• Weightlifter Emily McNally, 16, works out at her home gym in the US (Getty) (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
If you want to avoid annoying a female weightlifter (and we strongly suggest that’s a good idea) read on to find out what they really want to you know about their sport.
Megan Maurice

5 Aug 2016 - 8:00 AM  UPDATED 5 Aug 2016 - 8:00 AM

Mention women’s weightlifting and most people think of big, bulky, super muscly women who eschew anything typically seen as “feminine”. But with the Olympics fast approaching, it’s time to debunk some of those myths and talk about what female weightlifters are really like.

In her article 5 Myths About Women Weightlifters  Anna Medaris Miller breaks down a few of the things that make female weightlifters eyeroll so hard.  

For a start, don’t ever mix up bodybuilding and weightlifting!

While bodybuilders are judged on how their body looks as a result of a weights and diet program, weightlifters use prescribed techniques and compete to see who can lift the largest amount of weight. 

And while we’re on the subject, it’s not just the biggest women who are hauling in all the medals – it’s a sport for all body sizes, with seven weight categories, starting at 48kg and going up to 75kg and over.

Weightlifting isn’t just for the elite few either – the rise of CrossFit has seen more and more women being recruited into weightlifting – and loving it! Because of the “grass roots” nature of CrossFit and its extreme accessibility (these days it’s difficult to walk down the street without inadvertently joining a CrossFit session) women are discovering a talent and a passion for weightlifting and moving into this specialist domain.

And contrary to popular belief, weightlifting won’t make you into a female Arnold Schwarzenegger. In reality, the hormone levels in most women’s bodies wouldn’t allow for it – no matter how many protein shakes you down and hours you spend in the gym!

But for most weightlifters, how they look is beside the point anyway. The goal is to improve their technique and get that weight over their head – whatever it takes.