Women’s Workout Equipment Doesn’t Exist.

The Blue Moon Blogger
4 min readSep 3, 2021

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Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

I’ve been involved in competitive sport since I was 12 years old, meaning I have lots of experience in working out and the equipment used during these workouts. In addition to this, I also have a diploma in fitness and health promotion. However, I’ve always struggled to perform some exercises correctly simply because the equipment was too large for me. To put things into perspective, I’m a 5-foot 2-inch tall woman and cannot touch the ground while performing bench press without adding blocks under my feet. I also find that the grip size for handles on dumbbells is made for men, making it far more difficult for other women or me to use correctly. With how vital posture and body placement are, I often wonder why there isn’t a variety of sizes for workout equipment that cater to both men and women. I’m aware that some equipment has adjustable notches, like the squat rack. Still, in my experience, even some adjustable equipment doesn’t adjust to the right size for medium to small women.

I see plenty of women in gyms and plenty of women in competitive sports, and I have yet to discover basic workout equipment that is the right size for a woman. The only piece of equipment, to my knowledge, that is specifically made for women is the barbell which is lighter and provides a smaller grip. When searching for women’s workout equipment, the only items that come up are booty bands, light weights, small pink dumbbells and a few other pink gadgets. But then I go to the gym and see women using machines and free weights, so what’s the deal with that?

The Issue

There are a few issues with inadequately sized workout equipment for women, including increased risk of injury, reduced efficiency, unintended use of muscles or muscle groups during an exercise, and lack of consistency. All of which could be reduced or eliminated by proper fitting workout equipment for women. The latter leads me to another significant problem: women not feeling confident or feeling they don’t belong in the gym. In a study conducted by Sport England, 75% of women think they will be judged on their appearance and ability in the gym. Equipment that doesn’t fit the user is contributing to that.

The Pink Phenomenon

Photo by Yulissa Tagle on Unsplash

Suppose you’ve been to a sports store or have looked at sports gear online and are a woman. In that case, you are probably aware that almost everything sold is pink or has pink detailing when marketed to women. This marketing technique has been used since companies started to design workout equipment for women because apparently we only like the colour pink. Now, there isn’t anything wrong with the colour pink. The problem is the idea behind women’s sports options being pink with no deeper consideration into what we really need. In a Newstatesman article written by Sonia van Gilder Cooke she points out that the brand John Lewis sells sets of hand weights that progress from pink to purple to grey to navy blue, continuing to move into more “masculine” colours as the weight goes up. This implies that femininity fades the heavier the weights become. She also touches on the fact that 70 percent of Nike sports accessories specifically made for women only come in pink. So how does this relate to the issue of workout equipment not coming in the correct size for women, you might ask? Because designing workout equipment pink doesn’t mean it’s made for women.

To sum everything up, not having adequately sized workout equipment for women is only a portion of what plays into the gender gap within gyms. By advocating for equipment that suits its users, we can help close the gender gap and hopefully create an equal experience within gyms and fitness for women.

MailOnline, L. P. for. (2014, October 31). 75% of women want to exercise but don’t for fear of what others think. Daily Mail Online. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2815893/Scared-judged-gym-not-New-study-finds-75-women-want-exercise-don-t-fear-think.html.

Sonia van Gilder Cooke (d, Cooke, S. van G.(d, & Sonia van Gilder Cooke is a freelance journalist based in London. (2017, January 3). Seeing pink: Why is sports gear for women still so gendered? https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/sport/2017/01/seeing-pink-why-sports-gear-women-still-so-gendered.

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The Blue Moon Blogger

My name is Courtney and I’m a Canadian living in Australia. I post articles that share my knowledge and experience with you about health and wellness.