at least reach or surpass the strength level of an average man. Somatotypes vary among both men and women. A woman with a mesomorphic body type could see far greater strength gains compared to a woman with an ectomorphic body type. While the weakest men are still stronger than the weakest women, it would seem unlikely that they could be stronger than the strongest woman.

It is clear that men do not have a monopoly on physical strength. The difference is in total amount of muscle composition. The difference means that there are some health implications.  Women will have a harder time losing weight and obesity could be a higher health risk for women. Men may be stronger, but that does not indicate superiority.

        Men have greater cardio vascular reserve compared to women. Lungs and the heart are bigger, which means greater lung volume per body mass. Men compared to women have a higher red blood cell count including higher hemoglobin. This means men can run faster than women. Oxygen is a crucial component to aerobic fitness and hemoglobin contributes to the transport. The difference in running speed is not only related to specific organs, it has to do with pelvic structure. Women’s wider pelvis reduce speed compared to men. Endocrinology and the changes in puberty also effect women’s fitness. A smaller heart means less blood is pumped. Women’s hearts are about 25% smaller compared to men’s hearts.

Men may also be able to run faster longer. Although men and women have the same muscles in the legs, the muscular composition is still more in the male lower body. Women have the advantage in terms of fat acting as an energy source. This becomes useful in ultramarathon events. While women can build impressive legs which aid in running men contain an estimated 80% muscle mass composition in the legs compared to women’s 60%. That 30% difference correlates to a slower run speed for women. The Vo2 max is even lower for females who are sedentary compared to men who are also.

There are differences in circulatory system health that effect women in different ways. Heart disease is a major health concern for both men and women as they age. Seeing as women live longer this means that the risk factor increases. Women’s heart disease occurs often later in life and can go undetected. Coronary heart disease in the United States claims men and women in equal numbers. This is related to weight, diet, and health habits. The reason there is a slight disparity in diagnosis is that most of the medical studies on heart disease were done on men.  Women do have lower blood pressure which gives them a level of protection from cardiovascular diseases prior to menopause. Women who do suffer heart attacks on average have them by age 70.

Many aliments can be avoided by a change in exercise and eating habits. The major problem is that many people are not getting enough physical activity. It is clear that too much sitting and inactivity has negative effects on the circulatory system.

         Mental health is just as important as physical health. There appears to be a disparity between men in women in this regard. Women are least likely to suffer from anti-social personality disorder, autism, tourette’s  syndrome,  and psychopathy . Men are least likely to suffer from depression, anxiety disorders, PTSD, and eating disorders. There seems to be questionable data in this regard. Examination within the US military demonstrates that both men and women can suffer PTSD at high rates. It should also be noted that the suicide rate among men is higher compared to women. This statistic could be distorted mainly because men often choose the most violent method to kill themselves compare to women. Men may be experiencing more psychological distress than what is reported. Cultures that value hyper machismo teach boys and men to suppress their  emotions, which could be deleterious to their mental health. The expression of dolorous emotion in such cultures causes men who do to be seen as weak or unstable. Women are free to express a wider range of emotions or feelings, because it fits within the gender cultural stereotype. Mental health does have biological causes, but environment can have an immense impact on well being. The problem also is that their is a stigma surrounding such illnesses. Eating disorder such as anorexia,bulimia, and binge eating are higher in women. This has more of an environmental basis with eating disorders being more prevalent in Western culture. The obsession with image and in particular the thin body type has caused these disorders to increase. It is more common in teenage girls and young women who at that stage in their live value physical attractiveness. The consumption of mass media images that present one version of the female body has caused women distress. It has only been a recent development that medical professionals are taking mental health seriously.

             Intelligence has been a constantly debated and controversial topic in psychology. One issue is the idea that intelligence can be measured. There continues to be bias against women and other ethnic groups in this regard. At one time it was claimed that men were smarter than women. Such claims like the correlation between race and intelligence have proven to be nothing more than pseudoscience. It is doubtful that intelligence can measured by a test or scale. Unlike scalars or vectors IQ may not even be a fixed  unit. Psychology and other sciences have not produced a specific definition for intelligence. It is at best a hypothetical construct. This is why the statement ” it has been suggested that the variance (or spread) in IQ scores is greater in men.” The text continues : “if this is true, there should be more men than women with an exceptionally high IQ.” This revelation written then claims that women should have less learning disabilities. Intelligence can vary from person to person and even putting it in a graphical set of data is a problem. To get a precise measure we would need to know what exactly intelligence is. Also all individuals who take such tests would need to have the same education level. The literacy rates of women are lower globally compared to men. Throughout human history women were denied access to an equal education and it was only in the 20th century that this was reversed. There still remains a disparity in education among the sexes.

It is not that girls are less intelligent or have learning disabilities. There is discrimination and societal pressure that holds them back.
The claim is that the majority of the population fall into a normal distribution of IQ scores.

Realizing this, the concept of IQ cannot survive the rigors of the scientific method. There are psychometric, cognitive, and  cultural theories of intelligence. The first IQ test was developed by Alfred Binet . The term IQ was only developed in 1914 by William Stern. Lewis Terman developed the IQ concept further by standardizing the Binet’s test for the US. These tests were developed around the period of eugenics and pseudoscientific biological racism. Sexism also was a part of this and a common falsehood was that women were not as intelligent as men. Male brains are contain larger volume, while it has been suggested that women have more cortical thickness. The brains of individuals vary regardless of sex, but this does not indicate men have more intelligence. Male and female brains are capable of great amounts of intelligence. Measuring it is may not be possible. Unlike height , which can be measured and defined ( the average man in America 175.8 cm tall compared to 162 cm for women)  intelligence seems more like an abstraction.


The brain is a complex organ that is involved in thoughts,problem solving, emotions, motivation, and organ function. Human evolution demonstrated that the genus homo species has been developing intelligence for millions of years. Intelligence being a measurable inherited unit  lacks cogency.  Saying men are more intelligent than women is not scientifically correct. While the root of intelligence could be based in the neo cortex  and frontal lobe, there is no method to measure it. IQ tests only show how well a person takes exams or which subjects they are more knowledgeable about.

         Women have an advantage when it comes to fighting infectious diseases. Women contain more white blood cells and produce  at a faster rate more antibodies. This is an advantage men do not have. What leukocytes do is act as a protector and guard for the body against infectious diseases or possibly harmful foreign substances.The body is strengthened by this.


There are multiple types of white blood cells which include lymphocytes, monocytes, basophil, eosinphil, and neutrophil. The body can be stronger in more ways than one. It seems women have the ability to handle disease better compared to men at least in terms of immune response. The preconception would be that men would be better at handling such infectious diseases or viruses. What is colloquially referred to as “man flu” may not be fiction. This means that women’s immune systems may be more robust compared to their male counterparts. Wrong is the assumption that just because men would have more physical strength, they would be better biological survivors. There is more than just one type of strength.

The reason women have this advantage could be related to microRNAs. These pieces of genetic material are responsible for silencing particular genes. The X chromosome which has microRNA located on it may give women an edge in terms of the immune system response. There could also be an explanation based on endocrinology. This research is still relatively new, so many elements are still unclear. Women survive trauma better, which could be rooted in a long evolutionary past.

       Men can father children into old age. Women’s reproductive capability ends with menopause. The reason for this is based on millions of years of primate evolution. According to Darwin’s theory of evolution there are traits that are naturally selected. The goal of organisms is to reproduce offspring so that certain genes and traits can be spread. Charles Darwin did not understand the mechanism that caused traits to spread. It was not until the science of genetics mad such understanding possible. Men have a reproductive advantage in this regard being able to father children in advanced age. Women have an advantage due to the fact they actually give birth. X  linked recessive disorders are rare in women . However, it appears that boys are more fragile at birth. Infant mortality is higher for boys compared to girls. This can be reduced through changes in healthcare,however it can still exist in developed nations. Nature may have made men more expendable, because female reproduction was just too important. Women have to keep the species going in this respect. The text is taking its analysis from an evolutionary psychological perspective. Environment cannot be ignored either. Psychological traits according to this perspective evolved out of adaptations in relation to natural selection and sex selection. This may explain behaviors such as promiscuity or human courtship behavior. Our ancestors adapted reproductive strategies for survival and some of these behaviors can be see today. The problem is observation and experimental procedure. It  is unknown how early humans behaved compared to modern humankind. This difference between male and female fertility does have an evolutionary basis.

       Environment does determine health outcomes. It is not only genetics that are a factor for why men have lower life expectancy. The gap is closing in developed countries to a degree with men being less involved in physical labor and women engaging in unhealthy habits. Smoking and drinking are still done, even when there is public knowledge of the health risk. Women may live longer as the article points out simply because they do not take as many risks. This translates to areas in the workforce that are considered dangerous. The military, police, construction, and firefighting are examples in which women’s total numbers are low. Discrimination is not the only answer, it has to do with choice. Women are not willing to risk danger to the same degree. Then there is biology. Physically demanding occupations require a certain level of fitness. Women would have to train harder to reach a particular fitness level compared to men that have more natural strength.

This would mean a difference in attrition rates in such physically demanding occupations. Despite the physiological and biological differences women have been able to become a part of such professions. Training can improve women’s performance. If is a matter of training, why are there not more women in these professions ? Some of this has to be based on an element of evolutionary psychology. There may be an instinctual drive that alerts women not to take risk. If survival depended on reproduction of the species, taking unnecessary risks was not worth it. There also could be an evolutionary psychological explanation of why more women are not involved in the fields of science and information technology. Women can be just as intelligent as men, however there may be certain way the male brain is wired. Men may have more of a preference for mechanical and technological related topics, because building was part of their evolutionary past. Traditionally, women have been excluded from such professions and unequal amounts of education, put them at a disadvantage. This also translates to human health. Having inadequate healthcare, limited hospitals, or a reduction of reproductive rights negatively effects health outcomes. then there could be public health crisis that effect an entire population. An epidemic or pandemic could effect life expectancy. Drug addiction outbreaks such as the opioid issue in the US is currently reducing life expectancy. A dramatic change in environment can change health outcomes.

           The article concludes with the statement that “so at least in biological terms,there is no clear winner between the sexes. Considering that data known and what has yet to be learned that may not be an accurate conclusion. Women have more durational strength. Men’s greater physical fitness capacity would indicate they would be biologically stronger, but total life expectancy tells otherwise. Sex differences do influence health or possible illness. Women consistently show that they are survivors in many cases. Women even outlive men when conditions are stable. From a biomedical standpoint there does not exist a stronger sex, but it seems women win the test of longevity.

Nature does not dictate a battle of the sexes, because compatibility was needed for survival. Women’s durability was to ensure that off spring would be successful in the environments in which early primate species lived.  Humanity now has reached a level in which it can manipulate its own health and biology. The rise of antibiotics, scientific surgery, and a genetic understanding of disease has vastly improved health outcomes. Men still lag behind in terms of life span. Many women also have medical issues in regards to breast cancer and access to contraception. The author Neel Burton has a background medicine, seeing as he is a psychiatrist. Psychiatrists are not the same as psychologists, because they take a medical perspective on mental illness with the belief it can be cured. Burton should realize that women from a biological view would be the winners, based on the rate of survival. This does not mean one sex is biologically superior . Misogynists often claim that the biological and physiological differences of women mean they are inferior. Difference is not an indication of inferiority. Sexual dimorphism is the product of evolution and environmental adaptation. Scientifically there is no way to test for biological inferiority or superiority. What can be concluded is that women might be stronger than previously thought.

Psychology Today : Battle of the Sexes

Why Getting Physically Stronger Will Help You Live Longer

Strength and Health

As the body ages it goes through a number of changes in its organ systems. The muscular system, skeletal system, and nervous system do change with senescence. Disease and age related conditions can be common, but there is a method that can maintain quality health.  Strength training can help maintain a healthy body. It is more than just a training method for elite athletes. This is more than a fitness fad, but a possible method to avoid chronic illness. The changes that occur in the human life cycle. Seeing as the average life expectancy will increase, it is pivotal to be mindful of health. This is important for women who on average will outlive men. There are normally more women who reach old age compared to males. There are health differences among the sexes, which have implications for the future. Biological and physiological differences must be accounted for when examining health. Women often would avoid strength training for fear of getting bigger, yet this has changed. Women can still see benefits form training.  Strength training should be a major part of a person’s fitness regimen. There has finally been a scientific investigation into how building strength is critical to general health.

      As the human body ages it loses its physical strength. The majority of people reach their physical fitness peak between the  ages  of 20 to 39. This also is influenced by a number of genetic factors and health habits. Some of the decline can be reversed with doing weight training later in life. It is never too late to start. Ectomorphs compared to mesomorphs would probably see a larger loss in muscular strength. Starting out with less means loss in muscle mass would have a larger impact. Those with endomorphic body types may struggle to maintain a healthy weight. The other  factor is diet. The prevalence of  high amounts of sugar and fats is contributing to poor health. Extreme declines in strength happen in the octogenarians and nonagenarians. There comes weight loss and frailty which effects the body as a whole. Decreased mobility, loss of balance, and possibly disability can occur.  Elderly people are at risk of falls, which could result in major bone injuries. Fatigue and slower walking are also symptoms of physical frailty.

Physical activity is not just for the young. Older people should incorporate exercise into their daily routines. 

Gerontologists and biologists have suspected that aging is the result of  particular factors. Mitochondria as the human body lives become weaker with the passage of time. This organelle in the cells of the human body is a valuable power source. Cells are the building blocks of organ systems. A change in mitochondria would mean as we age decreased levels of stamina, strength, and endurance. The body goes through metabolic changes with age. Chromosomes are also effected with age. The enzyme known as telomerase is responsible for repair and maintenance of caps on the ends of chromosomes. This plays a role in cell division and when telomerase can no longer be produced in the same amount, mitosis is effected.

info_telomeres     Telomerase has to build telomeres so that it can prevent shortening by adding DNA each time a cell divides. There are mechanisms in place to maintain and control cell growth throughout a life time. This also provides an explanation into the production of cancer cells. Tumors that appear on the human body occur when telomeres are too active. Cells replicate alone with no supervision. Each time a cell divides telomeres become shorter, which lead to cell death. There are only so many times that the body can do this over long life span.



It is hard to image that the body is made of a multitude of cells. The human body functions like an organic machine. 

There are changes that occur both on the genetic and organ system level. The endocrine changes with age means that testosterone will decrease in males and estrogen in females. Testosterone plays a role in muscular hypertrophy so the strength loss would be more dramatic in males. The endocrine system difference in terms of hormones has an implication for physical fitness between males and females. Men have greater strength due to higher levels of free testosterone. Women produce more estrogen and progesterone which allows for more storage of fat. This means women would have a harder time losing weight or fighting obesity. Muscle has the ability to burn more fat. Besides this difference in health, the skeletal system changes with age. The effects of puberty increase male bone density, where this spurt of strength does not occur in females. This means women would be at higher risk for osteoporosis. If women have lower bone density and bone mass decreases with age this becomes a serious health risk . Strength training can be a means of maintaining  and building bone mass. Women need weight training because of this biological and physiological difference.

Women have more durational strength. This means they can live longer compared to males even when the environment is perfectly stable for both sexes. While women do not have the same physical strength levels as a man who engages in the same activity women can build strength. The article claims that “bulking up is a myth.” Women are capable of muscular hypertrophy it is not to the same extent as a man. The term “bulky” does not accurately describe the transformation of the body through weight training. Women respond to training stimuli, however the difference is in starting point. If men have a different body composition it would seem as if they gain at a faster rate. This is not true, it appears that way because the amount of muscle in their bodies prior to training is higher. Women who have less to start with gain at a similar rate. Some muscle may be good for the female body. Strength training can prevent skeletal diseases that could effect mobility. There is still more to be learned about these developments in health science and biology, but studies and data are providing some clues.

         Two studies from the British Medical Journal revealed that lack of  muscular  strength could be a strong indicator of mortality. It claimed this even when other health factors were adjusted  as well as for cardiorespiratory fitness. A total of 30 studies were conducted using people who were in their 70s. Only five people under the age 60 were used in the study. Researchers measured bench press strength, grip strength, walking speed, chair rising speed, and standing balance. What they concluded was that poor performance in any of these categories increased the possibility of early mortality. Before one takes the study as fact, these results would have to be replicated. Another problem arises when sex differences are not factored into the experiment. It should be clear that women’s performance on upper body tasks would be considerably lower. Hand grip strength does not seem like the best measure to be using. If that measure were to be included, by obvious logic men should be living longer than women. Male hand grip strength is on average greater than women’s.


man-and-woman-strength col1

This does not translate to functional strength. Although it does suggest provide a basic estimate of physical strength capabilities. The weakest woman is still weaker than the weakest man. The strongest woman does not reach the highest levels of male strength. The charts above are not as accurate at measuring absolute strength. While it did produce a result that was expected with the female athlete having close to or equal strength of an average male, it is possible that men could generate more force simply because their hands are bigger. A woman who participated in the study may have more functional strength, but may have failed to generate more force in the study conducted by the Journal of Applied Physiology. That study used handballers rather than weightlifters. Looking at weight lifting records may be more accurate compared to grip strength. While the studies from the British Medical Journal do use bench press as a measure this also causes another problem. Men have more upper body mass and a larger skeletal frame. That means the data would be distorted, because even physically fit women cannot not match the upper body strength of a man who is on the same training regimen. Women who could be of various fitness levels still live longer than men. The study referenced to only examined men, but did not do the same for women. It is possible that a man who is physically weak could outlive one that is very strong. There are many factors that influence longevity which include genetics, general health condition, diet, environment,  and the amount of physical activity an individual gets.  This can also hold true for women.

It would be hard to predict which one of these women would live the longest. Using strength solely would not provide precision. 

Factors related to environment can be just as essential. Access to reliable healthcare and a healthy diet can increase health outcomes. Men’s health outcomes may be lower due to sociological factors. On average, the male suicide and homicide rate is higher. This is another factor related to surroundings rather than biology. Muscular strength may not be the best indicator of future morality. Standing balance, chair rising speed and walking speed seem to be better in that regard. They give better measurements of functional strength and movements. The British Medical Journal could be rushing to conclusions. At worse it making a generalization based on a sample. Simply being strong and building strength does not automatically mean a person will live longer. What getting stronger can do is improve quality of life and physical fitness condition. Implying it can be some form of life extension is a bit of an exaggeration.

       There is no doubt that weight training can improve health. There is the claim mentioned that weight training can add six to seven years on to one’s life, but this should also be questioned. Everyone does not respond the same to a particular training regimen. Health condition varies among people. Genetically inherited diseases or other conditions can effect human life span. However, it seems that exercise is capable of mitochondrial rejuvenation. Resistance training can induce the activation of satellite cells. This initiates gene shifting in which can revive mitochondria. It appears the even older muscles if worked can be turned back physiologically, genetically, and biochemical. Telomerase  production can be maintained by exercise. There is also a link to production of antioxidants. These are molecules that stop the damage that could be done by free radicals. They are mostly found in fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants include vitamins A, C. E, Lycopene, selenium, lutein,  beta-carotene  and many other molecules. There is also indication that exercise can stop cognitive decline. The reason may be that a healthy circulatory system can protect the brain. Stroke, heart disease, and high cholesterol can cause major health issues across the  body. When there is a disturbance in the arteries of the brain, this could cause dementia. Specifically multi-infarct dementia develops from blood clots that cause blockage in the blood vessels of the brain. The result is reduced oxygen to the brain causing death of tissue.

Brain arteries


The circulatory system functions like a highway. If there is a clot, that is the equivalent of a traffic accident. The problem is that there is no alternative route. If cars were to just keep piling up it would be a chronic mess. The blood supply being moved does not have an alternative path adding to the complications. Maintaining a healthy circulatory system is essential to overall health.  Heart disease and high blood pressure become more of a health risk  if one’s diet consists of fat and sugar based foods. Inactivity contributes along with poor diet. Exercise is not only important to longevity, but also quality of life. Weight training is just one type of exercise that can improve health.

     It should be realized that these studies do not mean weight training is the best form of exercise. The articles suggests that all forms of exercise are not equal. Yet, any amount is better than none at all. A training regimen depends on what one wants to accomplish in their fitness goals. This does not mean weight training should be the only form of exercise performed. Walking, aerobics, or running could be options. Although too much of one form or the other could cause problems or the possibility of over training. Doing aerobics does not increase muscle. Doing cardio does not burn fat as effectively. If a person is sticking to one exercise, they are neglecting other elements of physical fitness. There are some misconceptions that need to be addressed. Healthcare and medical professionals suggest that seniors avoid strenuous activity, yet seniors should exercise with in their limits. An exercise session does not have to mimic an Olympic athlete’s. Elders benefit from gene shifting, which means improvements in health. There are also benefits to mental health, which fight depression. While physical health is important, mental health biomedical science has now realized is just as critical. There is a link between exercise and the release of endorphins, which can improve a person’s emotional state.

Women have the most to benefit from strength training. There remains a fear of looking “too muscular” which prevents women from engaging in weight training. Appearance is a matter of preference and its should not be dictated by society’s standards. Women should not fear having some muscle on their bodies. No one just looks like a professional bodybuilder by just lifting weights casually. It also is the same for any other sport. Giving women basketballs does not automatically turn them into SKylar Diggins Smith , There are women with the capability to gain more than others, but this is not a characteristic that should be condemned. The point of exercise is too improve health, not for the purpose appearance. Women must learn to overcome body image issues for the sake of their mental and physical health.

The great aspect about a new emphasis om fitness and physical activity is that it is now acceptable for women to be active. While its been proven weight training can improve elements of health and fitness it is still questionable that it can make people live longer. If this were so, there would have to be an experiment conducted in nations with either  high and low life expectancy. There are numerous reasons why life expectancy increased globally since 1970. Medical advancements such as the end of defeat of smallpox and the development of the artificial heart  as well as organ transplants are few examples. State healthcare systems and improved public health measures have contributed to improving world health. Yet, there are challenges such as global pandemics like AIDS or antibiotic resistant bacteria. Many countries around the world do not have the economic resources to provide a functioning healthcare system or adequate hospitals. Socioeconomic status also effects health, with people in poverty struggling to afford medical care.


Japan has the highest average life expectancy, with the the highest portion of centenarians. If the hypothesis is correct, if weight training was part of the average Japanese citizen’s life, the life span should go beyond the age 100. The study would not just involve males, but females. They should be study closely, seeing as on average women tend to live longer. Knowing this, it would mean a change could be seen if such an experiment were to be conducted. If the average life expectancy of a Japanese woman citizen is 86.1 years, that should increase if the assumption weight training can make a person live longer. Then a comparison should be made with countries with the lowest life expectancy.  Afghanistan and Chad have some of the world’s lowest life expectancy which is calculated below fifty years of age. Here is the trouble with making an experiment. Certain aspects would have to be controlled to get a precise set of data. Environments would have to be favorable meaning the same level of public health, be free of warfare, and functional medical facilities. The subjects would have to be of a similar health condition. South America’s nations have life expectancy that is either high or low. Conducting the experiment on this continent  may produce a result that may give a precise answer.  Weight training may improve health, but how long you live also depends on other factors. Genetics can be an element including environment. Then lifestyle choices and health habits can alter the condition of health over a lifetime. An individual that engages in smoking, excessive drinking, or overeating is increasing their risk factors for chronic illness. While it can be debated that  simply getting stronger will increase your lifespan, it is a method of preventing diseases of the skeletal, muscular, circulatory, and nervous system.

Why Getting Physically Stronger Will Help You Live Longer

The Female Muscle Fetish : Psychological, Biological, and Social Causes

The female muscle fetish can  be classified as a separate entity.  Although cratolagnia and sthenolagnia are closely related to it, female muscle as a stand alone sexual fetish has become something unique. Sthenolagnia is arousal from displaying strength or muscles. This is mostly about showing the muscles. Cratolagnia is arousal from the display of physical strength. The female muscle fetish encompasses more than that. There is an entire culture that has emerged around it. Wrestling, art, and fictional written stories are part of this subculture. The female muscle fetish by definition is men who love the look of the strong physique on women to varying degrees and idolize it as a great standard of beauty. This does not just include athletes, but any woman with some muscle development.  There has been a movement to accept larger women and the mainstream still up holds the thinner body type as ideal. Yet, this is changing. Different forms of beauty and ideas about women’s bodies are developing. Gradually, there is more acceptance, than in previous generations. The athletic figure on women has more visibility than ever. This is mostly due to television and the internet. Crossfit, bodybuilding, and other sports have allowed men to see highly developed female bodies. There could be psychological, social, and biological reasons why some men have the female muscle fetish.

       Some basic definitions should be understood before examining the female muscle fetish as a whole. Cratolagnia is more about showing one can be strong. Just being muscular does not automatically make a person strong. Big muscles do not always mean more physical strength. A weightlifter who is smaller could lift more than a much larger bodybuilder. The factors are related to body composition and the specific type of muscle fiber, A person with cratolagnia would be more impressed with a woman who is just strong. They may not have as much muscle, it is just the about the act of demonstrating physical power.

If a woman was muscular,but did not have the strength someone with cratolagnia would not be amused. They would not fall under the female muscle fetish category. However, if the muscular woman is very strong, then it is possible such a man can have both cratolagnia and the female muscle fetish. Sthenolagnia puts more emphasis on the muscle its self. It is not so much actually being strong, but looking the part. A woman could perform strength feats, but may not have muscular development that is noticeable. Biceps, abs, glutes, or legs are of importance to the man with the female muscle fetish. This emphasis on particular body parts is not new to concepts of physical attraction. Every man has an idea about what is the most attractive part of a woman. Traditionally, the lower body specifically the posterior has been a major beauty mark. Legs are also an area of interest. The woman who seeks muscular development only enhances these areas to a greater degree. The hourglass shape is almost more exaggerated relative to a higher extent of upper body development.

These two fetishes are related, but are not the same in terms of definition. They have similar connotations in the sense that it favors a woman with a highly developed physicality. Then it should be noted that there is a difference between sexual fetish and paraphilia. Paraphilia  is extreme behavior that sexual arousal can only occur when the action or object is present. It can be distinguished by the fact that the individual becomes obsessed and are dependent. More men are likely to have paraphilia. The causes of these disorders can range from psychoanalytic or  behaviorist  psychological explanations. Psychoanalysts believe it is a person either reverting to an earlier stage in life. The behaviorists claim that it comes from conditioning. This means an individual must have learned an inappropriate behavior at some point in life. Liking muscular women could not count as a paraphilia. A sexual fetish is arousal based around a non-living object or a body part not part of the reproductive system. This is harmless in comparison to extreme paraphilia. However, there is a difference in sexual expression among individuals. This makes it difficult for psychologists and sexologists to classify what constitutes normal sexual behavior. The man with the female muscle fetish may express this through muscle worship or mixed wrestling.

This can not be considered paraphilia either. Although some might mistake it for BDSM. The goal of  mixed wrestling is to see how powerful the woman is and show off muscle. The intent is not entirely pain based or dominance. Mixed wrestling can be competitive, semi-competitive, or fantasy. Fantasy takes the least amount of effort, because it is acting and has elements of role play.  Muscle worship is the fetish behavior, which a man would admire the muscles of  a muscular woman. There is rarely wrestling involved in the behavior. Many fetishes that fall under female muscle overlap. Lift and carry, scissors, and arm wrestling can be part of the female muscle fetish. At times for the sake of clarity an all encompassing term can be used to describe these behaviors. There are stereotypes that have been associated with the female muscle fetish that do not represent reality.The notion that the muscular woman is a powerful dominatrix seems to have emerged in the subculture. Women who do session wrestling are not all involved in dominance.

This is a prejudgment based on the women’s appearance. The assumption is they must be dominating if they are so strong. That notion lacks credibility,due to the fact such an attribute has to do with personality and temperament. A dominatrix would rarely have a physique comparable to a female athlete. Then there also is the image that all men who have the female muscle fetish are schmoes. Men who are schmoes are hardcore fans of female bodybuilding and like the most muscular women. A man with a female muscle fetish would enjoy all ranges of physiques. It is also a myth that this would be the only type of female body that is sexually attractive to  them. Normally, their preference for female physiques varies vastly. Men who love female muscle would still see that there are other types of beauty.They may have more than just one attraction.

There seems to be more of an acceptance of larger women. No one calls this a fetish, yet curves are praised. It is rare that an attraction to thin women is called a fetish. Society is slowly understanding there are multiple forms of beauty and it can vary depending on the culture.



The woman sculpting her physique is essentially building curves. There is bias against women who do  not fit into the mainstream version of beauty. However, people reject the mainstream versions and choose to develop their own paradigms. Considering the female muscle fetish is not widely accepted men with it are either secretive or not as open about it. There may be more men who like muscular women. There has not been a quantitative gathering of data to know just how many do. Understanding the difference in terminology can help clarify the elements of the female muscle fetish.

        There is a psychological reason for why men may have the female muscle fetish. It has been hypothesized that many fetishes start during puberty when boys and girls reach sexual maturity. It is not just the physical body that is growing it is also the mind. Adolescents during this period develop a sense of awareness about sexual impulses and feelings. This also involves youth exploring their bodies. Masturbation is a common expression of sexual impulse that both men and women engage in during adolescence. During this period sexual orientation also develops. There are multiple sexual orientations which include heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, and asexuality. It is difficult to get an accurate measure of sexual behavior, due to the fact many are based on anonymous surveys. Many respondents probably would not be truthful, due to the taboo surrounding copulation and human sexuality. There is a change in the mind that occurs with increase in sex hormones. Testosterone and estrogen can effect the mind as well as behavior. Testosterone plays a role in both sexes  in terms of healthy sexual functioning. A man with a female muscle fetish clearly developed a psychological association with that image. Seeing such an image it creates an association of pleasure that could either be conscious or subconscious.

There exists in a person’s mind a sense of psychological sexual motivation. Unlike food or water, sex is not an urgent need for survival. People can live without it and not face the threat of death.  Biological drives such as sex can influence behavior. There are culture specific rules that dictate sexual practices or social rules. Traditionally, in American and Arab cultures homosexuality was  seen as abnormal, while in Polynesian civilization it had acceptance. The rise of the sexual revolution in the United States gave way to more open discussion about human copulation and sexuality. Many times it was either taboo or for some too embarrassing to  discuss. There was also too much misinformation or myths surrounding human sexuality. Sex is not homeostatic, which means that the body will not return to a state of equilibrium after the act. The motive for sex in an animal species is the need to have offspring that will spread particular genes. This functions on sex and natural selection. Social motivations are complex in regards to endocrinology and environment. Marriage, relationships, and courtship are dictated by cultural mores and societal standards. During adolescence men are developing ideas about what type of body they find attractive on a woman. It is obvious this may not be regulated to a few attributes, but many and changes overtime. Sexual arousal is not just a physiological response; it is also a mental one. Psychological research indicates that a fetish can emerge by imprinting and conditioning experiences. Seeing a muscular woman on TV or in real life could induce this process. To an extent it may be a form of classical conditioning. This would mean that the female muscle fetish could be of the realm of behavioral learning . Behavioral learning functions on both stimuli and responses. The muscular woman would be the stimuli and the man’s attraction could be the response. This could be more of a reflex to the stimuli. Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936)  explored the idea of classical conditioning through experimentation with dogs. The dogs were put in a restraining apparatus and presented with neutral stimulus ( tone ). Doing this made form a neutral stimulus became a conditioned stimulus with the sound of the bell. The dogs would salivate when hearing that noise. It is a possibility exposure in youth to strong women can produce the female muscle fetish in a classical conditioning like manner.

Some psychologists have suggested that fetishes come from displacement. This is a term used to describe the process in which individuals shift their reactions to an event to another source. It is possible that the female muscle fetish could be displacement for some event in an individual’s life. This is sometimes the case with extreme paraphilia in which the people with the condition did not get affection or attention in early childhood. They displace their emotions into inanimate objects or other activities. While it could be the case that the female muscle fetish is part displacement, men who have it do not have all tragic childhoods. There is a possibility that a small portion of men have displacement for a loving mother figure. The lack of love or support could cause such fetishes to develop, but this may not count for the majority.

These are the major perspectives in the field of psychology. These are views psychologists take in approach to study and academic investigation.

Behaviorists and Freudians come to major disagreements about the nature of the mind and scientific application. To the behaviorists if  elements of the human mind or function of learning could not be observed it was not scientifically credible. Sigmund Freud (1856- 1939) was a proponent of psychodynamic theory. These concepts and ideas emphasized unconscious motivation and the impact of the past on mental disorders.  The problem is that it is difficult to observe the unconscious mind. What Freud did to peer into the unconscious mind was to utilize psychoanalysis. This system of treatment involved therapeutic methods to unleash hidden conflicts , memories, and urges. Freud developed these theories without the aid of modern neuroscience or brain scans. This explains why some elements of his theories are either challenged or could be discredited, yet there are still adherents in the 21st century.

These are the modern branches of psychology.

Freud may have been correct that people do go through a process of psychosexual development. The oral stage of life involves children be dependent on their parents. This is a stage in Freud’s theory were an infant has no other interest than to eat and cry. The anal stage is a period in which infants start toilet training and learning self control. The phallic stage is a period in which a person becomes aware of their sexual desires. The problem with Freud’s theory is that men experience an Oedipus complex at a certain stage of youth. it does not take into account the differences in female sexual development or he just refused to recognize that women have sexual urges as well. There is a period of latency in which people learn to deal with sexual desires and impulses. The final stage is the genital stage in which sexual relationships have developed and energy is displaced into other activities. A more healthy relationship is then established with the individual’s parents. The problem with this theory is that it does not account for sexual and psychological changes over a lifetime. The Oedipus complex is not a common occurrence and there is limited data to suggest that this a standard part of sexual development in males. Freud may have seen the the female muscle fetish as displacement or  unconscious  Oedipus complex behavior. These are the wrong conclusions due to the fact everyone’s childhood and development as a person differs. That is why modern psychology takes into account culture and ethnic differences. The problem with early psychology is that it believed Western Europeans were the default of humanity.  Cross cultural psychology attempts to reverse this narrow minded view. Freud viewed masturbation and homosexuality as signs as abnormal behavior. These were obvious biases of his time. Modern psychology does not hold those views. The Freud’s theory can only minimally describe the changes that occur from childhood to early adulthood. Relevant to the female muscle fetish it may not be the best theory for description. Women contrary to popular belief, also have urges and are not passive receivers of male advances. For a long period of time women were forced to be as demure as possible about their feelings and sexual urges. It is very possible that women could have fetishes as well. Although men are thought to have more fetishes, it could be women are not as willing to be honest about theirs.

 There could be some women who like the idea they can wrestle a man into submission. This may be arousing to them as well. Too often when session wrestling is investigated it is assumed the woman is just a passive instrument. This is not the case, because it is social interaction between two people. It cans be presumed that women can also have a muscle fetish. They may have this more so than men. Traditionally, it was acceptable for women to admire a strong male physique. Women who engage in physique sports like the idea of muscle on both sexes and regard it as another paradigm of beauty. Psychology when it emerged as a science did not focus much on women. It even had elements of sexism and racism as well as class prejudices of the late 19th to early 20th century. Its association with eugenic and unsubstantiated theories caused the rise of multiple perspectives. The pyschodynamic and behaviorist ideas may explain some causes of the female muscle fetish, but not all.

      Biological and evolutionary psychology could provide some clues to why some men have the female muscle fetish. Biological psychology puts emphasis on the search for the link between behavior and the brain. This perspective utilizes brain scanning equipment and neuroscience. What it seeks to do is understand the mind through brain activity in response to certain events or stimuli. This has contributed much to the understanding of memory, emotion, learning, and what is the basis of mental disorders.  The human brain hold the key to understanding the mind. It is a complex organ responsible for thought, emotions, involuntary motions, and management of the body. The nervous system is an essential network of the human body. Relevant to the discussion of responses the hypothalamus is a major contributor. This gland has the task of regulating behavior which includes sleep, stress response, thirst, and hunger. This gland also is responsible for secreting hormones that influence emotions and arousal. Men with the female muscle fetish if shown an image of such a woman  may have activity aroused in this area of the brain. This fetish along with others could be a biopsychological response.

The hypothalamus is sometimes referred to as the master gland due to its importance to the endocrine system.

Evolutionary psychology believes that behavior came from the tendencies inherited from humanity’s past. There are millions of years of human evolution and with it behaviors that have remained ever since. They do not ignore that environmental forces have an influence, but natural selection still remains a force in the animal kingdom. Certain characteristics may have been favored over others resulting in particular behaviors. Organisms that could acclimate to particular environments were the fittest for survival. This female muscle fetish could be men’s desire to produce strong off spring. The idea of physical strength could be a trait of natural selection acting upon men and women. Sexual cues and sexual scripts could be the product of the evolutionary past acting on present behavior. Genetics evolutionary psychologists believe influence behavior. The goal of any organism is to leave as many offspring as possible. The reproductive strategy for humans in accordance with evolutionary psychology was that males evolved to have more partners, while women were more cautious in mate selection. This may explain why women invest more time in child rearing and men have little investment in it. Sexual motivation differs for the sexes in this perspective. Females only seek mates for status and protection, while males seek women who are the most fertile. This may explain why men may show more interest in sex than women. It may also explain why women think of it terms of both long term and committed relationships. Yet, cultural impacts also influence this. Men could be encouraged to be more promiscuous as a demonstration of masculinity, while women are more restricted. Promiscuity in women has traditionally been seen as negative. Psychology had long debated nature versus nurture, it should be understood that it is a combination of both. Both nature and nurture act in collaboration. The female muscle fetish does have a biological root, but the social as well as environment factors cannot be ignored.

          Environment and socialization are major factors on individual  preferences and biases. The consumption of media has reached new levels with the internet, social media, and other modes of communication. Through media certain images a presented. The image of the strong woman has been presented to many over various forms of pop culture and entertainment. Female athletes have more exposure than in previous generations. There was a period in which finding images of physically strong women would be rare.Now with powerful search engines like Google simply entering the term “muscular woman” or “female athlete” can produce thousands of images. It is obvious that having this level of exposure alters opinions. This socializes consumers to seeing a muscular woman as not an abnormal thing. A paradigm shift has occurred through elements of advertisement. Young are more susceptible to this because they can be easily influenced and the are big consumers of social media content. A young man who runs across such images of strong women and repeatedly looks at them has gradually been socialized to to like it.

There exists separate from mainstream culture many subcultures in societies. This contains material and non-material elements. There has existed a female muscle fandom subculture that developed from  the bodybuilding world. When female bodybuilding emerged as a sport it created a unique culture that involved both fans and athletes. One activity was the rise of both session and mixed wrestling. The female muscle fetish could have been an outgrowth of this subculture. Schmoes are hardcore female bodybuilding fans who sometimes pay to have wrestling sessions with female bodybuilders.Mixed wrestling is different because it just involves men and women wrestling in various venues. Session wrestling has been a method for some athletes to fund their sports endeavors, when the industry pays very little. The lack of sponsorship or endorsement from the fitness industry leaves women with few options. Instead they start their own business in session wrestling in which there is no corporate gatekeeper between them and the consumer. Mixed wrestling itself can be seen as an entertainment genre over the internet. This was pioneered in the late 1970s by Bill Wick and expanded even more with the rise of internet access. Sites like Scissorvixens or Utopia Entertainment videos are just a few that regularly produce videos. This is for the female muscle fan who would rather watch a match than be in one.

This high amount of availability over the internet gives people more exposure to muscular women. Men may stumble upon it and be curious about it. Seeing as information is at one’s fingertips  this only causes a person who wonders to discover more. It is also easier to connect with people who have a similar interest faster. It appears that the attraction has generated a cultural meme through technology. It is possible having exposure to the subculture surrounding female bodybuilding and the much wider fitness culture could cause a female muscle fetish. Exposure and access to certain images and materials has an effect on socialization.

          There has been in a sense a slight cultural paradigm shift. The concept of the strong woman is gaining some acceptance. There passage of Title IX in the US opened the door to new opportunities for women and girls to become involved in sports. It came at a time in which women were gaining political and social power in society in the feminist movement. The female athletes of the ancient past to 20th century faced sigma and ridicule. Strict gender roles and conservative attitudes perceived strong woman as unfeminine. That changed with more open minded attitudes about what a woman can do or be. The physically strong woman image began to appear in the mainstream culture. Women in other sports began to train their bodies with weights. Lifting and building muscle was not seen as the sole domain of men. Such physiques have been seen on television. Women were not afraid to show off powerful looking bodies and some men were not hesitant to show their admiration.

Although there are a number of detractors to women’s involvement, it is not possible to halt their advance. Female muscle has entered the mainstream to some degree through the sports world. They are not doing this to please men, but for their own personal reasons. That does not mean men have not taken notice and others love the development. Women themselves are slowly seeing it is okay to be strong and have muscle. Sometimes a man with a female muscle fetish got media exposure of a developed female body during youth and the image remained in their mind. Entertainment is a refection of the culture at large. There seems to be a celebration of strong women in many variations presented in popular culture. This could range from film, TV, or printed media.  There are even shifts in the fitness culture. The new maxim is “strong is the new skinny.” Toning as some call it, is nothing more than women building some muscle. Fitness is no longer a male only activity and there seems to be a movement toward acceptance.

 Alicia Vikander trains for Tomb Raider

Magazines do feature more female athletes and present a powerful image. While print publications are slowly fading, there is a boom in online publication. Users can get information faster compared to print. This gives the female athlete more exposure. 

Wonder Woman used female athletes as extras to play amazons in the film. Here is crossfit athlete Brooke Ence.

Body image ideals do shift overtime and it is possible another one is occurring. The other possibility is that more people are becoming accepting of different versions of beauty. Certainly exposure helps people understand and get to know that muscular women exist.From this comes some acceptance, for others it is an enthusiastic embrace. The love of the muscular female physique could also originate from other sources. The first place could be from a family environment. If one was raised in a family very dedicated to sports and physical activity the strong woman may be seen as normal. Children who have parents who are athletes may be taught to respect such activities. It is no surprise that some of the biggest schmoes in the female bodybuilding subculture are male athletes themselves. This makes sense in a way, seeing as they are in an environment in which they would be in contact with such women. Seeing as being a champion physique athlete takes much time and effort it would be difficult to start relationships with women who are not involved in the culture. Women who have the same interest may be more compatible to their lifestyle. It is clear there has been a form of cultural evolution that has emerged from fitness culture. Women are gaining political, social, and economic power yet this does not seem unusual. There is the much expected backlash and areas in which more advancement is needed. Control of the body and physical development of the body is the new frontier that women are entering. It is an understudied development .

The representations of the physically strong woman appear in various entertainment media. Comics, cartoons, and video games   present the physically strong woman to large audiences .  Some depictions can be negative or based on stereotypes, but it seems the majority are positive. There are some images that could either be classified as neutral. They neither present a negative or positive image. The impact is that these characters are seen by many children and adults. It is not impossible to believe that these images if circulated could induce the female muscle fetish. Environment, society, and culture play a role as well as biology.

           Biology is the the study of life. Relevant to the discussion of desires, there should be some basic understanding of the nervous system. This organ system is essential to the function of the human body. Neurons are the cells responsible for the foundation of the nervous system. These specialized cells are estimated to be up to 100 billion in the brain alone. They compose a communication network sending information and receiving it to maintain operation of the body. The neuron has basic structures that have certain tasks. The cell body (soma)  contains the nucleus . The nucleus also has genes that provide instructions. Genes are responsible for nervous system formation during the prenatal period. The structures of the neuron are involved in processing information.


The dendrites act as communication links between other neurons. This is where the signal is received. Receptor sites also contribute to the process. Axon terminals then send messages . The action potential or neural impulse is the electrical signal in transit. The myelin sheath acts as an insulator and contributes to the speed of action potentials. The nervous system is the master control system of the human body. If it were to completely shut down, that would be the end of life. neural communication does occur electrically, however it is estimated that 99 % happens chemically. The synapse acts as a connector between axon terminal and receptor site. Neurons do not have a direct connection to one another and the synapse must act as a bridge.

 The nervous system can be divided into two parts. The central nervous system consists of the spinal column and the brain. The spinal column contains bundles of neurons that communicate with the rest of the body. This is known as the spinal cord. The brain is the director of activity. There is a protective structure known as the meninges and cerebrospinal fluid. The skull protects the brain where it is encased. The peripheral nervous system consists of two parts. These include the somatic and autonomic nervous system. This system requires the work of both afferent neurons and efferent neurons. Afferent neurons must send information to the nervous system. The efferent neurons must send information from the nervous system. The subdivision of the somatic system uses afferent neurons to relay signals from sensory receptors in the eyes and ears. they are also collecting information from receptors involved in taste, touch, and smell. This subdivision is also responsible for fine and gross motor activity. It has been theorized that smell plays a role in sexual attraction, mostly the work of pheromones. One type of pheromone known as a releaser which contains    androstenone, androstadienone and androstenol could be active in human beings. There is a science of sexual attraction that is still unknown and being examined. It is more than just culturally or socially based; it is both biological and anatomical.

Structures of the brain can influence behavior and emotional states. The female muscle fetish could be part somatic nervous system based. The autonomic nervous system must play some role as well. This subdivision is responsible for internal regulation of the human body.  This part of the nervous system is also pivotal to arousal and different emotional states. The endocrine system acts in concert with this subdivision system. It is mostly the work of the sympathetic and parasympathetic system activity. The female muscle fetish could be a response to the stimuli of the image of the strong woman. The human brain is complex. It is the product of both millions of years of evolution and genetic information. This may hold the key to explaining why  some people have predilections for certain fetishes.

        The fetish as a general concept remains a mystery. At one time there was a separate classification. Partialism was a term once used to describe arousal from body parts not related to the reproductive organs. The fascination  posterior or legs  for example could fall under this classification. The DSM once separated this from fetishism, because it classified it as something different. Fetishism is no longer part of the DSM.

The man with the female muscle fetish may have a preference for a certain part of a woman’s body. Traditionally, the lower body has been emphasized. Legs and glutes tend to be major favorites. This explains why in many mixed wrestling productions there are nothing but women putting men in scissor holds. The emphasis is to see the power of a woman’s legs. This is the demonstration of partialism. The term has fallen out of use and today fetish is just used to describe a whole range of arousing inducing stimuli. Female muscle fans also have a fascination with other parts of the body. Some like biceps, abs, or a full chest.

The term fetish was coined by French psychologist Alfred Binet. He was also known for developing one of the earliest IQ tests . When he coined this term in the early 20th century There was still much unknown about sexual behavior. It was too controversial to examine academically. When the stigma and taboo were decreased scholars began serious investigation. Fetishes are not a modern day development. Such behaviors could have roots in humankind’s evolutionary history. Some psychologists claim that a fetish can be established as early as four years old. This claim would be difficult to prove as definite scientific fact, but is not impossible. Although fetishes are seen as strange, they are not unhealthy. The only way it could be unhealthy is if it causes harm to the individuals or others. People may have a number of sexual kinks which describe a number of sex practices. According to a study from the University Bolongna the common fetishes are ones related to feet, stockings, boots, or gloves. These were once again based on surveys, so it may not be clear how precise they are. The female muscle fetish may not be as large, but the possibilities are bigger when considering the global population. The term fetish suggest that there some pathological behavior involved. There is not correlation between pathological behavior and fetishes. The appearance of fetishes can be the result of sexual expression.

Each individual has a “turn on” which technically is sexual expression. This is the reason why some couples may engage in role play or other types of activities. There is a ritual in this process. Alfred Kinsey was the pioneer of sexual science who in the 20th century interviewed 17,000 Americans about their sexual behavior. His work was done in the 1940s and 1950s during a period in which sexuality was not openly discussed. The data he collected was an important resource for future scholars. William Masters and Virginia Johnson went beyond surveys and actually examined sex in a laboratory. They observed people engaging in sexual activity of various types from copulation and masturbation. For the first time there was actual documentation how men and women physically and physiological react during sex. They discovered that men and women function on a sexual response cycle. This happens in four stages which includes arousal, plateau, orgasm, and resolution. A fetish would probably fall under the arousal stage in the sexual response cycle. A fetish may just merely be another way people express their sexuality.

      Evolution and genetics must play a role to a degree. Genes are segments of DNA which has a presence in the nucleus of the cell. Genes are important to the process of heredity and sexual reproduction. Genes are also involved in the production of proteins. It is important to understand that there are multiple genes that are responsible for various traits of an organism. Genes are in larger groups known as chromosomes .Genotype does not always link to phenotype. Genes do not always determine physical characteristics. Genes may give potential for what traits a person has ( body type or height ), but environment can influence phenotype ( exercise and nutrition can dramatically change the physical characteristics of the body ). Genes can be capable of polygenic expression. Numerous genes could contribute to particular traits of a person. The study of genetics has reveal much about human evolution. The brain has become more complex with the increase of endocranial volume. The cerebrum became bigger compared to our early primate ancestors. Humanity was given a new power of introspective thought, reasoning, language, and the ability to produce art. The body was not just changing physically; humanity was morphing psychologically.

Genetic mutation, genetic drift, and anatomical changes would lead early homo genus species to change in both phenotype and genotype. 

As the human brain became more developed so did emotions and behaviors. Richard Dawkins an evolutionary biologist describes the way genes spread similar to a computer program. The self gene wants to preserve particular traits and continues to propagate through other organisms. Altruism may not be the product of group benefit, but rather the desire to see certain genes spread through a biome. Genes and phenotype play a role in sex selection. The reason men and women may find certain traits attractive is because it is biology, genes, and past history of human evolution producing these feelings or actions.


It is not impossible that the rise of the fetish that is just now being studied in human sexual behavior, was present in the homo genus species. The whole basis of sexual drive and motivation is influenced by the need for humanity to produce offspring. What is called love may just be nothing more than a biological impulse, rather than an emotional relationship.Human evolution has been a process that took close to 5 to 7 million years. Human are part of the family hominidae. Primates derived from a common genetic ancestor, which explains why humans share genetic similarities to chimpanzees. Human emerged recently compared to other organisms.  It is estimated humanity made its appearance close to 150,000 years ago. More is being revealed from fossils and from biogenetics. Charles Darwin was the pioneer of evolutionary theory suggesting that natural selection operates on selecting particular traits for an environment. Herbert Spencer coined this term and his views were strongly associated with social Darwinism. Such ideas were applied to social problems and justified discrimination as well as class structure. This idea is part of the realm of pseudoscience. While social Darwinism as a scientific idea has been discredited, the term survival of the fittest is no the best description either. Rather it is the survival of the best acclimated in an ecosystem  organisms who can produce the most  offspring . Fitness in this this terminology means the organisms who are successful at producing offspring. This is by definition direct fitness. This does not mean the strongest people will survive. A weak person could reproduce many children and would be in terms of  Darwin’s theory fit for survival. They are passing on genes and traits more so compared to others who are not successful at doing so. This is not as simple as it seems. Offspring are not exact  genetic blends of their parents. Darwin’s theory of evolution also describes indirect and inclusive fitness.

Fitness used in an evolutionary context does not mean the strongest will dominate. It is referring to chances of producing offspring so that genes can spread. 

What actions organisms take are to ensure survival and the production of more offspring. Inclusive fitness involves a group in which certain behaviors contribute to the survival of the species. This explains why human being are social animals. The evolutionary past require some level of cooperation among a family, clan, or kinship group.  This does not mean there is no competition for mates. The reason sexual dimorphism exists in certain animals is that it is part of sex selection. Physical differences act as a tool of attraction. It is not impossible to say that the female muscle fetish is rooted in evolutionary history. An attraction to particular features of a woman’s body may be an nonverbal signal of fitness. The trait of physical strength may be something that a man with this fetish subconsciously wants  in his offspring. This is only theoretical. There is still more to be discovered about human evolution and its relation to human sexual behavior.

         The female muscle fetish  does have a cause. Psychologically it could be based on behaviorist, psychoanalytic, or imprinting theories. A sociological perspective sees it nothing more than being placed in an environment. If one was raised in an atmosphere of female athletes or muscular women, it may become something appealing. The internet and mass media exposure does have an influence on thoughts and ideas. Biologically the brain and with the assistance of the endocrine system are responsible for sexual desire and cycles. There is the debate in regards to whether this is nature or nurture based. The answer to the question is not one or the other. Human behavior is a product of both nature and nurture. It would be erroneous to say that both stand independently of  one another. It is both interaction and collaboration that occurs between these two concepts. There still remains the puzzle to how much does one act on the individual. Sex and sexual fetish are a combination of these two concepts of nature and nurture. The psychology, biology, and the internet have demonstrated that fetishes are more common than previously thought. Fetishes are not unhealthy, but suppressing them could cause a person a level of distress. There still remains a level of stigma attached to the concept. Only further study and eliminate false notions or preconceptions. The female muscle fetish has multiple causes, but its origins remain unclear.


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The Female Muscle Fetish : Psychological, Biological, and Social Causes

Women Closing the Strength Gap in A Big Way

Women and the Strength Gap

This article published online for Women in the World. com was discussing a physical fitness measure between the sexes discussed in a Washington Post piece produced in 2016. There was an analysis of hand grip strength between average men and women. This is used as a measure of strength, but is not the most accurate. The study reported that women between the ages of 30 to 34 had the hand grip strength equal to men of the same age. The right hand was measured for men and women between the ages of 20 to 30. It was compared to data collected in 1985. The average woman compared to the sample could produce 79 pounds of pressure compared to the 117 pounds of pressure of men. The results from 2016 show that women produced 98 pounds of pressure. That is the current male total pressure as well in the 2016 sample group. There was a decline in male grip strength. It should be questioned how accurate hand grip strength measure is as a predictor of physical strength. It has been suggested that it is an accurate predictor cardiovascular disease and life expectancy. These claims need verification to be considered fact. Women are not becoming overall stronger than men, but have improved their physical fitness. Men as indicated by this sample have declined in terms of that element of physical fitness. There are environmental factors that could explain this including changes in health condition. Women have been getting stronger, but closing the strength gap has not happened.

         The subjects used were 237 full time students attending universities in North Carolina. Pinch strength was also measured. The problem with this is that the sample is small compared to the rest of the population. If the study included a wider selection of the population the results would have been different. The results may have looked different. It may still would have shown that a portion of the population in the US is unfit. Obesity and weight related health problems are gradually becoming a public health crisis. The methodology could also be flawed. The 1985 study was conducted in Milwaukee from students who participated in the experiment. This took one cross section of the population. At best this only shows that the average male university student has lost strength. Then one must consider the attributes of subjects used. If it is a test for the average man and woman, students with athletic backgrounds may have to be excluded. This may have distorted the data. Obviously, the female athlete has a physical fitness capacity beyond an average woman.

Today’s Men Are Not Nearly As Strong As Their Fathers  is the original article in the Washington Post. If a woman like Elizabeth Akenwale was used in the study it would distort data.

  If all the women had athletic or fitness backgrounds it would alter the data to make it seem like they acquired immense strength rapidly in two decades. Also the male subjects the studies used could also result in data that is exaggerated. If some of these subjects were student athletes, their activity levels would be higher. This would result in them having a higher physical fitness capacity relative to their inactive counterparts. The 2016 showed that younger millennial women scored lower in grip strength compared to older ones in the 30 to 34 age range. This resulted in the total average of grip strength of women being 75 pounds. The 20 to 30 age group may have done poorly because the body still goes through physical changes during this age range. It is possible for people to still grow up until the age of 25. Muscles reach their full potential in strength, contraction speed,   and size also by the mid-20s. Muscle mass will  plateau and then will decline with senescence. Bones and muscles can change depending on the amount of stresses and strains they have to endure. Muscles can respond quickly to changes  and patterns in use. This means that if younger women are going to be a part of the study, they would need to be a least 25. This is the stage in the the human life cycle that growth is fully complete and the body is at its physical peak.

Age does have an effect on fitness through the human life cycle. Prior to puberty girls and boys are at the same physical fitness level. The changes in endocrinology alter the bodies of men and women. The male body has more type II muscle fiber and the female body stores more subcutaneous fat. This results in differences in strength. Physical strength is not solely determined by sex, but genetics, somatotype, and exercise regimen. The subjects used in the 2016 study were described as healthy. This could have many connotations. If they all were disease free, that would mean they were healthy no matter what their fitness level was. One could be slightly overweight and be disease free, if one follows the exact definition. Knowing the exact body types and activity levels of subjects could have provided more insight. This experiment if scientifically true, should be able to replicate the same results. If not, it cannot be considered fact.

         There is a problem using hand grip strength as a measure. This method only is an approximation. The text reveals that it is not the same as functional strength. Testing hand grip strength only demonstrates relative strength. This is the force generated by one muscle group or area. Only a measure of absolute strength can be a more precise assessment. This examines the entire muscular force that can be generated from the body. It is not impossible that a person could lift more weights and still produce minimal hand grip force. Weightlifting uses more muscles of the body and would be a better measure of strength.


Such an activity uses multiple parts of the body rather than just one. Hand size could be a factor. It could be possible that difference in hand size could make a difference in the grip data. Absolute strength is the culmination of both the upper body and lower body. This gives an idea about estimated strength ranges in body. Women can have an estimated 50 to 60 percent strength level in the upper body compared to a man of a similar weight and height. The lower body women are closer ranging from 70 to 75% in terms of absolute strength.

 These estimates could not be extracted from a simple hand grip measuring test. It is not that men have better muscles. Their muscle fibers are larger. This results in a major difference in power. Doing work and generating force is what power is. It is critical in sports such as sprinting or long jump. Examining weightlifting or crossfit records show the differences in strength between the sexes in a more precise manner. As seen in the charts above, men still have higher performances compared to their female counterparts. These measures are better than hand grip testing. Approximations are not helpful in a scientific inquiries.

        Besides problematic methodology, there may be an environmental  reason for this result. The article describes it as work habits. When the first study was produced in the 1980s more men were involved in manual labor. This meant they were getting more exercise hence the hand grip generation. Factory or construction work has been gradually disappearing ever since. Globalization and a knowledge based post-industrial society has caused such laborers a struggle to find work. For those who have transitioned into it, it has had some negative consequences. Sedentary lifestyles and excessive consumption of junk food has caused health problems. Obesity, heart disease, and cancer resulted in this shift. Rarely do Americans get the recommended amount of exercise by the CDC. A materialistic and work obsessed culture causes mental stress as well. Increasing rates of anxiety and depression have become prevalent. Over consumption of alcohol also has increased among the young. Limited life work balance has produced poor physical and mental health. There are some changes being made in workplaces. Standing desks help prevent employees from sitting too long. Some Americans even get gym memberships. It may be too late to reverse such a trend. This will eventually cause strain on a healthcare system already under strain. Environmental factors do influence health. It is not solely biology. Everything cannot be reduced to biological determinism.

            It should be clear that women have become stronger. The measurements in strength show that women are probably doing more physical activity, which resulted in the increase.  Women were less likely to do manual labor jobs in the past. Now that has changed with women working in construction, firefighting, law enforcement, and the military. Some men have become weaker and women have become stronger due to their activity levels. This does not mean women have closed the strength gap. It reflects that women are either getting in better shape or men are becoming less active. It is rare that women who train with men reach the same level of strength. There of course can be overlap in the population. The indication  is that to extent social policy did help women’s health. Title IX gave women opportunities at young ages to become active in sports. Since then the numbers have increased. It is not just the professional female athlete that is becoming more active; average women are exercising and becoming a part of fitness culture.

 There has been to at least a small degree a change in attitudes. Strength may no longer be seen as a male only attribute and women are not afraid of building it. Women seem to take better care of themselves compared to their male counterparts. American women tend to keep up with doctor’s visits and engage in lower levels of high risk behavior. The men who scored low on the strength test may not all be obese or have a weight problem. They could just be out of shape or at a lower fitness level.

The American man has not become a puny weakling or a gluttonous blob, rather just more inactive. American women seen either stabilization or improvement, because historically physical activity and sports was not considered gender appropriate. Now that such barriers are gone and attitudes have changed women are full participants.  Biases remain,yet this does not stop women from pushing their bodies to their physical maximum. There is a revolution going on yet it is a small one. Women who are not afraid to display or demonstrate physical power. There are women who are in various divisions of bodybuilding, crossfit, weightlifting, powerlifting, and numerous sports. This is not just happening in America. The year 2012 and 2016 saw more female participation in the Olympics. Women have become stronger, but en mass not so. It seems to be the age of the amazon. American women have entered the world of law, business,science,  and politics yet there still is a general taboo against women enhancing their physical strength. There is a small shift in cultural attitudes, but more progress has to be made. The excellent development is that some women are embracing strength and fitness.

The rise of the modern fitness woman is a phenomenon. It has not been recognized or studied seriously. There has up until now no point in history in which women have developed themselves physically to this extent. There muscular women prior to the rise of modern fitness, but they did not have an outlet to display their talents. The boom of physical culture from the late 19th century to early 20th century did involve women to a lesser degree. Strongwomen either performed in circuses, vaudeville acts,  or smaller venues. This was not the athletic competition they craved. The rise of the feminist movement and the challenge to institutional sex discrimination  opened the path for the female athlete to get mainstream exposure. From the 1970s  to present there has been an increase in women’s participation and women have gained notoriety as sports stars. While this rise is impressive some made erroneous predictions that women would be out performing men in the 21st century. Some even said women would become stronger than men in the future. This is disputable when examining the biological, physiological, anatomical dimensions.

            Women are not closing the strength gap as a whole. Certain women are able to do so. It is not impossible for a woman to be strong as a man. A man who does not exercise would most likely not be as strong as a woman who does. However, that depends on body type. The mesomorphic somatotype is prone to building more strength compared to ectomorphic and endomorphic body types. Men of ectomorphic and endomorphic body types would not exceed the strength of the female mesomorph. Even

though the men are producing more androgens they are limited by the genetics of their body type. When comparing these body types in a sense women have closed the strength ( or rather exceeded )gap with average men and men of a lower physical fitness level. The strength gap is wide even when male and female ectomorphs are compared. The weakest male would still have more strength than the weakest female. This relates to body composition. If estrogen and progesterone produce more fat, compared to muscle this changes total strength capacity. The thin male has limited body fat and although their little muscle, the few fibers present can still generate force. Fat does not generate the same force as type II muscle fiber.

 Simply having large muscles is not an indicator of strength. There is a difference in training for strength versus training for muscular hypertrophy. The first is the desire to lift more without the goal of developing muscles. Training for hypertrophy is designed to make the muscles larger, doubtless of what the final strength result will be. A weightlifter could be stronger than a bodybuilder because they have trained for different goals. This relates to two different forms of muscular hypertrophy. Myofibrillar hypertrophy causes the growth of contractile parts of the muscle fiber. Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy causes growth of organelles, plasma,  and non-contractile proteins. This increases muscle volume, but does not grow the fibers to their maximum extent. This could be an explanation why a less muscular weightlifter could lift more than a bodybuilder.

Women can see at least a 40% increase in physical strength from resistance training if the intensity is high and the diet is adjusted. The muscular system is the same for men and women the difference is in body composition. Testosterone plays a major role in protein synthesis.  This explains why men are more likely to gain more mass compared to women on the same training regimen. it also has to do with starting point. Women have more body fat to lose relative to men. It is however not the total amount of testosterone that accounts for the difference.

 It is the amount of free testosterone that  is present in the body. The majority of testosterone is either connected to sex hormone building globulin and non-specific proteins. A thin man could still produce more testosterone and not be stronger than a female athlete. This reveals that there are other factors besides endocrine function that contribute to strength. The MSTN gene dictates directions to the myostatin protein. This regulates muscle growth and individuals who have low levels can build larger muscles.

The location of the MSTN gene

Being female does not limit strength potential. Men have some physical advantages which just means their physical fitness capacity will be higher. There are obviously exceptions to the general rule, simply because genetics vary among individuals. Charley Craig and Naomi Kutin were lifting heavy weights when they were children . it is clear they have a natural advantage which aided them in their athletic endeavors. As they mature and if they decide to continue they will have impressive athletic careers. It would not be a shock if they will be seen in the Olympics years form now. Strength does not just involve the muscular system. It related to the actions of the nervous system as well.

It seems that men are destine to get easier  stronger just from the difference in hormone function. The testes allow for greater testosterone production making this possible. The gonads in both men and women perform different functions.  The testes produce sperm and the ovaries produce eggs to allow for sexual reproduction. This requires a surge in sex hormones that change the bodies of girls and boys. The effect is more dramatic in men. Bone, tendons, ligaments, and muscle tissue will gradually increase causing a strength spurt. This also causes an increase of about 40% more heart muscle in the male body. The male growth spurt happens at the end of puberty, while women reach their full growth earlier. As boys mature the amount of free testosterone increases in the bloodstream. Bone density increases and the chest as well as shoulders become broader. This is done by age 20. Women do not see an increase in physical strength during puberty. Muscle fibers do not increase in number, they widen and extend to a greater length. Ligaments are thinner in women compared to men, however they are relatively lax. This means women can be more flexible, but makes them vulnerable to joint injuries.

Women’s hips widen which effects total running speed. Other than that, there is no significant growth in the lungs and heart to the extent of men. Testosterone also increases the amount of hemoglobin in the blood cells. Hemoglobin carries oxygen to the muscles. If men have more that means they get more oxygen to the muscles during exercise. This means the average male would have a higher fitness level with little or no training assuming they are in good health. There is obviously a reason for the difference in athletic records between male and female athletes. The idea that women are closing the strength gap en mass is not correct. Despite the physiological differences, there is the possibility that  the strength difference can be narrowed. There has been calculations that  if the average sports records of women stay below .85 percent women van make more improvements in accordance with the 90% ratio.Training can not eliminate all of the differences in physiology. The average woman’s muscle weight without training is 35% compared to men’s 50%.

So far, it is clear that women are not closing the strength gap, but are becoming more fit. The article’s commentary seems to either have a vague or limited understanding of exercise physiology. It was fascinating that it did not expound further on contents of the Washington Post article, because it gave a lucid picture. This article was written for Women in the World an organization that promotes live journalism events.It has third wave feminist leanings, which may explain why the title of the article is such a hyperbole. If one were to read the article with limited knowledge of human anatomy or physiology, they would believe that women were as strong as men. This is not the case, but there are some very strong women. The third wave feminist movement would benefit from learning science rather than branding it a tool of patriarchy.

           The topic regarding sex differences had been a controversial issue. It has been complicated further by those who still promote and believe pseudoscientific biological sexism of the past. The opposite end of the spectrum is faction of third wave and power feminists who think that sex differences are entirely sociologically based. To them the differences in strength among the sexes is nothing more than an example of patriarchy. The reality is that on average men are stronger, but that does not mean men are stronger than all women. Biology is not patriarchal or sexist. It is a science, but it seems that this small group of women want to wage war on it. Ignoring or pretending that differences do not exist is irrational. Differences are not evidence of inferiority. Misogynists normally use the fact men are stronger as a justification men should have more privilege and power in society. This argument is ludicrous, because that would mean a stronger woman should have more rights and privilege than a weaker man.

As seen previously, strength is not male only. Arguments that truly to prove biological inferiority have no basis in scientific fact. The reason power feminists and factions of third wave feminists focus on this is because it is an area in which they cannot not fully compete with men in .  They claim to want equality, but rather they seek power and an abnormal amount of influence in various spheres of society. There is nothing wrong with women being a part of areas in which their numbers are low, but there is the problem of conducting it as an invasion of male space. An example is that of the electronic entertainment and video game industry. While women do not play as many video games as men a small group of third wave feminists are attacking video games. This was started by Anita Sakeesian of Feminist Frequency, which presented the gaming community as sexist woman haters. Sexism is a problem in the industry just like other areas of society, yet the trend now is to focus in on a particular section or group as a root cause. There seems to be a desire to demonize attributes or activities traditionally considered masculine by this faction of feminists. If  it is not condemnation its third wave feminists entering a sphere and using it as a vehicle to advance their  agenda.   The mentality is compete with men and promote gender antagonism. The only reason this has not occurred in the sports world is that women’s participation is low and there are biological obstacles that make it a challenge.

They claim that  their is sex segregation in sports and that there should be an integration. This is not segregation, but making competition fair. If men are stronger and faster than women having a separate division is just like a weight class. Women if there were no divisions would be pushed out of contact sport. Men weight more and are taller giving them a physical advantage. The only way this would constitute discrimination would be if it were separated when there was no physiological or anatomical advantage that favors men. There would be no need to have separate archery or equestrian teams for example. There are women who just want to challenge men for the sake of promoting gender antagonism. There may also be another reason for this concern about strength and physicality. The fact that men are stronger than women may induce a level of trepidation in some women considering the rate of domestic abuse. While one does not need to strong to be  physically abusive, it makes it simpler for a person to inflict damage.

 Some feminists erroneously believe that if women were as strong as men this would end oppression. That is not true because oppression is reliant on control of resources and property. The reason women were held back in human history was due to the fact they did not have property rights and were denied education . Employment was limited and healthcare was of low quality due to restrictions on reproductive rights. Regulated to the domestic sphere they had limited access to politics or the affairs of state. This was reversed in the 20th century. Although some nations lag behind in terms of women’s rights, women have become more powerful politically and socially. Many women are enjoying opportunities that their great grandmothers could only dream of. Women are getting power politically and socially so the obvious next step is to develop the mind and body. The problem this the power feminist is that they want to use a new found power as a tool of vengeance against men.That should not be a goal. The point is for women to enjoy sports and fitness not demonize men. Recognizing that sexual dimorphism exists is not sexism. It is the result of millions of years of evolution. However, the influence of environment cannot be ignored. Women at a young age are discouraged from the use of the their bodies and body image conformity has a negative consequence on health. There is a reason anorexia and bulimia are higher among women compared to men. The idea of a single body image for women is being challenged in America and it is a welcomed change. It is imperative that men and women have a healthy perspective about their bodies. Physical activity should not be done for the sole reason of cosmetic purposes. Maintaining health should be the goal. The strength difference is a combination of nature and nurture. If one examines the number of women in physically demanding occupations this demonstrates interactionist  theory. If women on average have less strength it means their numbers would be lower. That is not the only reason, because discrimination has kept women out of certain fields such as these. The numbers still will not be equal even if social barriers are removed.

        unless biology and physiology of women change dramatically, law enforcement, construction, firefighting, and the military would remain mostly male. Biological determinism is not the only reason. It also comes down to behavior. Men take more risk and are raised to be more competitive. These jobs do require a level of risk that many women may try to avoid. The challenge therefore is not solely biological, but social behavior.  This probably is the major obstacle to reaching actual equality. It will not be realized with the current version of feminism that is visible in American public life.

       Although hand grip does not give an exact measure of health it is obvious that American health is declining. The decline in hand grip strength is an indirect indicator of low levels of physical activity and fitness. American life expectancy has declined reaching a plateau when this article was published in 2016. There factors could include high fat, high fructose corn syrup, and sugar based diets. Making no time for exercise can have major consequences on health. Children are even having health problems with an increase in unbalanced diets. The cuts to public education have also harmed physical education in schools. There also has been a disparity in healthcare. The US is one f the few nations that does not have a government program for healthcare, but instead relies on private companies. Most Americans get their health insurance through their employers. Those who are unemployed or could not afford a plan had to pay out of pocket costs. The Affordable Care Act was suppose to be a means for which all Americans could get healthcare no matter what their socioeconomic status. This needs to be developed into a universal healthcare system in which all citizens can be covered. Now with a Trump presidency it is being dismantled and medicaid as well as medicare will soon be under attack. The removal of such programs will ultimately cause a public health crisis.

It seems like the study only demonstrated that women are taking better care of themselves. Men are neglecting their health. 

This would impact men worse in particular. On average the male life expectancy is lower even when conditions are favorable. A woman with a particular health aliment may survive longer compared to a man. This also depends whether or not a citizen lives in an urban or rural area. Urban areas have more hospitals, while rural areas are dependent on health clinics. Hospitals located in rural areas may require long distances to travel to. Health clinics in rural areas are shutting down due to lack of funding, while simultaneously there is an attempting to dismantle government healthcare. There must be a drastic revision in public policy to reverse years of neglect of these populations. Women’s longevity does come with a price. The longer you live the more likely it is to have more health aliments related to age. Cancers and dementia become a threat to seniors. If elder care is not funded or functional this will add to the mass public health crisis induced by poor diet and inactivity. Social security, medicare, and medicaid will not be able to handle the medical costs from advanced age related illnesses. This can be prevented, but it starts with a change in eating habits, lifestyle, and a new attitude in regards to exercise.  It can be concluded that women have not closed the physical strength gap, rather they have closed the durational strength gap. Women’s life expectancy exceeds men’s even in countries that have the lowest average. When compared  in this regard they do have greater strength.

Women Closing the Strength Gap in A Big Way

Physically Fit Recruits Are Hard To Find

Not Fit Enough

A recent study has shown that a large portion of the American population is not physically fit enough for military service. Obesity and lack of exercise are culprits in this health and military issue. The interesting discovery is that the people with the worse fitness were in the South. This has been traditionally the largest area of military recruitment. Compared to other parts of the country, it demonstrates a disparity in health. Unfit recruits are more at risk for injury. The report done by the US military ( by researchers at Citadel Military College) wanted to determine if certain states could be a burden in terms of military readiness. They used body mass index as an indicator, however this measurement can be misleading. Cardiovascular measurement seems to have more precision. Cardiorespiratory fitness was measured with incidents in relation to injury during training. The examination used Spearman correlations. While it is true the US has a weight problem, this can be reversed. Doing so will solve high injury rates in military recruits.

       The use of the body mass index for the study may not be the best measuring tool. BMI can classify people who are muscular as being overweight. It also can classify individuals who are thin as being underweight. The study was unclear about the morphic body types of the populations surveyed. The southeastern region which includes Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, West Virginia ,Texas, Tennessee, North and South Carolina had people who were in worse shape compared to other regions of the US. Some of the people in the data may not have a weight problem. People with endomorphic body types are not technically obese. Their body fat levels are higher, but it is not enough to have a deleterious effect on health. Knowing this it means that some of the data is more of an approximation.

Adding weight to the body will not always result in poor health. Women who are now joining the  military understood that they needed the strength to do certain task. However, when doing weight training they added mass in terms of muscle, which pushed some women out of the weight range. The Marines reversed this decision and women can be at a higher weight. Using the calculation of BMI its flaws can be seen.

 Margie Martin and Colette Nelson’s BMI provides an inaccurate picture. Margie would have a BMI of 27.4 and Colette stands in the 29.11. Both values are in the overweight range of the chart. They are not overweight, because they just have more muscle mass. The BMI scale does not account for different body  types.Although the BMI is not a great clinical tool it is obvious that Americans are suffering from obesity and weight related illnesses. According to the CDC there  is a 35% rate of obesity in the South. This increase is dramatic compared to previous decades.  America now has a poor diet that consists of sugar and high fat. Simultaneously, Americans are getting less physical activity. These are contributors to a growing public health problem. This explains why the injury rate increased 28% among the least fit states.

        The problem is that the military does not examine the issue from a physical fitness perspective. Besides just being overweight, many may not be in shape. Men and women who are not active, but do not have weight problems would probably have injuries. This is proven by the fact the report shows that even the recruits from fit states had injuries increase by 22%. Physical fitness capacity varies depending on health condition, genetics,Somatotype,  and sex. A person who is obese or overweight is going to have circulatory or skeletal joint issues. Strenuous work would be difficult and it makes it harder carrying excess fat on the body. The opposite end of the spectrum is the ectomorphic body type. Thinner people would have trouble doing tasks that require large amounts of physical strength.

 The man pictured is not overweight, but may not be in the best of physical shape. The lady however is at a high physical fitness level and would have an easier time meeting physical demands. 

Sex becomes another factor in military physical fitness. Due to biological and physiological differences the total physical fitness capacity is higher in men. Men are on average stronger than women due to endocrinology, body composition, and difference in body size. Men have more skeletal and muscle mass. Testosterone allows for a higher rate of protein synthesis. Protein is essential for muscular hypertrophy, but that is not the sole factor. Insulin growth like factor 1 and human growth hormone play roles in muscular hypertrophy other than just sex hormones. Aerobic capacity differs due to the fact men have larger lungs and hearts. Women would run slower due to the shape of their pelvis and the difference in the rate tissues are oxygenated. The difference in hemoglobin between men and women is also a factor in physical fitness. What this means is that there will probably be more men in combat jobs, even though more are open to women. Women’s numbers may continue to remain smaller. Lowering standards is not a solution. It means women will have to train to meet the physical fitness standards. If the average woman has lower physical fitness capacity, that means she will have to train harder to reach a particular level compared to a man.

These men and women shown are fit, but the average American does not exercise as much as they do. 

Women would have to train before attempting basic training to prevent injury. Women’s injury rates are higher due to the influence of sexual dimorphism. Relevant to obesity women are at higher risk and would find it more difficult to lose weight. Women have higher fat percentages due to estrogen and progesterone. Despite these differences weight training can increase a woman’s strength. During World War II only 50% of young men were qualified to join. Today even with the expanding roles of women in the service it has dropped to 23%. The number may also be a dramatic shift due to the fact it includes people without a high school diploma and a criminal record. It seems that allowing women in combat is a wise decision if the recruitment selection becomes low. While physical fitness is important, a woman or a man does not have to be Rambo or GI Jane to become a soldier.

The mental aspect is also a pivotal element. Then there is translation onto the battlefield. Collaboration and coordination are keys to a successful fighting unit. This means each soldier pulls their own weight and fulfills obligations as needed. There is also the factor of leadership and tactics. Soldiers even though some armies have the benefit of modern technology still need to be in an optimum health condition .This does not mean just being fit and strong will win wars. There were many powerful nations, states, and empires that should have won conflicts, because their armies were strong. Germany by examining its military strength could have won World War II. The United States from the strength of its army should have won Vietnam. The Roman Empire did not fall because of military defeat, but due to internal corruption and a series of weak emperors. The barbarian invasions were just another small nail in the imperial coffin.The US could have a military of the strongest men and women ever, but that does not guarantee victory.

Just being strong and fit does not produce a high quality soldier. It takes the acquisition of numerous skills in combat and survival to do so.  Maria Anderson is a major general  and  matched against Kristy Hawkins , kristy would not be prepared because she does not have military training.  

It is an exaggeration to say America’s lack of physical fitness is a national security risk . The US military will have to get recruits to enjoy physical activity and learn to control eating habits. There is also another factor that should be considered. If there were to be a draft of women they would need an extensive physical training program. The average woman’s upper body strength is lower and doing exercises that target those muscle groups is essential. The obese and overweight would have to go through a weight management program to meet before going into basic training. Drafting women would have challenges simply because of differences in physiology. It would most likely take longer to get the unfit into shape. Although it would be longer, there would be more soldiers at the end of the process.

The average woman would struggle to meet physical demands. The female athlete would not have such problems. If women had programs specifically designed to increase their physical fitness levels this would reduce complications of a draft of women. 

The portion of  people eligible for the selective service may decrease unless a new policy is implemented. The US military should employ personal trainers who task is for focusing on soldier fitness and health. Educating recruits about diet and exercise may help reduce  the amount of injuries. The task will be difficult. Physically demanding occupations do have an attrition rate for employees. Age and strain will eventually take its toll on the body. That is why it is preferred to get younger recruits between the ages of 18 to 49. As seen from higher performing athletes men and women reach their physical peak in their 30s. Training can reduce age related decline to an extent. Understanding fitness can prevent permanent or short term injuries in basic training.

        A improvement in the American public’s health must start at an early age. This includes putting an emphasis on physical education, healthy diet, and a new attitude in regards to exercise and physical activity. Many may be turned off at the thought of physical activity, because a sedentary lifestyle is all they know. The first step involves improving physical education. Children will start to develop their attitudes in regards to exercise first in a PE class. Making PE fun and amusing will get children moving as well as developing a positive attitude in relation to physical activity. Doing this would make the children who become adults maintain health, if these habits are reinforced.

Mark Herling a retired three star general stated that “recruiting challenges are going to get tougher for the military.” 

Making a gym class an unpleasant atmosphere will influence children for life. They will associate exercise and physical activity with something negative. There also needs to be another issue addressed with physical education. Girls are not encouraged to exercise as much as boys. Even at a young age their standards are lower. At this point there are very little physiological differences prior to puberty, so having lower standards in terms of physical activity makes no sense. The sexist notions about women’s physical capabilities still remain present in physical educator’s minds. This can impact women worse. If women have lower bone density and rarely do anything to build it they risk higher rates of osteoporosis. Simultaneously, there remains a cultural bias in terms of women’s roles. The backward notion that women developing strength and physical skill is unfeminine must be discarded. Exercise, sports, and fitness are viewed as a male only pursuit. While this has gradually changed with more women involved in sports and the passage of Title IX  there is more to be done. Besides obvious bias and discrimination, women will have to change their attitude as well. There are some women who shun any form of physical activity. They do this even with simple tasks such as opening a jar or shoveling snow. The idea that there will be a man there to do something for you will not always be the case. Women should learn to embrace exercise and develop physical competence. A dramatic shift has to be made in terms of attitudes toward exercise. This must be done, because it appears that American society is beginning to see obesity and be overweight as normal. The strange element is that fat acceptance has evolved into a movement. The reason this probably emerged is because of the weight loss industry presenting another unhealthy image of  extra thin body type.

 Body size is not the sole factor in determining health, but carrying excess weight can cause health problems. The skeleton will suffer extra strain combined with a circulatory system vulnerable to heart disease. Depending on the individual’s diet, there could be a risk of diabetes. Fat acceptance may not be the best for health. When living in a country of abundance it is simple to over indulge. Food, smoking, and alcohol are commonly over consumed. People must learn restraint and self-control to solve weight issues. There is a psychological element to changing habits. It must be done with the encouragement of friends, family,doctors, or fitness professionals. Shaming or scolding a person will only result in failure; positive reinforcement and motivation will be a pathway to success. There should also be a revision of goals. The sole purpose should not be only loss of weight, but rather improving physical fitness capacity as well as maintaining an active lifestyle. Clients may go on diets lose weight, then regain it. They may become discouraged attempt multiple times or simply quit. The only way improvement in health can remain permanent is that behaviors and lifestyle changes are persistent.

    Rather than just losing weight one should seek to improve overall physical fitness.

The most difficult part of this is maintaining a healthy diet. The nation is filled with fast food restaurants and supermarkets filled with junk food. To say that it is entirely  an individuals fault for weight related problems is not true. Healthy food such as fruits and vegetables cost more compared to junk food. The high obesity rates in the South could reflect the dire economic situation of that region of the USA.  Poor families would not be able to afford healthier food. The combination of poor diet and limited access to healthcare or reasonably price insurance means life expectancy could decrease.

If affordable healthcare is under attack and could be dismantled it will have devastating consequences on public health in the future. 

If obesity and weight related illness becomes so immense the government will have to act. The conservatives and far-right Republicans claim to be pro-military, but rarely do anything to address this issue or veteran’s needs. The only solution to a population that is less fit is to encourage exercise. This will have to be done at the state and federal level. Building better sidewalks to encourage walking is a start. The construction of recreation centers and parks may also encourage physical activity. The UK has experimented with putting taxes on drinks high in sugar. Office buildings are adopting standing desks. The data gathered from this study was accumulated between the years of 2010 to 2013 and  ever since there has not been any major change to policy.  It was reported in 2005 each soldier lost to attrition cost the government up to $31,000. If ignored expenses will only increase. The wider population may become a financial burden with mass decline in health.  The Department of Health and Human Services should take this matter seriously. Only a public policy based solution and address the rapid decline of health and fitness.

Physically Fit Recruits Are Hard To Find

Are Women Really Stronger Than Men ? When It Comes To Longevity, Surviving Illness And Coping With Trauma

The weaker sex? Science that shows women are stronger than men

Physically men on average are stronger, but in terms of durational strength women have an advantage. It has been confirmed, that women live longer than men and may cope better with illness including trauma. There is a gap in terms of old age between men and women. The article from The Guardian examines how there are sex differences in aging and how it relates to overall health. Gerontology seeks to study and explain the process of senescence. Biological aging and death are still a mystery. Biomedical science has not studied women in a serious manner, but that has began to change. Such examinations may hold the key to prolonging life and fighting age related diseases. The information written in the text comes from the Centre for Study on Sex Differences in Health, Aging, and Disease and the Gerontology Research Group. It was once believed that men were better suited for survival, because they were biologically tougher. This was a myth based on gender stereotypes. Medicine had  a tradition of casting the female body as inferior or an object that needed to be controlled. Research has shown that women are not biological inferiors, but have evolved to be survivors.

            The research demonstrates there exists two types of strength. Physical strength which is the level of exertion and force that a person can induce upon an object. Durational strength is how long a person  can live in total years. It is dependent on health condition, genetics, and environment. Steven Austad describes women’s total life expectancy as being more robust. The biologist who is an international expert on aging discovered from his findings that women lived six years longer than men. This would indicate that women on average have higher durational strength. Unlike what Angela Saini claims “the physically strong woman is almost a  myth” there is more to the human body and the science behind it. The female body is more capable of amazing feats than once believed by exercise physiologists. Women historically were restricted in using or having control of their bodies. Physical power and fitness are not male only. The frailty myth was born out of 19th century Victorian Age pseudoscience. It stated women need more rest when they reached puberty and that too much exercise would damage their reproductive organs. There was also a sexist bias in terms of what was considered gender appropriate. Since then, women have gain more opportunities to play sports and engage in physical activity. The false claims were discredited and a change occurred. The only reason female athletes are “gazed upon as other worldly creatures” has to do with people’s view of gender and the female body. Cultural perceptions of the the female body being weaker or women lacking physical competence was common place. Now this perception is shifting and with new information in regards to health it seems arguments of women’s biological inferiority are nothing more than fantasies.

The reason people feel “they break the laws of nature” has to do with sex based biases. There are people who still believe that sport is not proper for a woman. There has been a change in attitude in regards to women, exercise, and health. Strength sports specifically, women are becoming more involved in. Even the “everyday woman” has taken a interest in exercise, not just the professional athlete. Robustness, toughness, and physical power are associated with the male body, but not out of women’s reach. The physical strength difference is based on the size and endocrinology of the male physique. However, this does not mean men will live longer than women. Denser bones and more muscle mass of men means they will not be as susceptible to osteoporosis. That is one health difference that is based on sex. What must be understood about physical fitness is that men have higher capacity. Women’s bodies do respond to training an they can increase fitness levels. Men have a higher physical fitness capacity for strength, but this does not indicate a form of superiority. What it reveals is a long evolutionary history still being shaped by genetics and constantly changing environments.

      Women have a greater chance of living to old age than men. According to The Gerontology Research Group there are only 43 people today who have lived past the age of 110.  Women account for 42 of the group, with one man being the survivor. Violet Brown holds the record of the oldest person being 117. She was born in 1900 and pasted away in 2017. It is a mystery why nature has made men expendable in this regard. Durational strength does not emerge later in life, but starts with the gestation process. Boys are more likely to die when being delivered. Even when healthcare is the same quality, boys are at a 10% risk factor. Research produced from the University of Adelaide indicated that depending on the sex of the baby the placenta may behave differently. The body reacts by bolstering the power of the immune system and girls may get the most benefit. The reason girls and women are protected may have to do with evolution. Reproductive strategies for some organisms involve the female producing large amounts of young. This would mean the female of that species would have to be larger to carry eggs. This can be seen in arachnids and species of birds. Seeing as women give birth to only one child  or just a few more ( twins, triplets, or quintuplets), survival of the female would be more critical. They birth offspring and this method seems more efficient than having young all at once. This is a possible explanation why their is sexual dimorphism in primates. This also includes homo sapiens who do have a level of sexual dimorphism. It can be flexible to a degree. Most men are taller than women, but there are tall women. Obviously, there are women who are stronger than many men.

There is a level of genetic diversity among people, which results in variation. A possible method would to solving this puzzle is to examine the life span of primates such as gorillas or chimpanzees. More information could be extracted from chimpanzees seeing as human beings are closer to that ape genetically. If the females of these apes lives longer then that means women’s longevity does have an evolutionary basis. This could mean the reason girls survive even in the early stages has a genetic basis.

        Both men and women are vulnerable to disease, but women may fare better. Infections and common colds women cam handle better in terms of immune response.   Cardiovascular disease occurs much sooner in men than it does women. Hypertension also a major culprit to health showed a distinct sex difference. Men get high blood pressure earlier. This could not only be a genetic factor, but environment as well as habit based. Americans are becoming more sedentary and getting less physical activity. Combined with high sugar and fat based diets, this will cause problems with cardiovascular health. Exercise and a healthy diet is the best method to avoid cardiovascular disease. The findings of Austud revealed in 2010 that women died at lower rates from heart disease and cancer. Men and women were both equal in terms of likelihood of dying of a stroke or Parkinson’s disease. One problem specific to women comes with longevity. The longer one lives the possibility of  neurodengenrative disease increases. Women are more likely to die from Alzheimer’s disease. A powerful immune system also comes with a price. Women are more vulnerable to autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Autoimmune diseases are when the immune system attacks cells that are healthy in the body. Women’s immune systems have to be flexible for pregnancy. That is why a woman’s immune system is more active during the second half of the menstrual cycle. Immune response is also related to endocrine function by estrogen and progesterone. It seems that exercise, diet, and general habits can prevent many diseases.

There are genetic and biological factors that determine health. The environmental element is also critical to an individual’s life expectancy. Then there has to be some recognition of how disease and healthcare functions. The medical profession puts an emphasis on prevention, rather than investing in cures. There is too much reliance on drugs for certain aliments that could be addressed with a change in diet and lifestyle. Only recently have doctors been seeing the connection between mental states and physical health. Mental health is just as important as physical health. There has been in the US an increase in mental health disorders, notably bipolar depression. The text does not mention how mental health differs between the sexes. This is a topic that is significant, because a person changes psychologically over a lifetime. The body needs exercise. The brain also requires it. Learning new things or being active may help prevent cognitive decline.

There still is not an exact reason for why some get Alzheimer’s disease. Only theories are proposed for this age related disease. The death of brain cells indicates as well as other forms of dementia that human beings have a cellular limit. Mitosis changes over the span of the human life cycle resulting in dying cells not easily being replaced in various organ systems. Oxidative stress from free radicals will take its toll as a person ages. The only reason it appears more women are ill is because more of them survive. Advanced age women out number advanced aged men.

        There are sociological reasons for the difference in longevity. Women are most likely willing to make regular doctors appointments. Men do not do this as frequently, which may result in late diagnosis of chronic illness. It seems in some societies women take the condition of their health more seriously. Men may also eat more unhealthy diets. This may not be entirely true, because if men and women have access to the same food their diets would not be that different. Then another problem would be buying such food. Junk food is by comparison cheaper compared to nutritious alternatives, which may also cause a disparity in health relative to socioeconomic status. The poor or discriminated ethnic groups in a particular country often suffer from lack of medical treatment or adequate healthcare. Life expectancy is lowered by terrible socioeconomic conditions. Affordable healthcare is still out of reach for many of the world’s population. The disparity even extends to geography. Western nations have higher life expectancy mainly due to the fact they have government run programs and the infrastructure to support it. The United States is one of the few industrialized nations that does not want to provide a government run healthcare system. The Affordable Care Act was designed to get people insured who otherwise would not have had healthcare. There is also a divide between rural and urban communities. Rural healthcare is low quality with few hospitals and few options in terms of healthcare plans. Women may also benefit from a difference in behavior. Men are more willing to work jobs that are more dangerous. This does not women would not  work these jobs, but their numbers a smaller in comparison.

This difference in risk taking and to a degree competition may harm attempts at creating full equality. Combat positions have been open to women in the US, yet in some areas of the military women have not signed up. This debate comes down to nature versus nurture. The question should not be nature versus nurture. The mystery is how much do nature and nurture collaborate. Granted many women may not be able to fill such positions that are physically demanding due to the difference in physical fitness capacity. Yet, there still is discrimination that is present, even with laws prohibiting it. Women are also discouraged at a young age from going into particular fields. That is just one paradigm of the nature and nurture collaboration. Men are also taught to do things that are deleterious to their well being. The machismo around “proving ones” self leads to perilous situations or confrontations. Men may overwork themselves in pursuit of prestige or to up hold the role of leader of the community. Placing extra burden on themselves can cause health problems later in life. The lugubrious reality is that men inflict more violence on other men.  This can be seen in crime statistics. Warfare puts men at a disadvantage, because they will be drafted. Sociological factors such as geography, healthcare, or occupation can effect longevity.

         Hunter gatherer societies may allow for a hypothesis  why women were given the edge in longevity. Women probably in the ancient past did the same amount of physical work as their male counter parts. Women most likely had to do physical work along with childcare. The need for durational strength was a necessity. Women’s talent for endurance running reveals that women were probably more physical in the past, because it was pertaining to survival. When the rise of permanent settlement changed women’s health and physiques. The bones and muscles shrunk in terms of mass after the Paleolithic and Neolithic Ages. Women’s endurance can best be described as an adaptation to environment. The migration out of Africa was a vigorous journey. That endurance  not only protected women, but the young they were carrying. Saini poses the question why are we all nor amazons? The answer is lucid, when looking at other people. There is variation in human populations. This can range from height to skin color and body type.

Human beings do not all look the same because our phenotypes vary due to genetics and environment. The association of the female body being small and waif like seems to be a modern day invention. The article does expose that ideas does not represent reality. There are countries today were women are involved in physically demanding labor. A majority of women in the Global South are employed in agriculture. There are more women going into sports, law enforcement, construction, the military, and occupations that were considered male only. There is not only biological evolution, but cultural evolution. The cultural evolution is the change of women’s roles through history. One change was the improvement of women’s health. Childbirth was in the past could mean for women possible death. Women now have safer medical treatment for childbirth. There still are disparities in terms of infant mortality. What can be extrapolated from this data and evolutionary history is that there is no such thing as a weaker sex. Trying to prove  that a weaker sex is real would not survive the test of the scientific method. Although women do live longer and have more durational strength, there are issues surrounding women’s health. Access to contraception, healthcare, and higher rates of breast cancer are persistent threats. Women still remain the long time survivors.

Are Women Really Stronger Than Men ? When It Comes To Longevity, Surviving Illness And Coping With Trauma

The Kettlebell

A kettlebell is a type a type of weight that is either cast iron or cast steel. It has the appearance of a spherical object with a handle on top.  This type of weight can be used for ballistic exercise and combines other types of training. The use of the kettlebell can incorporate strength, cardiovascular, as well as flexibility training. The kettlebell differs in structure as well. It contains a handle, two horns, and a window. The window is what the user’s hand will go in to lift it. The body of the structure is called the bell. The bottom of it is referred to as the base. Thought to be an invention of the 19th century its origins date back much further. Today, it once more has become a fitness tool that has generated interest again. Kettlebell lifting is even a sport that distinguishes itself from regular weightlifting.

          There are different versions of kettlebells  and the way  it developed in other nations took a different path. This was a widely used strength training tool. The kettlebell was just called by a different name in various countries. The common name was stone padlock or ring handled weight. There are documented cases of athletes of the Highland Games in Scotland  and Shaolin monks in China using them.

The use of the kettlebell may have ancient roots. Jan Todd historian and former powerlifter has stated that the use of objects similar to this type of weight date back to classical Greece. The 5th century B.C.E saw the development of various forms of weights and the haltere had handles indicating it was a prototypical version of the kettlebell. While there were other versions appearing around other world civilizations, this reveals much about the nature of innovation. Ideas are formulated, the prototypes are built, and later they are perfected upon. Ideas and inventions can take decades or even centuries to develop. There are cases in which technology can be lost and would have to be rediscovered.

 The haltere looks different from the modern kettelbell 

The haltere also demonstrates that ancient civilizations had at least a basic understanding of exercise physiology. Although they did not have the benefit of modern science, they were using the pure science technique of observation. They realized that using some form of resistance training increased strength. There could also be versions of  handle based weights that are not known about. The problem is that information about it is lost overtime or there is no interest in academic investigation of the subject.

       Russia is traditionally the home of kettlebell sport and its modern incarnation. The kettlebell was referred to in Russia as giro and girya. The word appeared in dictionaries there as early as 1704.  The word itself  originates from a Persian word gerani and the  ancient slavic  word gur . Translated gerani  means difficult. The word gur means bubble. Russian farmers used these objects as a counterweight to measure out grain at markets. Russia at the time was still an agrarian society, so such a device was critical. Farmers looking for some form of entertainment began doing feats of strength with giros. This began to gain popularity in farm festivals. It was not until the 19th century that kettlebells were then introduced into sports medicine. A Russian doctor, Vladislav Krayevsky popularized its use. Being the czar’s personal physician he influenced him to make the use of Kettlebells a part of  training in the Russian army.

Kettlebells were used in various parts of the Russian Empire. It was not only in Russia, that this type of weight was found. Germany also developed its own kettlebells. Gradually it became an object that was iconic of strongman routines and the emerging physical culture. The Kettlebell is not something that is purely an invention of one state or continent. There are multiple versions, depending on the time period and place. Women were also a part of the new physical culture of the period earlier than thought. Elsie Serafin Luftmann was a strongwoman who toured all over central Europe performing various feats of strength. She was known to juggle cannon balls, to much amusement to her audience. There is a lithograph dated from 1830 depicting her training featuring a kettlebell. There are depictions of kettlebells that also appear in German physical training manuals and documents. What is known about Elsie was from a German speaking region of Bohemia. Germany had a large history of physical culture and bodybuilding related sports.

Elsie Luftman as she appears on a 19th century lithograph demonstrates her strength feats. It appears as if the fitness woman is not a new phenomenon.  

The problem in trying to decipher this information was that the kettlebell was called different names. Freidrich Ludwig Jahn  who was considered one of the major developers of gymnastics was also a harbinger in kettlebell training. He created the Turner System of Gymnastics, which would later evolve into exercise programs that are used today. Many crossfit athletes still use these methods and they are the foundation of  physical education programs. There is a possibility  that   Vladislav Krayevsky  met German trainer Theodore Siebert in 1898 when visiting Vienna. The ideas he learned of he brought back to the Russian Empire. This is only speculation and requires more research, but it is clear that this device of fitness was spreading. When European strongmen and strongwomen came to the United States, they brought kettlebells with them. They opened gyms and Americans got exposure to kettlebell training. Oddly they would disappear in American gyms in the 1940s and 1950s. Kettlbells were still popular in Russia, becoming an official sport in 1948.

           Russia began to recognize kettlebell events  as an important sport. The reason the use of this type of weight disappeared in the US may be because the fitness fadism died down. Fitness is no stranger to fads that are popular and then dissipate overtime. The Soviet government at the time used the kettlebell events as a way to promote national unity and socialist values. It was considered the sport of the working class, because it did not require expensive equipment or vast training sites. There was still however a lack of standardization among the sport. Different rules and training styles were used and it was not until 1985 that rules and standards became uniform.

Kettlebell contests at their most basic form would have the long jerk and the biathlon. The long jerk was is a clean and jerk done with two weights. The biathlon includes snatches with a set of jerks. Kettlebells were a part of Soviet sports schools. These sport schools would produce high performing Olympic athletes through out the 20th century.

         Kettlebells would later reappear in the US, with the emphasis on fitness training. It never has to date caught on as a sport unto its self in America. Pavel Tsatsouline has been given credit for introducing the kettlebell as a tool for fitness. Beginning in 2001, Pavel continued to market the idea kettlebells could be used for fitness. since that year they have made their appearances in US gyms once more. Even with the immigration of Russian athletes to the United States after the fall of the Soviet Union, kettlebell as a sport has not become popular like MMA or American  football. The kettlebell shows how material culture can spread transform. What could have started in other lands made its way to Germany and then Russia. It made its way across the Atlantic remaining in America. The kettlebell was dormant, then reemerged. People who have been involved in fitness think this a passing trend, but this type of weight may have more benefits than previously thought. Kettlebells are not available in all gyms. Small boutique gyms and independent trainers provide instruction to individuals who show interest.

         There have been documented benefits from Kettlebell use. It can be used by all people of various ages, physical fitness levels, and genders. This may be an attempt to change the fitness industry away from focusing on an aesthetics and minor improvement in health to functional training. Advocates claim that it provides full body conditioning. This means the body can work all its movements together in a coordinated synergy. Theoretically it is working more muscle groups, so they may mean one could spend less time on workouts. It is dubious that using kettlebells reduces possible workout injuries. Doing exercise incorrectly or being careless can result in injury.

The higher the physical intensity level the higher the risk of injury. There is not a huge amount of data to prove that using kettlebells is any safer than other exercise equipment. There is also the claim that with kettlebells you can add strength without bulk. If it does involve some form of resistance training in its motion, then what its doing is similar to a regular weight. Breaking down the muscle and casing muscular hypertrophy. Muscular hypertrophy is not dependent on what type of weight you lift. Genetics, somatotype, diet, endocrinology, and specific training method are factors in the growth of muscle tissue. It is possible to add mass if you are using other methods of training with the kettlebell.

Women with mesomorphic body types could find themselves gaining mass with little effort no matter what the exercise. The American Council on Exercise reported that using kettelbells burned up to 1,200 calories and hour. This may seem like an immense amount, but can be achievable without a kettlebell. One aspect the kettlebell is excellent for is mobility and range of motion. An athlete requires a set of skilled and dexterous movements. The kettlebell allows for both anaerobic and aerobic workouts to be done simultaneously. Although it is unclear how effective the kettlebell is. there are enthusiasts who love to use it in fitness circles. Crossfit makes use of the kettlebell in its contests. Organizations such as the American Kettlebell Club, Art of Strength, International Kettlebell and Fitness Federation, including  Agatsu and Kettlebell Training Academy offer instruction and promotion of the kettlebell sport. The reason also kettlebells are becoming popular is that video streaming sites and social media have given them more exposure.


English , Nick. “Kettlebell History Goes Back Much Further Than Russia.” BarBend, Barbend, 22 Nov. 2016,
Nicolas , Nicole. “The Iron Truth about Kettlebell Training.” SparkPeople, SparkPeople, 21 Oct. 2008,
The Kettlebell