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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Five Reasons Why Strong Women Are Sexy

As I've delved into the world of blogging, I've met a number of fantastic fitness-minded folks. Among them is Josh Hanagarne, a Russian Kettlebell Certified strength enthusiast who is a librarian by trade, and whose blog, World's Strongest Librarian is an eclectic combination of literary insights, personal reflections, and tales of strength. Josh recently offered to write guest posts for his fellow bloggers. I couldn't resist the opportunity to get a man's perspective on strong women. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Five Reasons Why Strong Women Are Sexy
By Josh Hanagarne, World’s Strongest Librarian

1. Strength implies dedication

I grew up with a Tongan friend who could bench a million pounds (more or less) without ever having lifted a weight in his life. But that’s not the case with most people.

Dedication and commitment are attractive qualities in any person. If you are strong, it means you have put in the time and paid your dues and you have earned it. Most people can’t commit to eating well for a week, much less gaining real strength.

When I see a woman who values strength, I see someone who knows the value of perseverance and commitment.

2. Strength implies a healthy sense of priorities

The current portrayal of how women’s bodies should look is pure poison. I’m hearing more about sexy “clavicles” these days, of all things

I grew up with two attractive sisters and a million attractive cousins who all hated the way they looked, even though they were gorgeous and thin. I’m sure they’re wondering how to bring out their clavicles this very minute.

Spending three hours a day on a treadmill does not make you strong and it does not imply that you have a healthy body image.

Spending half an hour getting strong implies that you have better things to think about than how many calories you can get rid of in the next hour. And of course, it doesn’t hurt that serious strength training makes your body look better than a treadmill ever could.

Take a look at some female kettlebellers and you’ll know what I mean.

3. Strength defies society’s portrayal of how women should be

Society does not value physical strength in women. The women in vogue are emaciated and bug-eyed, without any muscle tone. They are bony clothes hangers and I don’t know how that appeals to anyone.

The physically strong woman resists the siren song of the anorexic crackhead look and makes her body do what feels good. And again, if you give your body what it needs, it’s going to look good.

4. Strength leads to confidence

As you gain strength, you can confidence. It’s impossible not to. Very few things in our lives challenge us to test ourselves physically anymore. So most strong people have to proactively test themselves.

When you choose to do something as difficult as real strength training with demonstrable results, it changes your body and your mind at the same time.

Confidence is very attractive.

5. Strength training helps you age gracefully

Most elderly people who shuffle around hunched over are not doing so because they’re old—they’re doing so because they are weak. If you work out consistently for the purpose of gaining strength—particularly with kettlebells—you will retain the mobility of your psoas, shoulders, and hips.

With disuse and years, those muscles and joints tighten up, pull you forward and down, and then it’s too late.

Weak young women become weak old women. Strong young women become elegant, strong, confident women.

In short, there’s no downside to being strong. People that are attracted to weakness are normally attracted to vulnerability and there’s not much potential upside to that.

About the Author: Josh Hanagarne is the twitchy giant behind World’s Strongest Librarian, a blog with advice about living with Tourette’s Syndrome, book recommendations, buying pants when you’re 6’8”, old-time strongman training, kettlebells, and much more. Please subscribe to Josh’s RSS Updates to stay in touch.


  1. Liz, thanks for having me on your blog. It was a lot of fun to write, and even better than that--it's all true. Best of luck to you all.

  2. Josh, it was my pleasure! I loved the piece and know many of my readers appreciated it. There were a flurry of comments on my facebook page! Thanks again for honoring LGM with your perspective.

  3. This article is brilliant! While as women we are so much more than simply the way we look, this article highlight the empowerment that women can attain once they take control of their bodies. It's not about about a six-pack but rather, what striving towards that six-pack helps us achieve mentally and emotionally.

  4. Josh and Liz,
    Bravo! I agree muscles on women are sexy. To support the aging gracefully benefit, what I’ve noticed is the absence of my “this is what’s wrong with my body” conversation. It’s a boring conversation for both the speaker and the listener. I’ve stopped criticizing my body. I’m so thankful for my health and for my ability to take good care of my body and my mind by doing something I really enjoy – something I’d much rather talk about - strength training!

  5. Cheryl, what insightful comments! I absolutely agree that it's time to celebrate what's right with our bodies rather than endlessly discussing what's wrong.

    Susan, empowerment is absolutely the right word. It's about the journey, not the destination. And I'm enjoying the trip!

  6. I started the strength training regime to super charge my weight loss by boosting my metabolism. What I ended up doing, was not only changing my body, but also breaking through mental barriers that I didn't even know I had regarding how strong of a woman I actualy am.
    I feel amazing - stronger than I have since before 2 kids.
    Strength training is cruicial...

    Now, to get my hands on a kettleball!

  7. Melanie, it's amazing how getting strong helps us reset our baseline expectations for what our possibilities are, as women. Glad you've had that experience.

    Hope you are able to find a kettlebell and someone great to show you how to use it. I love them!