Who Are the Strongest Women in Strongman?

Finally! The weight classed World’s Strongest Woman contest is going to be held. For those of us on the East Coast, we can see it live in December in Raleigh, North Carolina. Last year saw its return, but 2017 will most likely give the event the weight the men’s contest holds. While all the women listed may not attend WSW, this does not decrease their current position. I have over 12 years experience working with men and women as a coach in the sport, and my own professional competition background combined with my reporting work gives me a first hand look at these athletes. In my rankings I weighed the following factors:

  • Limit strength
  • Endurance
  • Anaerobic capacity
  • Athleticism
  • Experience
  • Age
  • Intangibles (confidence, limits mistakes, weight cuts, etc.)

The Lightweights

This class has had little to show off since Strongest Woman in the World in Jacksonville. The pro shows that followed were open and the weights were really not approachable for the class so we have little to go on here, but there is enough for the top three:

3) Catilin Yuhas: This Arnold Amateur world champion has a ton of potential and is also starting law school. Her lifts are at the top end of the spectrum and she is a true gamer. Hopefully she sticks with the sport and maximizes her potential. 

2) Leslie Hofeines: Confirmed for WSW, this former powerlifter has it all. This show will bring her out of retirement due to age, but she has more left in the tank. No strikes against her anywhere.

1) Rachel Pyron: What is left to say about this superstar that has not been written already. If she’s on point, she can’t be beat. She is confirmed for WSW. If I was betting it would be even money on her for the win.

The Middleweights

In my opinion, is the most competitive class in women’s strength sports right now. I will rank the top five, but could go much deeper.

5) Kimberly Lawrance: This woman has had quite a few heart breaking second place finishes. The depth of this class though makes these outcomes inevitable. Lawrance is a true athlete who has adapted well to strength. If she’s hungry she is dangerous.

4) Kaitlin Burgess: Only woman with a light and heavy weight pro card. She will shine through in the 180 and under class and I hope that’s where she’s putting in her work. I don’t believe we have seen the top of her limit strength or endurance yet.

3) Dani Schwalbie: An injury kept her sidelined shortly after Strongest Woman in the World, but not after doing some amazing presswork. This athlete is one of the strongest pressers in the country at 170 pounds; and I’m including most men in at that weight. Hopefully we see a comeback soon as this woman has tons of potential.

2) Jenny Todd: The British superstar is all muscle and talent. She’s won her class in England’s strongest Woman and the 2017 Arnold. With strength levels to rival the heavies this athlete is poised to break out and start taking overall titles. 

1) Liefia Ingalls: This Middleweight Professional won the inaugural Arnold Women’s Pro contest and has proven herself over and over again. She is confirmed for WSW and whiles she’s currently traveling the world, she continues doing feats of strength. Recently lifting a 450 pound bavarian stone and out wrestling four men in a viking games, she is at the top of the list for all women 180 and under with room for more mass on her frame.


5) Andrea Thompson: Will she make it to WSW?? She’s got the skills, ability and invitation. Her game just needs a tune up in the speed department and she will be a podium finisher at the very top.

4) Britney Cornelius: This amazing deadlifter has worked on rounding out her game over the last year. She has improved on the press and stone load. Again, she just needs to be faster and mistake free to be in the top three.

3) Brooke Sousa: If there is a contest Brooke is there. Winning several arnold internationals this season earns her high marks on this list, and I’m seeing constant improvement in her game. She has to get her top numbers up five to ten percent to be one of the greats.

2) Kristin Rhodes: Writing this list just 18 months ago and she would have the top spot here. Many injuries hampered her 2016 season and a disappointing finish at last year’s WSW reignited a fire in the now 40 year old superstar of strength. A 10 year veteran, she has the strength, speed and knowledge to take back the number one spot but it won’t be easy. Enough can not be said about this athlete and she should never be underestimated.

1) Donna Moore: Will she repeat as WSW? The smart money says yes. Just a few years into the sport Donna has left a wake of beaten competitors behind. Strong, lean, fast, athletic, she is possibly going to be one of the strongest women of all time. In conversations she is confident but not cocky and never seems nervous, as the weights in contests are far from her maximum abilities. With youth and talent on her side the sky is the limit.

Editor’s note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein and in the video are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

Featured image: @heartofagypsygirl on Instagram

Michael Gill

Michael Gill

Weight training is in the blood of BarBend contributor Mike Gill. Learning how to lift as part of his conditioning for Jr. High School wrestling fueled a passion that has lasted now for 35 years. He has a background in all weight disciplines and has competed in Bodybuilding, Powerlifting and Weightlifting eventually finding his niche and turning professional in the sport of Strongman. Retired from competition, he now focuses on coaching and applying events from the most versatile weight discipline to other sports. His vast knowledge of Strongman has been highlighted in his work as a color commentator for live broadcasts of the Arnold World Championships, National Amateur Championships, World’s Strongest Man Over 40 and World’s Strongest Woman.Not limiting himself to just working with weights, Mike has used his decades of discipline to work as a life coach and speaker. Additionally he can often be seen in New York City as a stand up comic.He can be reached for coaching at Michaelgill100 [at] gmail.com, @prostrongman on Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram, and on Facebook.

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