Quite unfortunately, when most people associate women with weightlifting, they immediately conjure up the above image: masculine jawline, orange skin, freakish muscles, and itty bitty bikinis. This is because most of our lives, we’ve only been exposed to the women in the ‘sport’ of bodybuilding who are mostly hormonally enhanced (putting it nicely) to look that way. Since bodybuilders lift weights, people naturally then think that it leads to bulky masculine muscles.

Let’s go ahead and state the obvious:

1. Bulking up requires testosterone levels that women just don’t have. Unless they ‘augment’ those levels, we just can’t get there. That being said, there are plenty of figure models who have beautiful defined physiques.
2. Bulking up (even for men) requires a rigorous diet that involves taking in LOTS of food. Ever see bodybuilders in their every day lives? Almost without fail, they’ll have a giant cooler of some sort that contains heaps of protein that they consume every couple of hours.
3. Muscle takes up less space than fat. As your lean body mass increases so does your resting metabolism, so muscle burns more calories.
4. Muscles = smokin’ hot body. Check out some of the elite CrossFittin women below.  Need I say more? Boys, why don’t you weigh in on this and post your thoughts to comments. The ladies might need a little encouragement!

Jenni Orr


Jolie Gentry (CF Games Fittest Woman 2007)


Nicole Carroll

Now, I’m not going to lie.  You will build muscle.  What this will do for you, though, is give you the best physique for your body type.  Everyone puts on lean body mass differently.  The end result is fitness.  The byproduct is just happens to be beauty.

WOD 10.20.09

Back Squat 5-3-3-2-2-2-1-1-1-1
Post loads to comments.

18 Responses to “Debunking Conventional Myths: Lifting makes women bulky”

Michael Huynh
October 20, 2009 at 6:52 AM

bodybuilding girls bad, crossfit girls good. what’s this calendar you speak of?

October 20, 2009 at 8:43 AM

Jenni Orr! I hope to meet her:)

October 20, 2009 at 1:34 PM

LOL, Jake, focus!!

MHE, I know not of what calendar you speak of…

Nick R.
October 20, 2009 at 1:41 PM

I vote we have posts like this for “encouragement” every day… thoughts?

October 20, 2009 at 1:45 PM

well, since i’m sure you guys need encouragement too, i’ll be sure to return the favor with muscle bound, half-naked, ugg-wearing, male crossfitters as well!

October 20, 2009 at 2:11 PM

No no, stick with the females. do you happen to know if she is married? :P

October 20, 2009 at 4:13 PM

OMG, Ruth, what are you doing to me? I have to compete with that? haha Whatever, us LADIES don’t need encouragement. We’ve got fine-looking personalities as it is. Have you seen how ripped my brain is lately? Just sayin’. I just hope that when you do post the muscle bound, half-naked, male crossfitters – they will NOT be wearing UGGs! hahaha That kinda would ruin it for me….

@ Jake: So are you going to ask Jenni to marry you when you do meet her?
@ MHE: What calendar?
@ Nick: No

October 20, 2009 at 9:42 PM

Welcome, Nick! Glad to have ya and well done dodging those tennis balls! You know it was all a part of the initiation, right?! Great job with the handstand holds too, everyone!

5×5 SP (80%) 75#
5×5 BS (82%) 165#

Michael H
October 20, 2009 at 10:19 PM

Look at how much dialogue this blog has generated, this blog has been bookmarked :P

On to some serious business. awesome job everyone.

Did you see Serena smoke us all, wtf, when did they start selling crack over the counter?
Nick has to have adamantium in his bones because no one recovers that quick after surgery and just hammers it!
Nick welcome to CF, hope to see ya out again it’s only the beginning to no end :)

5 Rounds
21 Shoulder Press
21 Good Morning (in the evening)
6:50 33#

October 20, 2009 at 10:51 PM

Nice times on the WOD guys! When I did this horrible one about 3 months ago, my time was nearly 30 minutes! :(

Oh and yes, CrossFitting women are the sh*t. UGG boots are just sh*t.

Nick R.
October 21, 2009 at 12:29 AM

Ha, thanks Michael, was happy to be able to get a full workout in with all of you.

Nick, welcome to the next place that’s gonna make you want to cry, keep showin up.

Serena, awesome, as always.

5 Rounds with 18lb kettlebell each hand
21 KB
21 RDL’s

Nick R.
October 21, 2009 at 12:31 AM

that was supposed to say 21 SP/21 RDL

October 21, 2009 at 1:16 AM

5:16 (I think) 33#

@ Michael I think you used the 45# bar. I should have used that bar, which would have meant another 5 mins to my time.

@ Nick R – Yay! Great seeing you sweat with us :)
@ Nick #2 – Welcome! Great job on your first WOD!
@ Ruth – You rock, as usual

Nick Healy (Nick #2)
October 21, 2009 at 10:08 AM

Thanks all for the great welcome and workout!

I had a good time and you will probably be seeing me again!

6:19 on the loop

Serena- no way does that high five qualify me for a photo shoot in hawaii straddling a walkway….

October 21, 2009 at 2:19 PM

Boo, Nick … No fun…. :)

CrossFit Intrepid » Strong Is Beautiful
December 13, 2009 at 1:03 AM

[...] Ruth’s post from October discussed why it is near impossible for women to bulk up to bodybuilder size , so I’d like to spin off of Ruth’s topic and discuss a little about  beauty.  I know this is a widely debated topic because of  its subjectivity, however, I think that there are some things we all can appreciate.  As CrossFitters, we come to have a new found appreciation for hard work and bettering ourselves through intense physical training, development of mental fortitude, improved nutrition, and invovlement in a community that encourages the pursuit of individual excellence.  We also come to understand that positive results, whether performance or aesthetic in nature, take time and require a dedication and patience that is hard for many to comprehend.  We slowly learn what it feels and looks like to be more healthy and fit as we increase our work capacity across broad time and modal domains (in layman’s terms:  performing better in a wider variety of time durations and situations).  The following CrossFit Journal articles are collages from the 2009 CrossFit Games that recognize the human form and the will in CrossFit’s top female and male athletes.  [...]

[...] an early CF Intrepid post, Ruth posted on the myth that lifting heavy will make women bulky and cleared the air by addressing the million [...]

[...] buff” and only occasionally graces us with her presence now. (Maybe she should read Ruth’s post on “getting bulky”, or either of Sean’s on the beauty of strength and women lifting heavy.) While she claims to [...]