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StrongHer: Bethnal Green’s inclusive women-only gym

StrongHer on Cudworth Street is an inclusive strength and conditioning space aimed at combating the male-dominated environment of the gym.

The gym can often be a highly gendered environment, dominated by men. This can often cause a sense of intimidation for women, as they don’t feel comfortable working out in a hypermasculine space. 

In 2017, best friends Sam Prynn and Lyanne ‘Tig’ Hodson, recognised this as a barrier to women in fitness and wellbeing so formed a solution: a strictly women-only strength and conditioning space, which they named ‘StrongHer’. 

“It’s the anti-toxic gym environment; it’s encouraging, it’s positive, it’s the antithesis of what you would expect a body building and weight training gym to be like,” Georgiana, who has been going to StrongHer for over a year, tells me.

After a huge crowdfunding project in which they managed to raise £125,000, Sam and Tig were able to open up StrongHer Space on Cudworth Street, just behind Bethnal Green overground station, and just a couple minutes walk to Weaver Fields.

Their aim was to not only combat the traditional masculine environment of gyms, but moreover, to help women build up their confidence in fitness and wellbeing. The co-founders hoped to create an inclusive space in which women felt safe and confident working out, to take control of their own fitness.

“As cases of violence against women continues to rise, for me it’s important to have somewhere to train where I feel safe that I can train in comfort,” StrongHer member Terri-Ann told me. “It’s also important to have this for people who are from other cultures who also might not feel comfortable training in a mixed gym.”

As a female oriented company, they have also made sure to make the gym accessible to mothers. Their staff are able to supervise children, giving members the freedom to work out and not have the added costs of paying for a babysitter.

As a black, queer, female owned business, their ethos is one which has inclusivity at its centre. They describe StrongHer as a community and a sisterhood; they empower women from all different socio-cultural and religious backgrounds to come together.

Georgiana told me that StrongHer is distinctly not a competitive space, “It’s about personal gains, personal bests which encourages support amongst women. You’re all helping to empower each other as well as empowering yourself.”

If you enjoyed reading this you might like our piece on Repton Boxing Club.

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