Equal Opportunity

See, women can do it too!

Women typically have a paranoid view of barbell training in that they think it will make them “bulky” or “big”. This is a typical misconception that forgets that women don’t produce the same levels of testosterone that men do. Furthermore, “bulky” is a meaningless subjective term that is relative to all of the underweight women scattered around television and magazines.

Women can and should barbell train. For the most part they adapt in the same way that males do, albeit slower. And to be honest, most girls, regardless of body composition, can stand to gain 10 to 20 pounds of muscle (the same way that most guys need to gain 30 to 50 pounds of muscle). It’s important to note that women will not achieve the status of 70’s Big (since that would be scary thing, indeed), but being stronger with more muscle mass improves the “toned” look that so many of them aim for.

In any case, even with all of these sterotypes and misconceptions, there are women who barbell train successfully. We have a few here at WFAC:


Shelley has squatted 180x5x3, but needs to eat more


Prior to breaking some ribs, Melissa deadlifted an easy 225x5

Follow the jump for more on Doug Young.

Doug Young was known for his benching ability and was credited with a 612 pound bench in 1978. Here is a video displaying his method of benching — lowers the bar slowly, and explodes up.

9 thoughts on “Equal Opportunity

  1. My wife”s two favorite things when we were going to the gym together were squat and deadlift. She is due with our first child in february and I can”t wait to have my partner back. It”s amazing how much more coachable I find her to be than most of the guys I have tried coaching.

  2. Good to see the ladies training. I finally got mine into it not too long ago and she loves it. She tried CF and hated it, but she has really taken to barbell lifting, which is great cause she will look even better with another 10lbs of muscle.

  3. That’s awesome that you can coach your wife Paul. Usually the husband/boyfriend coaching the wife/girlfriend thing doesn”t really work.

  4. I love reading what you have to say, especially about the female body. There aren”t enough woman out there that powerlifting and yet there are some that need to cut back a little on the weights!! The issue I”m having right now is that I want to increase my weight but I”m not sure what to eat to ”just” build muscle. I”m just like any other woman…I want to stay lean looking where it counts…but I also want to be able to keep increasing the weight I lift. I weigh 140 and squat 215, deadlift between 215 and 230, and bench 145. What can I eat to help me grow stronger?? Help

  5. Hey Nickie great job on the lifts, my girl is the same weight as you, and I know she would love to hit your numbers. Just add some more protien and fat to your diet, and avoid the starchy carbs. The carbs are what spike your insulin and cause your body to store fat. Probably the easiest way to add calories w/o fat gain.
    It seems to me that women have been much easier to teach proper form to. There is no stupid ego fighting correction, and the flexibility advantage over men look like the reason, in my experience that is.

  6. Hey kittenSmash, yes woman are easier to train and teach form but there are those that just don”t ”get it”! I feel as though I must be doing something right with my food intake because I deadlifted 235 today, but I still feel like I could be doing more. It”s figuring out what calories to eat and when to eat them. Justin tried teaching me when he was training me but because he”s so smart, the way he spoke went over my head sometimes lol. I”m a simple woman that needs to be given detailed, written guidance when it comes to food. Lol

  7. Barbell weight training is GREAT for women. I got my wife into several years ago when I was getting into powerlifting. She was slow to want to try teh hard stuff like deadlifting and heavy squats but once she did she lvoed it. She”s competed in 10+ PL meets now and is a multiple state and American record holder in her class. She squats 240 and deadlifts 360+ raw in the 132 lb class and she”s never looked better. She”s got 6-pack abs and a booty to die for.

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