Cathe Fitness : If You Have Strong Muscles Do You Have Strong Bones ?

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Bones and Muscles

There may be a correlation between strong muscles and the preservation of bone health.This would make sense seeing as the skeleton is the frame in which our organs are placed.  Without bones our bodies would be nothing more than flesh like blobs. Maintaining bone density is important for human health. Over time bone and muscle mass decrease. Women over the age of 50 must take considerable steps to preserve bone density. The reason for this sex  specific difference is due to sexual dimorphism. Women have less bone and muscle mass than an average man. When age decreases the amount women have less to work with. The reduction of estrogen levels can also cause the reduction of bone mass. Women who engage in large amount of endurance exercise and do not get the proper caloric intake are at risk of bone loss. Gymnasts and ballerinas have this problem as Cathe Friedrich describes. Women can get osteoporosis even before menopause. Extreme weight loss is not healthy either. Weight training can be a solution to preserving and building bone density. Although there is a large amount of research on the effects on the muscular system, bones remain a mystery. Certain studies suggests there is a relation between muscle strength and bone density.

         Bone mass can be effected by a resistance training regimen. One study compared subjects who did endurance exercise with people who did strength training. The groups  was a mix of both men and women. The results showed that the strength training subjects had more bone density. Further research revealed form other studies showed that the amount of time  was also essential. The subjects who lifted on a regular basis had more bone density. While further investigation is needed to make this be a statement of health science fact, it can be assumed the link is clear.

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If we had to take a guess the woman with the bigger muscles may have the most bone density.
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Strength training can build muscles and bones.
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Lifting weights can be beneficial to women’s health.

The skeleton acts as support for organs. It houses the muscle connecting through a system of ligaments and tendons. The musculoskeletal system is the description of both the bones and muscles of the human body. Heavy resistance training is good for health in many ways. Healthcare professionals have advise the use of high impact exercise to preserve bone mass, yet have been gradually suggesting that heavy resistance training can also be and aid. Lifting lighter weights with high repetitions are not effective at building bone mass or muscle to the highest degree. Lifting light weights does still have an benefit. This can be a method of increasing muscular endurance. That is an aspect of fitness that should not be ignored entirely. Bone mass is built in an incredible why, which demonstrates how easily the human body can be manipulated. When the muscle contracts a tendon is activated. This results in the bone being put into motion. Exercise stimulus has to be large enough to induce the formation of the bone. Bones have to make adjustments otherwise, not be functional. A minimal essential strain must be reached to induce the physiological response of bone growth.  This should not be done to a dangerous level otherwise it could cause a bone fracture. The resistance must be 90 % of the one repetition maximum to see an increase in musculoskeletal mass. Bone mass can be changed allowing for the prevention of certain skeletal diseases.

         Bone formation occurs  by means of osteoblasts. These are bone cells that are responsible for creating new bone. Physical activity such as running, plyometrics, jump rope, and step training are enough to activate new bone growth. Osteoclasts have to remold the new bone into its finished product. Low impact activity can still build bone. Cycling can cause bone growth if done frequently. Osteology is the study of the skeletal system and its physiological properties. It has a wide range of applications beyond physical fitness and biomedical science. Anthropology, paleontology, and natural history disciplines use it to uncover the past.  Health science uses osteology to manage or prevent diseases of the bone such a osteoporosis, osteogenesis imperfecta, and scoliosis. Osteogenesis functions the same way in women. The difference is related to amount and how age effects bone and muscle loss over time.

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Bone formation is needed to keep up with muscular growth.
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The structure and cells of the bones. 
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Cycling is a low impact exercise compared to running.

Women have on average less musculoskletal mass compared to men. Overtime this decreases with age. This means women could be more vulnerable to bone related disease related to age and could be at higher risk for fractures. At a certain age falls could be fatal. Hip fractures can become an even greater concern. Resistance training can build a bone and muscle reserve that protects the body. Even a small amount can be good for a person.

       Strength training does have the ability to protect the skeleton. The question remains which exercises are the best. This has not been tested, so the only answer that can be formed is through conjecture. Cathe suggests that exercises that work the back and hips could be the best. Compound exercises are recommended  and isolated ones are too. The problem with doing just isolation exercises is that other areas could be neglected. The point should be to strengthen all bones of the body. Doing bench presses, bicep curls, squats,deadlifts, and lunges should be part of a workout routine. The bones and muscles have to be challenged to see physical change. When training it should be noted that results are not automatic. The process takes considerable time and effort. Bone mass increase can take years. People with osteoporosis are advised to consult their doctor before going into a strength training regimen. Post-menopausal women must be vigilant in regards to bone health. DEXA scans are available to see if a person has osteopenia or osteoporosis. These two are not the same condition. Osteopenia refers to the low level of bone density, but it is not enough to be considered threatening to health. Strength training for people with osteopenia can still possibly prevent osteoporosis.

        Having built muscle would mean that there are also stronger bones to support them. This makes sense from a perspective of morphology. The skeleton is the foundation of the building of the human body. Thinness for women has been presented as the image of health. The reality is this does not have a scientific basis. A thin body, inactivity, smoking, and genetic history are risk factors. There is no complete guarantee that all chronic illness can be prevented through diet and exercise. The human body is a complex network of cells, organs, and physiological functions. At some point it breaks down like a machine. Aging does not have to mean physical and mental decline if certain steps are taken. Regular exercise, proper nutrition, and being consistent with health habits can improve the quality of life. Diet may not be enough to maintain the health of all of the organ systems. The skeletal system needs as much attention as the circulatory system and nervous system.

Cathe Fitness : If You Have Strong Muscles Do You Have Strong Bones ?

Chis Chew: Can Women Build Big Muscles and Won’t My Muscles Grow ?

Can Women Build Big Muscles  and Why My Muscle Won’t Grow

Women and sports performance is an unexplored topic in exercise science. There is debate about women’s physical capabilities. Chris Chew answers some of these questions for Health Guidance. Two questioned asked is can women build big muscles and why won’t my muscles grow?  The first question discussed the extent of women’s muscular development. Women do find it harder to build muscle. It certainly is not a simple process.Much of it involves training, diet, and long term dedication. Women who lift may have an irrational fear of getting “big.” This term is relative. What may be large to one person could be small to another. Few women could reach the size of a Jeff Steid, which some women think they can. There seems to be an overestimation of potential. The female bodybuilders that are on stage if one compares their weight are not big. They would weigh less than the average man and definitely less than the largest male bodybuilder. Women can build muscle and not be large. Some bodybuilders are smaller than what an observer would think. Building muscle does have benefits to women’s health. What really hinders women’s embrace of strength and fitness is the attitudes directed at the female body. The idea that women should be weak and delicate should be discarded. Female athletes and casual fitness enthusiasts are embracing this by attempting to gain size. There are certain steps that must be followed to ensure progress in fitness goals. Chris Chew has good insights, yet some of his exercise science claims can be challenged.

        The first question ponders the extent of female muscular hypertrophy from weight training. Chris Chew states ” there is no way women will build big huge muscles unless you are on special supplementation and specially designed training system. ” He then goes on to state some women could also add to this anabolic androgenic steroids. There is performance enhancing drug use in sports, but muscular women are accused with out evidence of using them. Not all women who compete are on steroids. The appearance that is produced is mostly a product of hours of weightlifting and nutrition. Steroids do not create superhumans or champions.  The majority of women have lower muscle mass, yet there are some women that do have higher potential. Somatotypes and genetics can determine muscular growth not just sex or hormones. Women with more muscular bodies prior to training could see a higher degree of  growth compared to women with thinner structures. Seeing as women can differ in size, height, weight, and body type what training does to their body can vary. The same training regimen will not work for every individual. That means starting off it could be constant trial and error attempting to create a certain look. Many women who enter bodybuilding take years or decades to sculpt a particular physique.

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It would be incorrect to say the testosterone is required to build a muscular body. The difference with men and women is that males have more natural strength. When testosterone levels increase in boys body composition changes during puberty. Women do grow in terms of bone and muscle mass, but do not have a strength spurt. The male body has more muscle. Women can still increase size through training due to other hormones produced during exercise. Insulin like growth factor 1 and growth hormone are active in women which aid in muscular hypertrophy. Genetically the MSTN gene dictates myostatin function, which control how large the muscles will become. Testosterone levels can vary among men and women. Yet,men’s higher production of free testosterone allows for a greater base t start from. This explains why the the most muscular women are not as muscular as the biggest men. A woman seeking to build muscle must remain consistent with training, diet, and do the regimen for certain period of time. What a person body looks like for training depends on several factors.

          Women will experience muscular growth from lifting weights. Depending on the goal in mind this could lead to numerous directions. What Chis Chew mentions as myth is only half true. No one automatically looks like a bodybuilder from just some training. He poses this question :   So will women who lift weights in their workouts build more muscle tissue? Women’s bodies are capable of that. He insists that it will result in a “toned” body. Toning is still building muscle. It is nothing more than a gendered term to make weightlifting more appealing to women. From an exercise science perspective no such thing exists. The distinction is in aesthetics. The way the muscle is shaped and conditioned produces certain looks. Terms like toned or bulky just describe an appearance not an anatomical fact. The toned appearance is the lowest level of muscle on a female body. The female bodybuilder body has a low level of body fat with more definition.

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There are women who fall in between the bulk and toned definition. They are  not muscular enough to be considered bulky, but too big to be toned. Their bodies resemble that of figure and physique competitors. Lightweight to middleweight female bodybuilders have this appearance. At this point the terms are just arbitrary and imprecise. There really is not bulky or toned muscle at the cellular level. The reason why some women are afraid of lifting weights is that they believe muscle and strength is not feminine. Women no matter what they look like should not have to be subjected to insults about their body. There is nothing wrong with a muscular or strong woman. Sadly,some women have internalized body image conformity. Muscle can enhance the female form. It may not be the mainstream idea of the female aesthetic. The hardcore fitness and sports woman does not care about the status quo in regards to women’s capabilities.

          Building muscle requires a high caloric intake. Women have to balance this with care. Seeing as metabolism works differently in their bodies food can be converted mostly into fat. Basal metabolism in the female body is lower. Estrogen production allows for greater fat storage. This means women’s activity level must be high enough to burn calories. Restricting calories would be a mistake,because it is not providing the body enough energy for the intensity of exercise. Diets may work for a certain period. Some may find that the weight comes back either because they were not consistent or they did not exercise enough. Muscle has the ability to burn calories. A woman seeking to manage her weight can benefit from a regular weight training schedule. If a woman is seeking to build muscle protein consumption is necessary.

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There are some food that cannot be consumed. High sugar and fructose corn syrup based sustenance can cause weight gain gain. Too much fat consumption can also be an obstacle to diets. Women may notice they gain weight when lifting. This is normal. The body mass that is being acquired is muscle tissue. The scale can be misleading considering it does not tell you fat to muscle ratio. The body mass index is not the best way to indicate healthy weight.   According to calculations, many bodybuilders would be classified as obese. Obviously this is incorrect. Weight refers to the amount of gravitation pulling on the body, while mass is the the amount of matter in an object. A person who is in  Outer Space would technically be weightless, but would not have lost mass. The “large” women are stage are really not as large as they appear. The biggest female bodybuilders could either be between the 165 or a little more. Male bodybuilders can easily exceed 200 lbs. The fear of becoming “big like a man” is misplaced. Women’s bodies on stage are exaggerated by tans, low body fat, and a particular type of conditioning. This makes the body look bigger from the perspective of an observer. Eating becomes essential to maintaining muscle size.

          There are benefits to a weight training regimen Chris Chew explains. He claims that muscle can burn calories even while you are asleep. Women who theoretically have more muscle would be able to burn more calories while being awake or sleeping. Fat does not burn as many calories as muscle tissue. The reason why women have a harder time losing weight or managing it is related to sex hormones and muscle to fat ratio. Regular weight training can solve this problem. Musculoskeletal mass decreases with age. One benefit Chew forgot to mention is that weight training can also combat sacropenia. Muscle loss happens as we age and this could effect women disproportionately. If women have less muscle to start off with, this would be more devastating. Being active throughout life can build enough muscle mass so that mobility is not hindered.  Bone health can be preserved by increasing density from exercise.Osteoporosis is a health threat to women that is too costly to ignore. Besides bones and muscles, the  circulatory system can also benefit. High cholesterol and heart disease are being endemic to countries with high fat and sugar based diets. The Western diet as it is referred to could be responsible for the increase in diabetes. Exercise and a change in nutrition can prevent many forms of chronic illness. It would be a wise investment for women to take up lifting or other forms of exercise to maintain health.

          Women who are not afraid of being strong or building muscle need some guidelines for fitness. Others who are progressing may reach a road block. Chris Chew reveals some may stop seeing progress after just a few months. The reason is that a novice may be doing something wrong. Chis Chew lists seven common mistakes. Over training can reverse progress and possibly harm health. The muscle tissue needs some damage from lifting to grow. Being too intense can cause rhabdomyolysis. Muscle tissue can get so damaged it breaks down and then releases protein in the blood stream. Having too long of a training session can also be counterproductive . A sufficient amount of rest should part of the process. Drinking can also do more than just effect the liver and the dendrites of the brain. It may have a negative impact on muscle growth. This should be avoided. Getting enough sleep is not only good for  your mental and physical health it contributes to athletic performance. Muscular hypertrophy requires rest to ensure recovery so that the muscles can grow stronger. There also must be a variation in workout routine. The muscles must be challenged to ensure a change from exercise stimuli. Progressive overload has to be done increase muscular development. When a novice can easily lift a certain amount of weight, then it needs to be increased. Protein consumption must be emphasized. It has been debated what is the correct amount among nutritionists and exercise physiologists. These are just a few problems that a novice could confront when attempting to build muscle.

       Building muscle is not simple. This requires knowledge of anatomy, exercise science, diet, nutrition, and physiology. The best method has been difficult to determine. What is known is that the same regimen may not work for every single person. Women’s bodies may actually have more capabilities than realized. It is just that exercise physiology is rushing to catch up. Women should not be discouraged from being active or getting bigger. Thinness has been presented as the image of health to women. Being thin does not indicate good health. Lower amounts of bone and muscle mass could make a person more susceptible to osteoporosis or sacropenia. Muscle may actually useful in preserving women’s health. One does not need to train to the levels of professional athlete to see benefits. Daily moderate levels of exercise can be enough to combat illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, and morbid obesity.  For the women who are afraid to build muscle or lift there is nothing to worry about. It can be good for your health and it can enhance your appearance. Women who are serious about their fitness should also realize that training takes time. Results do not happen overnight. Chris Chew gives just a general guideline. Be sure to consult personal trainers, coaches, and academic fitness journals for the best approach.

Chis Chew: Can Women Build Big Muscles and Won’t My Muscles Grow ?

Why Males Pack a Powerful Punch: Upper Arm Strength Different From Females

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Punching Power Between Males and Females

Animals have specialized anatomy for fighting. This is more common among the male sex of a species. Male rams have horns and elks have antlers. The reason for specialized anatomy is to have an advantage in a fight and for competition for mates. The Univesity of Utah pondered if human men have a similar attribute of sexual dimorphism. Men have larger upper bodies, which also include more upper arm strength. The study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology  reveals that men may have evolved for fighting. Biologist David Carrier that in general the difference between sexes of mammals is related to what it uses on its body as a weapon. The hypothesis is that male on male aggression shaped the way human bodies evolved. It took years to amass the data. While humanity has gone through millions of years of evolution, it should be noted it still impacts behavior. If the study is correct, then it might explain why men are over represented in violent crime, domestic abuse, and assault. Biological explanations are not the only ones; environment also is also a major factor. Women’s bodies do not have the same degree of musculoskeletal mass. Sex differences are known, but there has never been a definite answer why. Examining punching power could be the first step into understanding why sexual dimorphism exists.

         The method used was to document the body’s anatomical structure. The hands are important in punching. What was discovered was that manual dexterity was not only essential, but how the hand was protected when made into a fist. The strength of the bones in the face were also taken into account. This is the area most likely to be punched in a fight. The researchers were also careful to examine how heels were planted on the ground. This could add additional punching power not associated with the upper body muscles. It is widely known that men have more upper body strength. According to James C. Martin ” It’s already known that males’ upper bodies, on average, have 75% more muscle mass and 90% more strength than females’. Even under a physical fitness training program women never reach the same level of strength as an equally trained man. The study then had to figure out a way of measuring punching power.

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The muscles of the upper arm  showing the posterior perspective.
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Punching also involves some technique. Boxers and MMA fighters train at mastering an effective punch.
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Sexual dimorphism refers to the physical differences among the sexes. Male and female bodies have a different shape as well as body composition.

A punching bag was not even used. They feared it would cause hand injury. Other methods probably will not give as much precision. A hand crank was created instead to simulate a punch. This may have effected the experiment. The subjects included 20 men and 19 women. Although the numbers were not equal, one less woman may not have created an issue. Participants had to fill out a questionnaire about their physical fitness activity. Assuming they were all honest the subjects had a uniform level of physical fitness. Mixing fit men with average women or fit women with average men would have distorted results. The problem is that to an extent sexual dimorphism is flexible. Although men are on average stronger, a woman of significant fitness can surpass an unfit man. This sample was small, which could have also altered results. Only 39 people is not large enough to make a definite statement of fact.

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Men have more muscle on their bodies. Type II muscle fibers are the most important for physical strength .
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Even the most muscular women carry a higher body fat percentage. This is related to the production of oestrogens.
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If the study had fit females and average males it would have altered the results. They would have shown either equal punching power.
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Comparing fit males to average females would make men seem more physically power than they really are.

This was why they wanted fitness levels to uniform. Doing so eliminates doubt about procedures. A method of verification could be to take one group of fit and unfit subjects then see the result. Another procedure would be to have a group of mixed fitness levels and then see if there is a pattern. Their strength  in this study was measured specifically by pulling a line forward over their head. The experiment may also be useful in understanding the evolution of throwing. It should be noted that subject according to the report had “roughly the same amount of fitness.” Physical fitness capacity should have been measured prior to ensure this was the case.

       The results did not come as a shock. The punching power of the men was 162% greater than women. The degree was quite significant. Even the weakest of the fittest males in the group had a stronger punch power compared to the most powerful woman. There was no overlap, but it could be possible in a larger study. This makes a person ponder how the result would have come out with professional boxers. If the professional boxers have lower power than the fit people in the study, then the experiment needs to be adjusted. Do not be confused. There are women who can punch as hard as men. Punches can still hurt depending on which part of the body is hit. The strange similarity was that overhead pulling strength did not differ for men and women. That lead researchers to conclude upper body strength of men was meant for fighting.

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The punches from these female MMA fights can still hurt.
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The muscles of the upper which  both sexes have.
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The differences in punching power were not for fighting women. It was to fight other men or required for the rigors of hunting.

The reason for sexual dimorphism in size is that our hominid male ancestors were competing for mates. The visual marker could have physical strength indicating biological fitness to women. Other studies have shown women do prefer men who are taller or have a certain amount of strength. These studies still are debated considering there are cases which do not follow the norm. The punch power study also opens up more questions. Could the results be the same if weightlifters were used ? Was a simulation just as using a punching bag ? These are uncertainties that cannot were not answered.

       This discussion ultimately leads to the question of violence. It was articulated that the thought of men being designed for fighting was uncomfortable. There is a problem with this reasoning. Organisms are not “designed” which implies some creator. They are products of environment, genetics, natural selection, and the process of sex selection. Human bodies are not designed by a divine creature or unknown force. This also implies that  evolution makes organisms more complex. Bacteria and viruses have evolved, but are not as complex as the multi-cellular organisms they infect. To make such statements would be claiming that evolution follows in a straight line. Human evolution functions more like a tree, with multiple branches.

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His body may not be designed for fighting.
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Her body looks designed for fighting
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The modern world is technologically driven. So in many ways strength is not as important to daily survival.

There is a horrible revelation that violence could just be a part of nature. Men are more prone to use physical force compared to women. There is a difference in physical aggression. We assume that our hominid ancestors lived more short and brutish lives. This would be presumptuous considering the early genus homo species were not subject to natural observation. Cooperation and empathy are important attributes of human behavior as Carrier cites. Yet, this can also be applied to mass violence such as war or general insurrection. There can be a case made for sociological factors that contribute to violence. War, a collapsing society, economic turmoil,  and fear can lead populations to mass violence. Boys are normally taught to be more aggressive. Predilection to violence may be more related to how a person was raised. It would be incorrect to say that men have a genetic tendency to physical violence. Breaking the legacy of violence would be next to impossible if the hypothesis of the study is correct.  There is a reason why that there are mostly men in the military or why male police officers commit more acts of brutality. Attempts have been made to change human behavior through establishment of  a civil society and a civilization. However, this has not made human violence disappear. More research is needed to see why this trait still remains, even though our environment changed dramatically.

 

Why Males Pack a Powerful Punch: Upper Arm Strength Different From Females

Feministing: Women in Sports- Why Can’t Women Compete With Men ?

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Why Can’t Women Compete Against Men in Sports?

Feministing was an online community website that discussing women’s rights and ideology. It ran from 2010 to 2020 covering topics from politics, popular culture, and contemporary issues. The online community was targeted at a younger demographic. The site also encourage grassroots activism. Users could also contribute to the community blog. There was one short post that by Vicky Chatwin that is of interest. A simple question is proposed : why can’t women compete against men in sports ? The author even notes the most obvious reason. The impact of sexual dimorphism influences physical fitness capacity. There are obviously exceptions and cases of overlap. Chatwin’s argument is that by having women’s leagues this constitutes sex segregation. The second case is that it is denying women equal opportunity. Then there are some feminists who think that sex differences are nothing more than sociological constructions. Biology is not a sociological construction, yet third wave feminists want to dispute known facts about sexual dimorphism. Women can compete in mixed competitions if they have the skill and physicality to do so.  Having women’s divisions is not discriminatory nor is it excluding women.

          The most elite women in sports would not be able to physically challenge the elite men. Physical strength differences and body size give men in advantage. Sports such as boxing, weightlifting, or powerlifting require certain amounts of muscular strength. Studies have shown that women may have advantages in muscular endurance and oxygen utilization.  It has been theorized that women may have an edge when it comes to running in marathons. Sprinting which requires more muscular strength, women do not perform the same as men. Depending on the sport, there is a different level of skill and fitness required to master it. The skills of tennis differ from that of soccer. Being just strong and fast does not automatically make a person a great athlete. Men have more muscle and bone mass making their physical fitness capacity higher than women on the same training regimen. Women’s bodies can experience muscular hypertrophy, but not to the same degree as a man. This is related to endocrine function and the amount of natural strength prior to exercise. If men have more muscle to start off with training adds to their strength.

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Pelvis shape, lung and heart size have an effect on total running speed.
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On average men weigh more and are taller.
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Women’s records at the highest level reach the 250 kg range.

Women still retain more fat mass in comparison to their male counterparts. The structure of male and female bodies differs. Men have broader shoulders and more upper body strength. Women have wider pelvises. That makes running speed slower.  Heart and lung size are smaller in women which effects VO2max. Accounting for body size, women weigh less. These sex differences in physiology and anatomy would make it hard for the vast majority of elite female athletes to keep up with males on their level. This would mean there would be fewer women competing in sports being a part of men’s divisions. Chatwin states ”   I know the usual arguments – men are bigger and stronger, it’s not fair to women – but how true is this?” in the opening paragraph. She then provides a personal anecdote that she has seen women who beat men easily at sports. Oddly, She does not mention which ones. The biological factor is a big one when discussing sports performance. There is truth to this up to a certain age. Women competing with men in sports also raises safety concerns.

     Women competing with men in sports raises safety concerns. If male bodies are bigger and stronger, women could get seriously injured. Contact sports from this perspective would be difficult for women to compete with men in.   For younger children its not an issue because their bodies have finished developing. Boys and girls can compete in mixed competition. The physical changes brought about by puberty is what causes the strength gap. Women’s skeletons and muscles do grow, but they do not experience the dramatic strength spurts of men.  Around age 13, the strength gap appears between the sexes. This is why it is ludicrous to keep girls off of boys sports teams. Boys and girls between the ages of 1 to 12 have no difference in physical fitness capacity. What some third wave feminist fail to realize is just how wide the difference in physicality can be after the physiological changes during puberty. The average man has more strength compared to the average woman. A woman how trains seriously can either attain the strength of a man who does not train or be close to it. The strongest trained male could possibly be stronger than most  women.

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Samantha Gordon plays football at age nine. At this stage she would have no trouble competing with boys, because puberty has not effected the musculoskeletal system.
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This really is not much of surprise if a person has a basic understanding of anatomy.
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Women have to train harder to attain a certain physical fitness level. Even with all this effort the results are not the same.

Rugby, football, ice hockey, mixed martial arts, wrestling, lacrosse, and roller derby are sports that involved huge amounts of body force.  If women if at their highest level of fitness can have the strength of an average man or slightly above, the risk for injury could be higher. Boxing would be impossible for women to compete with men considering the difference in upper body strength. The only way such matches in contact sports to work is if men were restricted from using their full physical force. All sports are not contact based. Race car driving or equestrian sport does not reliant on muscle power. Semi-contact sports may see a few women able to compete.

       Having women’s sports divisions does not constitute sex segregation. Unlike Jim Crow America and apartheid South Africa these governance systems were designed to oppress. It was not only to control a population based on because of their race, it was also to isolate them from the wider society. Women’s divisions and sports teams are the opposite. They allow more women to compete. The differences in speed and physical strength between the sexes is the reason there is separation. Looking beyond sex, this is why their are weight classes between athletes. Boxing does this with lightweight, middleweight, and heavyweight athletes. Wrestling also has weight classes. This is not segregation of smaller athletes, rather giving them a platform to compete. Otherwise, the biggest and strongest people would always dominate sports. The separation is more of a matter of weight class. This does not mean smaller athletes or women are inferior. It is an attempt to make competition fair. The only way discrimination could occur is if a skilled female player is qualified to play on a men’s team is denied. If a woman can handle the physical demands and has the talent, there is no legitimate reason to deny her an opportunity to play.

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Stephanie Labbe was banned from playing on the Canadian men’s soccer team. This would be an example of discrimination.
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Clearly a weight advantage requires different divisions.
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Overlap is possible depending on the woman’s physiology.

There also is another counter argument to this. If women can compete on men’s teams then can men play on women’s teams ? The question becomes complex if one wants to make competition fair. The reality is that competition is not completely fair because each person may have a unique physical advantage. If a person is devoted to full equality, then it should function the same for both sexes. Title IX ensures that girls get access to sports in schools and few states have restrictions on boys playing on girls teams in America. There are no restrictions on women competing in men’s divisions in the Olympics. The only restriction is the ruling on the amount of testosterone a woman’s body produces. This ruling has been debated and criticized in terms of its scientific foundation. Such a ruling must be discarded altogether, considering athletes cannot help the way they were naturally born. Women’s teams are not an example of sex segregating, rather an expansion of women’s participation in sport.

    Women have already competed with men in sports. Mixed sport is more of an integrated model of  competition. Tennis, badminton.  korfball. mixed pairs bodybuilding,  and swimming  have done pioneered this. Pairs of men and women compete in what is a perfect example of inclusion. This should be what third wave feminists support.  Power feminists however take a less harmonious approach. Competing with men is not about equality, rather they just want to attain more power.Some want all the power and influence in particular areas. This does not appeal to the majority of women who rather see men as their equals and partners. Excessive girl power has become more confrontational, rather than celebrating women’s achievements.

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Mixed sports may become more prevalent in the future. Mixed relays are going to make a debut at the Olympics. This seems like a significant development in terms of promoting equal exposure of athletes regardless of sex.  The third wave feminist narrative as men being all antagonist falls apart, when some men see women’s participation as a positive development. The biggest problem for women in sports is not that they are in separate leagues. Unequal pay, lack of media exposure, and sex prejudice are the biggest concerns.

       There is nothing really stopping certain female athletes from competing with men. Sports organizations can ban them from doing so. This is an obvious act of sex discrimination. There are cases in which girls have to compete with boys seeing as there are no girls teams in certain schools. Wrestling and football have some girls playing with boys in elementary and middle school. Their competitive years could end by high school seeing as boys are experiencing the increase in fitness capacity from puberty. Girls would not be able to keep up seeing as they do not make significant strength gains. The only solution would be to build a girls team, so female athletes could continue to compete. If women had to try out for teams with mostly males, it would reduce the total number of women competing. It could be done with sports that do not require an immense amount of brute strength. Race car driving, equestrian sport, gymnastics, and marathon running could be sports in which women could compete directly. Certainly, there are women who can compete with men. The system that is place is more about placing athletes in a weight class, rather than their sex. The growth of more women’s teams or leagues is not hindering women. It enables them to be on a competitive platform.

Feministing: Women in Sports- Why Can’t Women Compete With Men ?

The Best Way To Improve Muscle Strength (2016)

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Best Way To Improve Strength

A study by Human Performance and Neuromuscular Physiology at Loughborough University may have found an efficient way to improve muscle strength. There continues to be debate on what is the best way to improve muscular strength. What Dr. Jonathan Folland suggests from the study was that short bursts of contractions lasting one second can help. Sustained three second contractions can also contribute to muscular strength. Strength training has multiple applications related to health and treatment of disease. Rehabilitation and the treatment of osteoarthritis strength training has become a solution. Athletes looking to improve their performance incorporate it into their training. There was at time in which some athletes believed that using weights would harm their performance. The scientific data proves the opposite and there is more to learn. The study claims ”  the results showed that explosive contractions are an easier and less tiring way of increasing strength and functional capacity of the muscles, and therefore a highly efficient method of training.”  The role of the nervous system was not ignored. Apparently, the nervous system can switch on trained muscles. This makes sense seeing as the nervous system is responsible for both voluntary and involuntary movements. The traditional method was to train the muscle to the point of tiring. This method is used more for making muscles larger, rather than stronger. Some get confused when a person that appears bigger may not be able to lift as much as a smaller person. Training for aesthetics and performance are two different fitness goals. A fitness regimen may not require an individual to train to a high degree of exhaustion.

          The experiment used  a total of 43 men who were in their twenties. All were in good health condition. None had been through lower body training or done any form of training for 18 months prior to the study. The sample does not include women. If one really wanted to see the dramatic change in muscular strength, women would be the best subjects. The average woman has a lower amount of muscle mass compared to the average man.  However, their bodies react to strength training. They experience muscular hypertrophy and can gain strength. If women have lower strength and muscle mass they would be perfect to demonstrate the effectiveness on the body. The study should not include professional female athletes, because it would distort the study. This is why subjects with average levels of physical fitness have to be selected.

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The only muscle that was examined was the quadriceps muscle. The first group was required to do explosive contractions. The second group had to do the sustained contractions. The last set of subjects acted as a control group. This experiment lasted three months. Although the sample was small in comparison to other studies, it should be enough to have a reliable result. Three times a week in those months subjects trained with 40 contractions. The force was closely monitored following that measurements were recorded. This data was related to physiological and performance changes documented prior and after exercise. What was concluded goes against the common strength training method. Explosive burst contractions are better at building strength.If this is true it will change how athletes and lay exercisers approach exercise.

        Dr. Folland was confident that the “no pain no gain” motto is not actually based in exercise physiology fact. This experiment must be replicated to be considered fact. Sample size, confounding factors, or other effects could have effected the results. Folland then explains : ” Whereas traditional strength training is made up of slow, grinding contractions using heavy weights which is quite hard work, this study shows that short, sharp contractions are relatively easy to perform and a very beneficial way of building up strength. ” The idea that training to exhaustion of the muscle will encourage greater hypertrophy as well as strength. There has to be enough microtrauma  to induce muscle growth and strengthening of the fibers. Learning more about how strength training techniques can make improving sports performance easier. Fast explosive contractions could built strength efficiently and in a shorter amount of time. It must also be noted that there are other factors that determine sports performance. Diet and nutrition are critical, because the body requires fuel for long periods of physical activity. Genetics and somatotype also contribute to physical fitness capacity. There will still be variation among individuals in terms of results from a training regimen.

       Short explosive contractions could  be an effective means of  treating osteoarthritis. This disease refers to when flexible tissue at the ends of the bones wears down. Cartilage acts as a protector and cushion between bones. Osteoarthritis can damage joints in the hips, hands, knees, and spine. Symptoms include pain in joints, stiffness, bone spurs, swelling, loss of flexibility, and a grinding sensation in the bones. There are numerous risk factors. This could include age, sex, constant stress on a joint, unhealthy weight, genetics, or bone deformities. Weight training could be both a preventative measure and a treatment. Lifting heavy would be too dangerous with someone with osteoarthritis. However, short contractions could be the best for someone with the disease. It will take some time to see if this type of exercise will be effective for people wit osteoarthritis.

       Strength training is more complicated than previously thought. What can be said with certainty is that strength training can protect musculoskeletal health. Muscles and bones are built with exercise. This protects against break down that is related to age. This study must be repeated to see if can be applied to various individuals of different fitness levels.   Dr. Jonathan Folland  seems confident that explosive short burst contractions are more efficient at building strength. There are multiple methods designed to increase muscular strength. The best way to approach it continues to be debated. There also has to be a consideration to the fact everyone responds differently to a training regimen. Individuals may experience more muscular hypertrophy and strength than others based on genetics and body type.

The Best Way To Improve Muscle Strength (2016)

Hieu Truong: So You Want to Pick Up and Lift a Man Overhead?

 

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Pick A Man Up Overhead

There are many fitness goals that both professional athlete and casual exerciser attempt to meet. Rarely do you hear a woman say her goal is to lift a man overhead. The internet  has shown us many feats of strength coming from women. The question is how would a  woman go about actually doing this? Hieu Truong provides her expertise in weightlifting to give an answer. Truong asked this question of her friends and associates who coach and participate in weightlifting, strongman,  and powerlifting. Although it may seem like a ludicrous question it is a fun scenario to ponder in regards to exercise physiology. There are factors that determine if this is possible. The size and weight of the man being lifted should be taken into consideration.  Hieu Truong  provides insight : ”  I was also reminded multiple times that I should not expect to ever pick up my husband and press him overhead. ” She is a weightlifter her self but she explains ”    unfortunately, they’re right: my husband weighs twice as much and is over a foot taller than I am. ” Truong then goes on saying she does not expect to do this with her husband or any man. Although her husband is large, with some effort she may be able overhead lift a man of smaller size. Possibly she could do it to a man of her size. Height would not be a factor rather total body mass. The second factor relates to if the man is resisting being lifted or not. The size of the woman is also a factor. Then there are the use of push presses and is there a set way to lift a man off the ground. The program Hieu Truong  has never been tested, yet it is fascinating to see how a training regimen is devised.

          Before any lift is attempted the size of our subjects needs to be clarified. For these tests the weight of 185 lbs is used for a man. The reason they use that weight is because it is the closest measurement to a standard  Olympic barbell. According to the CDC the average weight for the American male at 5 ‘8” is 200 lbs. This comes  down to weight lifting a man who is obese or extremely musclebound one  would be the most difficult. Muscle does not weigh more than fat so if it were a muscular man and a fat one they could weigh the same.

Knowing that a man could be around a 185 to 200 lbs weight range, this gives an idea about how strong a woman’s body would have to be to deal with the weight.Lifting a man overhead would be nearly impossible for an untrained woman. These actions require a good amount of upper body strength. Then the woman lifter’s muscle to fat ratio becomes a factor. Her weight and muscle fiber type will determine if she can lift overhead a man. Type II muscle fibers are the most important to explosive strength . To hoist a man in the air, it would mean that more type II muscle fibers would have to be concentrated in the upper body. The woman lifter faces two physiological and biological challenges. The first is that total body mass is less and the amount of type II muscle fibers is lower. The endocrine system produces more estrogen in women, which has an effect on body composition.  This means a woman would have to work harder in achieving a high level of strength. Training and technique can negate some of the  physical differences.

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All women are not the same. Some have greater strength potential than others.
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The upper body is the hardest area for women to gain strength.
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Women’s bodies do experience  muscular hypertrophy through long term weightlifting.

This does not close the gap in physical fitness capacity. It should be noted that Hieu Truong proposed two scenarios. The first is if the man is resisting being picked up. That would be challenging for anyone seeing as a person would be actively moving. The other case involves a man who is compliant with the lift. From this a hypothetical training program can be developed to see if a woman can lift a man overhead. The two training programs both utilize back squats, push presses, bench presses, and sandbag cleans.

          The attempt to lift a man without his assistance requires movement patterns from the legs and hips. This is very helpful, because the lower body is easier for women to add strength to. Also the man who is being lifted must be in a particular position. The goal is to get them upon the shoulders of the woman so she can lift him in the air. The technique here would be the Steinborn squat. Knowing that most likely the woman weighs less than the man being lifted her strength reserve would have to be higher than the weight being lifted. If the strength reserve is only equal to the weight being lifted the woman would not be able to successfully execute the feat. The Steinborn squat puts more force on the back and knees, which means such areas of the body must be strengthened through progressive overload. A woman would have to reach a target squat of 225 lbs. The upper body strength still is a requirement so a 225 lbs bench press is recommended by Phillip Stablien. The weightlifting coach also suggests a 205 push press, which may actually mimic the lifting of a person.

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An athlete doing a log press
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The overhead lift being done by a female bodybuilder.
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An athlete must have a high strength reserve in comparison to the strength that they use for the action.

The challenge is asymmetry when holding the human body compared to a weight. There are other exercises that can be used to attain the required strength levels. The sandbag could be another close imitation of the human body being lifted.  The biggest problem with lifting or moving a person is limited options for holding. Then there is the shifting center of gravity. Sandbags basically a more like dummies that can be used as a test run for this exercise experiment. The log press is an exercise part of training for strongman and strongwomen  events. It is part of the competition, but it can be applied to lifting a man overhead. Holding the log is much easier compared to the sandbag. The benefit is that it allows the person to focus more on building brute strength, than applying balance with center of gravity in mind. Adding the total amount of weight required for a woman to move it would be 655 lbs. It would be harder for a woman of ectomorphic body type to attain this level. Women with more natural strength and muscular body structure could do this. There are videos that show women lifting men overhead.  The first video shows a woman who is in shape using What appears to be the Steinborn squat. However, she does struggle to execute it. That is an indication that she needs to work on building her strength reserves. The other two videos show the overhead lifts of a bodybuilder and strongwoman.

Dawn Riehl was able to lift the man in the video easily because of her high strength reserve. During her competitive years her squat was 345 lbs and a bench press of 315 lbs. That means she can move a total of 660 lbs, which is over the 655 lbs marker. She was a bodybuilder meaning she trained for aesthetic purposes, rater than strength. Dawn if she trained like a strongwoman could have gotten much more powerful. The last video shows strongwoman Aneta Florczyk lifting men overhead multiple times. Her bench press was 220.5 lbs and 456.4 lbs squat. Her total weight lifted would be 676.9 lbs. That means she would be stronger than Dawn and it explains why she was able to toss those men so easily in the video. Aneta Florczyk’s weight was 165 lbs and Dawn Riehl’s 132 lbs. Women can do this even when they come in different sizes. It may be difficult to determine which method is the best, but it is known lifting a person without assistance is harder.

     Lifting a person who is a willing participant or conscious is easier. Mike MsKenna says ”  Assuming you’re working with a man within the realm of your strength–say, 100-150% of your weight–then you could put him over your head at some point. ” His directions are more specific compared to other approach. There should be certain days in which front squats and back squats should be done. There is an overlap with suggestion of using sandbags. Deadlifts and heavy cleans are also advised in this method. This technique functions on a four day a week training split. What was extrapolated from this hypothesis was a chart of exercise and their intensity level. The training schedule goes as follows. The fist day requires snatch balances, back squat ladders, Turkish get-ups, T bar and bent over rows. The second day will involve cleans, deadlifts, front squats, and bench press. The third day requires back squat, overhead recoveries, arms, and Romanian deadlifts. The last day will involve log cleans,presses, sandbags, and yoke carries.

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Weights do not have limbs like a human body.

There seems to be more attention to detail compared to the other hypothetical method. Practice makes this work. The man being lifted has to be practice with as many times as possible. First when in the air or on the ground. The biggest factor is the man being able to hold the plank position. The method presented in scenario two seems more meticulous in approach. This is a very unconventional fitness goal, but there are women who can pick up men. Fireman’s carry, over the shoulder, and cradle carry are what women can do with strength training. Women can lift men overhead with either of these methods or scenarios. Which technique works the best has not been determined.

       Lifting a man overhead would be no simple feat according to  Hieu Truong. The man being lifted determines the success of the feat of strength. A smaller or thinner man could be no problem lifting overhead . Around  the 132 lbs to 149 lbs range would not be too much weight. If a man exceeds  195 lbs range women would require a huge amount of strength. A woman of  larger size could lift many men seeing as bone density would be aiding her. Beyond just a simple fitness entertainment theory, this could have important applications. Women are entering physically demanding occupations, which require a certain degree of muscular power. The military and firefighting departments could benefit from the use of sandbag exercise and strongwoman training to improve women’s performance. The US Military is now implementing a set standard for physical fitness for both of the sexes and women can benefit from functional fitness training.

lA6y8lLjobc The argument used often is that women should not do these jobs, because they do not have the strength. Detractors claim that it would be impossible for a woman to carry a man out of a combat situation or rescue them from a burning building.  Training and diet can make a difference in physical fitness capacity. The point is to have an objective. The lifting a man overhead scenario can be retooled to evacuating an injured coworker or comrade. If women were to be given the proper instruction, then questions about physical competence would be resolved . The lift a man overhead scenario is more controlled compared to the situations of soldiers, firefighters, and police. However, it may make for a good simulation and training of the body for physical demands. Seeing as women have to train harder it may take some time to do an overhead lift of a man. Months or possibly years it can take to build the physical strength necessary. Consistency, time, and training can eventually change the fitness capacity of the human body.

Hieu Truong: So You Want to Pick Up and Lift a Man Overhead?

Female Supremacy : A Sub-Genre of The Female Muscle Fetish

The female muscle fetish has more elements than many realize. There can sometimes be overlap with other fetishes. Normally,the association is with mixed and fantasy wrestling. There is another aspect that is part of the female muscle fetish. Female supremacy is both an ideology and  a fetish genre that has emerged on the internet and private spaces. It is the idea that women should have complete control of society and civilization. Women are presented as the superior sex.  Female supremacy originated from the radical feminism of the 1960s and 1970s. It was then adopted by dominatrixes in the BSDM  fetish culture. Female supremacy then made its way to the female muscle fetish culture. Female supremacy can now be identified as a part of the female muscle fetish. There are BSDM aspect present to it,but it cannot completely fall into that definition. The emphasis is on women not just having social and political power rather being physically powerful. The female muscle fetish presents female supremacy in either art, writing, or video. This is not a serious political or social movement for women to dominate or take over. Rather it is a fantasy that can be both sexual or entertaining. Schmoes who are more so focused on wrestling and muscle worship are not all followers of the female supremacy genre.  The total numbers remain a mystery and there still little known about the female muscle fetish fandom.

            Female supremacy stems from a hypothetical concept about what society would be like if  it were female dominated. This idea has appeared in both science fiction literature and popular entertainment mediums. Matriarchies have never existed in human history. Literature, film, and television  have explored what society would be like without patriarchy. The trope is that women have all the power,while men are second class citizens. Sometimes the genre even advocated separatism as a solution to sexism and discrimination. Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland  (1915) describes a society ruled by women free from war and social ills.They have no men and reproduce asexually in this novel. The assumption is that a female dominated society would mean that men could be an underclass. Women would be the political and business leaders. The only way that would occur would be that women would have to become more competitive.

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Star Trek the Next Generation (1987-1994)  had an episode “Angel One” in which women were the dominant sex in society. The women had all the political power and sexual dimorphism was reversed with the women being physically stronger.
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The female supremacy genre loves to make materials that dabble in exaggeration.
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When some think of dominance they associate it with physical power.

Women being physically stronger would not mean a female take over. There are plenty of men who are not strong,but hold enormous influence over society. Real power comes from finance,politics, and land ownership. Women were traditionally excluded from these areas, however there were a few that were able to navigate the restrictions placed on them. The study of matriarchy has been regulated to anthropology. This is not the same thing as female supremacy. Matriarchy can have multiple definitions. It can mean a system of government ruled by women. Another description can be a system of social organization in which descent and relationship can follow through the female line. The problem with this definition is that it sounds too similar to matrilineality. The last definition describes a role of being a powerful and older  female member  in a family and group. Female supremacy is about women’s complete control of the power structure. It goes a step further claiming women are superior to men and society should be structured around belief. Considering that this idea came from more radical feminist roots, its comedic that it evolved into a fetish genre.

          During second wave feminism, the radical faction did espouse concepts of female supremacy. Extreme radical feminists preached ideas of society being run by women only. Valerie Solanas articulated that men should be eliminated and the government should overthrown in the SCUM Manifesto . Radical feminists did not distinguish between men who were misogynists and men who condemned sexism. Andrea Dworkin went further by attempting to get pornography banned on the belief it condones the sexual assault of women. This brought her into conflict with sex positive feminists who saw sex expression as part of human nature. Mary Daly believed destroying patriarchy was more important than focusing on equal rights. Her views on transgender people were prejudiced, expressing they were aberrations attempting to imitate women. Monique Wittig wanted to dismantle gender roles completely. The radical faction of feminism also had another branch which included lesbian feminism which attacked homophobia with in the movement itself. Gender roles and human sexuality the major figures had problems with. Once they were a small faction, but some of their ideas have been adopted into mainstream feminist thought. The comedic irony is that the female supremacy concept has become a part of fetish culture that they would have condemned as oppressive to women.

           Mixed wrestling  came into existence around the 1970s. Simultaneously, the first female bodybuilding competitions came into existence by the end of the decade. Mixed wrestling was a part of professional wrestling. During the 1990s and early 2000s it did gain some resurgence. Intergender matches still occur today, yet television network censorship is imposed with restrictions to the depictions of violence against women. The matches are staged and scripted so this seems pointless. The fights are fake, so it really is not violence against women. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 allowed more girls and women access to sports and fitness than ever before. What emerged was a female body more developed in strength and power.

When female bodybuilding emerged what eventually came was male fans. The hyper enthusiastic male fans are known as schmoes. They formed a groupie culture in which muscle worship and session wrestling  became common place. It it more so an open secret in the female fitness culture. Seeing as women were paid less even in female bodybuilding’s golden age women got creative with how to generate income. By providing session wrestling and muscle worship then allowed them to continue athletic pursuits. The development of the World Wide Web in 1989 allowed individuals to communicate with one another all around the globe. This was the perfect medium to enable subcultures to emerge on the internet. Female muscle fans began to produce websites, speak on forums, start blogs, and share pictures. Mixed wrestling was given wider distribution and seen by millions across the world. The fantasy wrestling genre got a significant following and with it came female supremacy.

           Female supremacy appears in some literature and art of  female muscle fandom. The noticeable theme is the projection of women’s power that is not just physical, but also mental.  Often most of the storylines revolve around women using their physical strength to dominate or control men. Centered around an alternate history or distant future women are physically stronger than all men, even the fittest ones. This goes far beyond mere role reversal in some art and writings. The female characters could be presented as antagonists or oppressive in nature. Sometimes art and stories can get too violent for some fans. Others may just be to embrace the fetish. These do not have long or intricate plots compared to other female muscle fandom art or writing. Not all female muscle related materials are female supremacy. It is just a smaller section of the female muscle fandom.

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The materials are mostly just for the sake of an erotic thrill. There are also cases in which they are more so meant to be comedic. Entertainment could be a goal as well, rather than just sexual arousal. The idea of a female dominated global society may be a turn on to some men. Although they may not want this in reality, a temporary fantasy is just fine in written or artistic renditions. The  expansion of the internet allowed this to be more accessible.

      The female supremacy genre is a small section of the female muscle fetish. It could possibly expand into new genres of the wider female muscle fandom. The existence of female supremacy tells us much about the complexities of gender and the roles assigned to them by a culture. Men are expected to have all the power and women should be subordinates. This obviously can no longer be the case in a freedom loving society in which a person has a choice in aspects of their life. Gender roles have dramatically change due to historical and social circumstances. Women all over the world are fight for equal rights and have been successful to an extent. While there still is more to be done, its clear that women have attain more social and political power than in past centuries. Female supremacy may be a goal of some radical feminist, but really it has become an aspect of fetish culture. A matriarchy or female supremacist  type of society could emerge under extreme conditions. War or a general collapse of civilization could in the aftermath be more favorable to women if they seek to monopolize power. It would not last because there is one aspect that keeps women from doing this. There is an expectation that men either do everything for them or be providers. If  total gender equality were to be realized most women would not favor it. Alimony, the draft, and divorce demonstrate how women even under sex bias still have an advantage.  Keeping female supremacy just fantasy is fine for most fans. Many would rather see a socety in which  the sexes are equal.

 

Female Supremacy : A Sub-Genre of The Female Muscle Fetish