What, I wondered as I first thought about this week's selections, are my particular female muscle obsessions? You would think I'd know after roughly 30 years. Two key points were easy to identify. One, "The New", I expanded on on Tuesday, and the other will be dealt with on Saturday. Apart from that, I had a few assumptions.
Abs would surely have to be one, but then a glance at the most numerous labels over the last five years or so revealed that I'd made more posts concerning Biceps.
What goes on backstage would have to be another. As someone who's never been to a show, let alone been granted entry to a pump room (aka the holiest of holies), I guess it could be something about the attraction of the forbidden. Perhaps I'm so obsessed with backstage pics and clips because I know it's the closest I'll ever get. Perhaps it's the knowledge that nowhere on Earth is there a greater density of female muscle.
And it doesn't even have to be the big girls. I can get excited about just about any backstage clip, including Bikini. As long as there's pumping and flexing and tanning and oiling, I'm all over it. Below is a recent example of a fine bit of backstage camera work. Mostly it's the Figure pros. Diana Schnaidt is just one of many highlights.
And while we're on the subject of the Figure ladies, there's a somewhat newer obsession I appear to have developed, regarding their lack of flexing on stage and their obvious desire to flex the hell out of their muscles almost all of the rest of the time. It started a couple of years ago when Alicia Coates flexed her biceps at the Olympia...
Since then I've been monitoring the amount of gratuitous flexing ladies of the Figure division do when their not on stage at contests - in, for example, the pump room. Seems to me it's a lot. As much as possible in fact, but it doesn't end there. What about when they get interviewed after they win? Again, there's a lot. Really.
Take for example the lovely Stephanie Rowe, interviewed below by Ashley Adams for HD Physiques. Now Stephanie, as all women with muscle seem to me to do, gesticulates a lot during the interview. Inadvertent flexing you might call it, just keep your eyes on the arm closest to you. But then, as is customary at the end of these interviews, Stephanie shows us a pose (for the impatient, it's at 2.20). A Figure pose.
Can Stephanie resist giving us another kind of pose as well? Can she f**k?!
So, I obsessively wonder, does this mean that Alicia and Stephanie would like to do a bit more flexing on stage? Are all Figure ladies, or at least the ones who post themselves flexing, fully-pumped on their IG feeds day after day after day, frustrated flexers? Is the only cure a move up to Physique à la Shanique Grant?
Shanique, Figure (left), and flexing
Perhaps. But for the classiest competitors, the fact that they don't get to do the double biceps or the side chest or the abs and thigh doesn't stop them sneaking a sneaky flex into their "presentations". And the best example of this I've found this year has got to be the ever-classy Cydney Gillon winning at the Miami Muscle Beach Pro. Check out the cheeky, blink-and-you-miss-it rewind-no-I-didn't-imagine-it tricep flex at 0.24.
Obsessed? Yes I am!
In an effort to bring some sort of sanity to this post, I wondered if the blog labels would reveal obsession with particular women. The top five were both predictable and surprising. Alina has more posts dedicated to her than any other woman - predictable. Lisa Cross comes a close second - also predictable, given that I'm a Brit and am ever so slightly obsessed with Lisa. Shannon in fourth and Marthe and Margie tied for 5th - also predictable. But I was genuinely surprised to find that my third most written about woman was the much-missed Slovenian she-beast Brigita Brezovac.
I don't regret a single post, I just wouldn't have counted Brigita among my top five of the past five years if you'd asked. And I guess that just goes to show how little I know! Possibly though it has something to do with the fact that the tip top number one label is "Muscle", and there can be no doubt at all that Brigita always had plenty of that.
And so, to another of my lasting obsessions. No, it's not the tongue, or the outfit - although in the case of that clip neither of those things hurt - it's the walk.
Honestly, I think if I ever saw a female bodybuilder, a real female bodybuilder, especially one who I recognised, out in public walking along the street, well, I think I would probably just keep on following her until I was either confronted, arrested, or had a door of some sort slammed in my face. I could watch clips of female bodybuilders walking all day. Every day. And I'm so enamoured by them that if a longer clip starts off with a walk before fading into something else, I'm gutted.
As George Harrison sang, something in the way she moves...
Right. Time to get this over with. I've already probably given the impression I am, if not mentally deranged, super-creepy. But if you share any of these obsessions, or indeed others - glutes, Brazilians, Brazilian glutes, Dani Reardon, female muscle hand bras, extreme vascularity, that bulge - then I'm sure we'd have something to talk about if we met at a place that has become another of my obsessions, the Girls with Muscle chat room. Look out for 6ft1swell joining the chat and say hello.
Or get the hell out of there sharpish. Your call.