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Women have long been treated like the black sheep of the bodybuilding world, but the 21st century’s evolving ideals of what constitutes beauty has meant they are able to step out of the shadows and get their own main stage. Today, women are seeing a resurgence of attention and respect in the previously male-dominated sport of competitive bodybuilding.

Bodybuilding grew in popularity in the late 20th century and began extending the competitive stage to include women when the first ever women’s bodybuilding show was held in November 1977 in Canton, Ohio. Women finally had the opportunity to display their muscular physiques and the result of years of dedicated weight training in the same way that men did.

Now, roughly 40 years later, the role of women as respected competitors in bodybuilding has become increasingly the norm, particularly within the IFBB Pro League and NPC. Today, the women’s bodybuilding competitive stage has diversified to include six separate divisions— bikini, wellness, figure, fitness, physique, and bodybuilding. Each division allows women to show off their fitness prowess whether it’s muscularity, proper use of nutrition, advanced supplementation, or weight lifting.

Even with the growth of women’s bodybuilding, the sport took a huge hit in 2014 when the number of competitions featuring women took a dive and the Olympia organization announced the end of the Ms. Olympia. Thankfully, the bodybuilding promotion company Wings of Strength stepped in. They broadened their efforts to revamp and revive the women’s bodybuilding category. They needed a new approach after female bodybuilders’ credibility took such a hit after losing their biggest event.

This new approach came in the form of the Rising Phoenix World Championship, which debuted in 2015. This new competition became the biggest stage for women’s bodybuilding, effectively filling the void that the Ms. Olympia had left behind.

Throughout the years, Wings of Strength has supported and encouraged female bodybuilding competitors. Not only have they provided a support community for women in bodybuilding, but they offer athletes incentives like paid photoshoots and guest appearances. Still, the wide disparity between men’s and women’s bodybuilding meant female athletes needed more. Wings of Strength has enabled women to take their bodybuilding careers to the next level with sponsorships; now women can promote their sport and receive financial assistance and training support.

The Brand Ambassador Program was developed for every amateur or professional competitive female bodybuilder. The committee selects athletes to participate in events to give their sport more visibility. Wings of Strength is now dedicated to promoting all facets of women’s bodybuilding—just as women come in all shapes and forms, Wings of Strength is dedicated to showcasing the diversity of female bodybuilders.

Wings of Strength is creating an atmosphere of support and mutual appreciation, transforming an individual sport into one that’s built on camaraderie and friendship. Human value, interaction, and athletic performance are at the core of the company’s efforts, and their goal is to assure, not only the continuation of the division, but its growth and progression as well.

This content is sponsored by Wings of Strength.