There were no cell phones. The Internet was just for academia and the government. Fax machines were the exciting innovation. Arnold Schwarzenegger was still competing in bodybuilding and starting to establish a movie career.

And something new was being introduced to the culture: a few contests were being held that featured beautiful women in bikinis and high heels who had exercised and dieted to create physiques with muscularity and definition.

It was 1977, and the idea of women developing their muscles for primarily aesthetic purposes had just been created. It was the beginning of women’s muscle competitions.

From humble beginnings at a local YMCA in Dayton, OH to the big stage of the Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, female bodybuilding competition has made great strides to becoming a well-respected and recognized athletic event. But what is most recognizable is the bond that’s created between the female bodybuilding competitors.

They have created a “sisterhood of muscle” formed by overcoming the same obstacles and stigma that’s associated with being a muscular woman. They’ve put in countless hours transforming their bodies in the gym. Maybe now they can get the respect they deserve.

The 11 Strongest Women of All Time

The 11 Strongest Women Ever

These legendary ladies lifted their way into the history books.

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