Why Can’t Guys Lift the Chair? The Gendered Struggle.

Men are often expected to be physically strong and able to lift heavy objects with ease. So why is it that sometimes, even something as simple as lifting a chair can be a struggle for guys?

This question may seem trivial, but it actually sheds light on larger issues related to gender roles and societal expectations. In this article, we’ll explore some of the factors that contribute to the gendered struggle of lifting chairs and other objects, and what it means for both men and women.

Biological Differences

One of the most obvious reasons why men may struggle less than women when it comes to lifting chairs is because they tend to have larger bodies and more muscle mass. On average, men have around 40-60% more upper body strength than women, according to studies.

This doesn’t mean that all men are stronger than all women, of course. There are plenty of women who can lift more than some men. However, as a general trend, men are more likely to be able to lift heavier objects without experiencing strain or fatigue.

Explaining the Strength Difference

So why do men tend to be stronger than women in the first place? The answer lies in biological differences between the sexes.

Testosterone, a hormone found in higher levels in men than in women, plays a significant role in muscle growth and development. During puberty, boys experience a surge of testosterone that leads to an increase in muscle mass and bone density. This growth spurt continues until around the age of 20, at which point most men have reached peak strength.

Women, on the other hand, tend to develop less muscle mass and bone density, especially in the upper body. This is due in part to lower levels of testosterone, but also because women typically have a higher body fat percentage. Fat tissue doesn’t provide the same kind of support and stability as muscle tissue, making it harder to lift heavy objects.

Societal Expectations

While biology certainly plays a role in determining strength and ability, it’s not the only factor. Societal expectations and gender roles also contribute significantly to why men may feel pressure to be able to lift heavy objects, even if it’s not necessarily something they’re good at.

From a young age, boys are often encouraged to engage in physically challenging activities and sports. They are praised for showing bravery and toughness, and may be judged harshly if they appear weak or uncoordinated.

On the other hand, girls are typically discouraged from engaging in too much physical activity, especially if it involves getting dirty or sweaty. They may be taught to prioritize appearance over strength, and to avoid anything that may lead to a loss of femininity.

This kind of conditioning can have long-lasting effects on how we perceive our own abilities and limitations. It’s possible that men may feel more pressure to lift heavy objects simply because they believe that’s what’s expected of them as men.

The Dangers of Stereotyping

While some may argue that these stereotypes are harmless or even helpful in some ways, they can actually be quite damaging. When we assume that all men are strong and all women are weak, we ignore the many exceptions to these generalizations.

Men who struggle with lifting chairs or other objects may feel embarrassed or ashamed, believing that they are failing to live up to their gender role. Women who are able to lift heavy objects, on the other hand, may be dismissed or belittled, told that they are “showing off” or “trying to be like a man”.

Ultimately, this kind of rigid thinking doesn’t benefit anyone. We should be encouraging everyone to push themselves to their limits, regardless of gender or societal expectations.

Improving Strength and Skill

While some aspects of physical strength may be influenced by biology, that doesn’t mean that men or women are stuck with the strength they have. There are a variety of ways to improve your overall fitness and lift heavier objects without straining your muscles.

Strength Training

If you’re looking to build muscle and increase your overall strength, strength training is one of the best options. This can involve lifting weights, using resistance bands, or doing bodyweight exercises like push-ups and squats.

Strength training can help to build muscle mass and increase bone density, making it easier to lift heavier objects without experiencing strain or fatigue.

Proper Lifting Technique

Even if you’re already quite strong, it’s important to use proper lifting technique in order to avoid injury or strain. This involves using your legs to push up, rather than relying solely on your back or arms.

Here are some tips for proper lifting technique:

  • Stand close to the object, with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Bend your knees and squat down, keeping your back straight.
  • Place your hands on the object, making sure your grip is secure.
  • Push up with your legs, keeping your back straight as you lift.

Remember, it’s always better to ask for help from someone else if you’re unsure about your ability to lift something on your own.


The gendered struggle of lifting chairs may seem like a small issue, but it’s actually a reflection of larger societal expectations and stereotypes. While biology certainly plays a role in determining strength, it’s important to remember that men and women come in all shapes, sizes, and levels of ability.

By challenging these rigid gender roles and encouraging everyone to push themselves to their limits, we can create a more inclusive and accepting world where strength is measured by more than just physical ability.


  • Can women be stronger than men?

    Yes, it’s possible for women to be stronger than men in some cases. However, on average, men tend to have more upper body strength than women due to differences in testosterone levels and muscle mass.

  • Do all men have the same strength?

    No, not all men have the same level of strength. Strength can vary significantly based on factors like age, genetics, and training habits.

  • Why do some men struggle to lift objects?

    While men tend to have more upper body strength than women on average, there can still be significant variation within each gender. Factors like age, genetics, and overall fitness level can impact a person’s ability to lift objects.

  • Is it bad for men to struggle with lifting objects?

    No, it’s perfectly normal for individuals of any gender to struggle with lifting heavy objects. Rather than feeling ashamed or embarrassed, it’s important to recognize your limits and ask for help when necessary.


1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6259845/

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5943757/

3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4315420/

4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5548286/

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