Women in Powerlifting, Fitness and Strength Sports Part 2

Women in Powerlifting, Fitness and Strength Sports Part 2

Dec 30, 2012

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In Part 1 of this study we reviewed the results of a female strength athlete survey covering self-perception, motivation, and social challenges. In Part 2, we are exploring the results of a public survey which will provide some insight into the perception of women in strength sports by men and women who are exposed to these athletes and a general public who are not.

The surveys were presented through SurveyMonkey.com with 100% of Part 1 survey respondents coming through social media. In Part 2, one hundred of the 127 results were through SurveyMonkey.com’s survey service with the remainder coming through social media. Both surveys were impressive with 101 participants in Part 1 and 127 participants in Part 2. As with Part 1, a significant number of questions were open ended in order to obtain candid responses. While this is challenging from a research standpoint, it prevents the researcher from directing responses resulting in a higher degree of accuracy.

An important finding of the Part 2 survey was the number of ‘indifferent’ responses. This means that enough people took the survey that were not vested in a strong opinion for or against women in strength sports, increasing the validity of the results. There were, as expected, enough crackpot respondents whose responses suggest the need for psychoanalysis, but we will safely identify those respondents as being hostile against the subject. They did validate some of the responses and reactions identified by female strength athletes in Part 1 as well as support the experiences that prompted this study.

Another surprising result was that there was an almost perfectly split (49.2% men, 50.8% women) male/female response to the survey both from those involved in strength sports and those not. In addition, both those with opinions for or against women in strength sports provided significant responses in the open questions, resulting in details that the researchers had not originally expected.


Download the Complete Study Here: WOMEN IN POWERLIFTING Part 2


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  1. I think my wife summarized the American female strength athlete spirit appropriately with this today:

    “My favorite thing about powerlifting is PROGRESS. I have never been a physically strong person. Anyone who knew me growing up will wholeheartedly agree. Unlike many others who discover natural raw strength that leads them to competitive powerlifting, I decided one day to get strong. Turns out I’m very motivated by others doubting me. When I started my training, I was capable of benching the bar and a little change for squat and deadlift. My success has been a direct result of hard work and dedication. When I started, going to the gym was a chore. 2hrs 3x/week was asking a lot. Now you have to keep me out or I’d go heavy 7 days a week. Work late? Doesn’t matter. Never miss a workout. Train hard, and smart. It’s just you and the bar. Push through the hardest reps to grow. Progress is motivating, and success addicting. The scrawny girl who used to weigh 100 lbs on a good day has become fit and filled out in the right places. Strong thin girls turn heads! I have landed 1st in all state/local meets I’ve done, including best overall female lifter twice. I’m moving up in national meets, but far from my final goal. I have made friends with some extraordinary lifters, coaches and world competitors who are in my corner and kind enough to offer their advice and expertise. I’m in awe of the fact that such accomplished athletes are respecting me as a fellow powerlifter and willing to take their time and effort to invest in my goals. Big things to come. Progress: it all started with a bar and determination.”

  2. Howard Penrose /


    Kudos to your wife and her journey! I’m finally getting my extremely thin fiancé into the gym to lift weights (she has experience, but not in true strength training). I have been impressed by her progress in a very short period of time. Perhaps she may compete, or not. She has watched me enough to be able to make an educated decision.

    The sport is changing. Just tonight, out of 8 of us bench training, one was a 30-something female, one is about to turn 50 within the week, and one is in her 60s. Each are professional women and look like anyone you would run into on the street or in an office.

    Who would have guessed?

    I enjoy this community as it is very accepting of everyone and is made up of people who are in love with the sport and, most, seem to be willing to help and encourage others. A group of brothers and sisters in iron.

    Congrats to the progress your wife is making and the accomplishments, so far!


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