Truth be told, it was the women in Muscle & Fitness, Flex and Musclemag that set me on the path towards the raving female muscle head I am today. The majority of women who featured in Women's Physique World way back when I personally didn't discover until I got a dial-up and hopefully typed the magazine's name into the search field.
In memory of that moment the motherlode was revealed to me, a selection of five (I think not at all controversial) bicep legends from that time. Women who may not have been among my very first female muscle discoveries - even if a couple of them do go very very way back indeed - but who certainly did their bit to seal the deal.
She has no weak spots on her, says the commentator over Sue's 1988 Jr. Nationals winning routine. She's well-balanced, she appears to be thick all over, she's ripped, she has great skin tone, she poses well, and on top of that she's really pretty.
Sue was, indeed, much more than "just" her biceps, but the lure of those arms, those thick, bulging biceps in particular, has stood the test of female muscle lovin' time for myself, and many many others. Sue's baseball biceps are addictive, warns one.
Proceed with caution then to this WPW official preview. And you can also watch a much later Sue featuring on that Montel show (or one of them anyway) in the 1990s, before heading back to her 1988 routine (plus breathless backstage interview).
If I'd found better pics of Susan, by the way, you'd be looking at them.
She was, I believe, in the late 1980s only briefly a competitor who was in the WPW spotlight, but like Sue Myers, Phyllis Padur still gets talked about (by geezers like me, of a certain age!) when "Best Biceps Ever"-type conversations are had, and also when a more contemporary muscle woman's biceps jog the memory - I recall Michelle Gavin's beauties being referred to as Padur-like peaks, for example.
Phyllis' nickname was "Funky Peaks"!
A prolific subject for the WPW and Ray Martin lenses, a few years ago, Christa was still, well into her 60s, more muscular than she had any right to be and receiving offers from men less than half her age. In her 1980s-90s pomp, she was hot and hard all over, but I had a particular hard spot for her biceps, especially when they were threatening to burst right through the fabric of whatever classy outfit she happened to be wearing.
Personal faves include the dress with the sheer sleeves - Christa applying lipstick at one point, the kind of thing Ray Martin did so well, taking you into the FBB boudoir - and the white dress, apparently painted on - I may be misremembering but I swear you can see her abs through it! But any time spent with Christa was good time, including probably more hours than is healthy playing "Dress Me Up!" on her website.
Christa competed twice at the Olympia in the 90s, but you can go way back to the late 1980s (and the glory days of Eurosport) with this routine. There's also an offical WPW preview to enjoy here. When you've stopped playing at dressing her up that is.
Like Phyllis, Joan is still lauded on the forums by those who remember her bringing something truly unique to the late '80s female muscle lovin' world. Her biceps are not so much the greatest split-peaks of all time, more like the only biceps in history that grew extra biceps on top of them. Her peaks have nice peaks! a newer fan exclaims.
Back in 2013, it was rumoured that the (then) 48-year-old was thinking of competing again - and she still had plenty of muscle to show off. Around that time she was also a vocal critic of the IFBB's "plans to kill" Female Bodybuilding, penning an open letter to the IFBB bigwigs that accused them of trying to "send Female Bodybuilding back to the Stone Age". Joan knows - she was there, at the same high school as Cory Everson!
"Joan of Arms" was the title of her first WPW feature. Wennerstrom, as usual, nailed it.
But, if I had to choose just one pair of biceps from that discovering-WPW-on-the-internet era, I would have to choose this pair. I don't recall the exact moment my eyes bulged out of their sockets while a dial-up image of these "otherworldly" arms loaded line by line, but I'm pretty sure they bulged good (and weren't the only things bulging).
Remember the WPW clip of her being measured at 18 inches? And then the guy rubs oil all over it! writes one forum poster. Well, actually it's a Ray Martin production (oil rubbing was generally not done by anyone but the ladies themselves in the WPW clips). Not sure they were 18 either, looks more like 17 to me, but hey, how could I forget?!
She'd been training for a good ten years before she even started competing in the late 1990s - 5'4" and chiselled, according to the WPW blurb. Michele has the best biceps and triceps in the history of the sport. And they've seen a few! A picture of Michele "now" back circulated the forums a couple of years ago. Not such a meat feast as she was back then - how could she be? - but OMG her bicep was still thrilling, still "otherworldly".