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Oct. 6th, 2004 | 12:41 pm

When talking about trying to learn how to use a sword, one of my female friends warned me of the dreaded "too much upper body strength" and the corresponding fear of looking too masculine. This lead me to do some web searches for for what do physically strong women look like, and I found Women's weight training, a site extolling the advantages of weight training for women.

I found the after pictures kind of neat.

I do wish more women were willing to be physically strong.

What do other people think, can a woman be attractive with visible muscle?

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Comments {9}

cat

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from: neko_san
date: Oct. 6th, 2004 12:57 pm (UTC)
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argh.

most women don't bulk up with muscles like men do. i believe that this is mostly due to the differing levels of testosterone that men and women have. strong women are generally wiry and sleek, not huge and musclebound. i'm thinking linda hamilton in terminator 2, here (though that's also an image linked to a low percentage of body fat). there are women bodybuilders, but that's an entirely different process than general weightlifting... and i think that most of those women are either genetically predisposed to build large muscles, or push it along with steroid use.

i've got a lot of upper body strength (at least, for a woman my size). i strength train, and do aikido, and other physically active things. and, i don't think that anyone in their right mind can say that i look too masculine - i'm much more hyper-femme. okay, my shoulders are probably broader than those of most women my size, but some of that is just my own genetic predisposition. (like, i've had large calf muscles since i was a kid. i remember having mucho trouble finding winter boots when i was in fourth grade; ones that fit my feet were nowhere near big enough to go over my lower legs. and i was so not physically active back then.)

maybe being short generically helps with looking more feminine, too...

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cat

(no subject)

from: neko_san
date: Oct. 6th, 2004 01:07 pm (UTC)
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oh, in response to your question:
Can a woman be attractive with visible muscle?

heck yeah. thought, i must admit that i do like a bit of body fat to go alone with it. a strong female with, say, less than 10% body fat looks too taut, drawn out, and (literally) unhealthy. (we're talking "you can see every individual muscle fiber in each muscle", amenorrheic, and most likely anorectic and osteoporetic.) something with a healthy level of body fat looks much better.

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Diane Trout

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from: alienghic
date: Oct. 6th, 2004 01:25 pm (UTC)
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i believe that this is mostly due to the differing levels of testosterone that men and women have

Last night I asked some FtMs about how going on testosterone changed them. They found that their default strength with no training increased, and it was easier to bulk up, though the larger bulk didn't necessarily seem to correlate with being stronger.

When I was reading "She's not there" the author, a trans-woman, commented on how she felt like she lost a lot of upper body strength when she went on estrogen.

I never noticed losing any upper body strength. I'm probably stronger now than at any other point in my life, though I do regularly do yoga+basic calisthenics.

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Diane Trout

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from: alienghic
date: Oct. 6th, 2004 09:34 pm (UTC)
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Oh yes, and I wanted to mention it's really neat that you're both athletic and femme.

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her other side

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from: saltbox
date: Oct. 6th, 2004 01:48 pm (UTC)
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Weight training is really the only physical activity that I like. Though oh, if only it were so easy to gain "too much upper body strength." Much as I do it (which lately has been a lot), I've had a hard time getting my muscles to look visible. I'm only starting to get that stage now. Plus it takes me a lot longer to gain strength than men, even working out at the same rate (or even more). Which is too bad.

On, and on your question, visible muscles can be pretty hot.

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Diane Trout

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from: alienghic
date: Oct. 6th, 2004 10:17 pm (UTC)
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On the that weight training website the author kept challenging any woman to actually try to bulk out because as far as she's been able to determine it's well nigh impossible for any woman who isn't on testosterone to develop bulk muscles.

I'm also curious as to what it is about about weight training that you enjoy?

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her other side

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from: saltbox
date: Oct. 6th, 2004 10:30 pm (UTC)
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I like lifting heavier and heavier things. I like exercise that doesn't involve moving fast, because I don't like speed. Mostly, though, I think I just like seeing quantitative progress in general, and I get that sort of satisfaction from weightlifting, because I can see the numbers go up. It gets frustrating when they don't go up, though.

As for bulking up, despite its difficulty, I'm still trying it because what the hell, it could be fun. I'm not particularly close, though, for most of my muscles. But my pects are in decent shape, and I'm liking that. And I can definitely see my muscles when I play guitar, which is really cool.

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her other side

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from: saltbox
date: Oct. 6th, 2004 10:32 pm (UTC)
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Also, I never liked the shape of my shoulders, and with weight training, I'm finally getting them to be more square, rather than all mushy and round (which had the added inconvenience of making it too easy for my shoulder bags to slip off my shoulder.)

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Bolowolf

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from: bolowolf
date: Oct. 10th, 2004 04:35 pm (UTC)
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I think women can have visible muscle and be attractive. I think like anything else it is a matter of degree. I find professional weightlifters to be equally unattractive regardless of their being male or female. But someone who has some good tone usually catches my eye.

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