New research shows that pumping iron will make men more popular with the opposite sex.
In a study published in Royal Society journal Proceedings B, researchers compiled photos of shirtless or tank-top wearing males with their faces covered; all of them were students at the Griffith University in Queensland, Australia, with 60 recruited from the gym and 130 being everyday psychology majors. Some 160 women then rated the images and—in a landslide—they chose guys with big pecs and arms.
“We weren’t surprised that women found physically strong men attractive … what did surprise us was just how powerful the effect was,” says study leader Aaron Sell, a senior lecturer at Griffith University.
Just how powerful are we talking? Says Sell: “Our data couldn’t find even a single woman that preferred weaker … male bodies.”
Researchers say that preference can be linked to the caveman days—or, as they put it, “ancestral cues.” The upshot: Ancient women instinctually chose males who were better able to provide for them and protect their families, and that evolutionary relic of human mating rituals may still exist.