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The Origins of Weight Training for Female Athletes in North America – Iron Game History – April, 1992

Today, there is virtually no women’s sport in which some form of weight training or resistance exercise is not part of the conditioning program used by the athletes of that sport. This is so because resistance exercise is helpful to athletes in many ways; it increases running and jumping ability, creates greater muscular endurance and decreases the likelihood of injury. During the first two-thirds of the twentieth century, however, most athletes, male and female, eschewed weight training because it was considered by coaches and physical educators to be detrimental to athletic performance. Weight training, it was widely and incorrectly believed, would make an athlete slow, stiff and “musclebound” – qualities obviously undesirable in an athlete of either sex.