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Upper Body Strength – Part 2: Male vs. Female

Natalie Snyder, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS
Board-Certified Orthopaedic Clinician Specialist
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
Shoulders Specialist & Female Athlete Specialist

August 10, 2021

Hi ladies!

            Have you heard someone telling you, or heard stories of, how women should do any pull-ups, have greater upper-body strength-to-weight ratio, or to be able to bench press heavy weights, or to be lifting heavy weights?  I read books and articles, saw movies and videos, and hear women telling me stories about how it was viewed as a negative feat for women to be stronger than men, girls beating boys in sports, and for women to be found in the “downstairs” section of the gym doing all the heavy weightlifting?

            I bet you can tell me a very vivid memory of somebody telling you: “You shouldn’t be lifting weights this heavy.” “That’s not normal.” “Dang, girl!  You look strong!” “Your arms are like man’s arms.” “You’re stronger than a lot of the guys.” “That’s really impressive.” “I love watching your back when you lift and climb.” “You shouldn’t be down here lifting with the guys.” “How often do you train to get those muscles?” “How long have you been lifting?” “Your muscles are pretty intimidating to guys.” I hear them quite often.  The comments are all over the place.  But… what do they even mean?

In the 1970s through early 2000’s, it was a very rare thing to see women lifting weights.  It was more aerobic dancing, group exercise, swimming, walking, cycling, all the cardio stuff to “be skinny”.   Recognize any of those fitness gurus from the 1980’s?  What did they really do?

Throw out “be skinny”.
Replace it with “be strong”. 

I really hate to say this, but the science has discovered several years too late, finding that women benefit from weightlifting so greatly that it affects their strength, health, and longevity.  With that being said, I have something to say to you: 

1. Women who ignored the negative comments and continued lifting heavy weights, I’m proud of you!

2. Women who did not lift weights or workout throughout their life, but want to or getting into it now, I’m proud of you!

Male or Female – we all need to be empowered to do weightlifting and to be strong.  Any day.  Any time. 

Pull-ups is for everyone.  If that’s one of your goals, then heck yeah! 

Believe that you totally can do it! 

That’s your dream.  That’s your goal. 

One step at a time & with a roadmap, you will get there.  You will be strong.


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