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Most of the literature available to the female athlete or woman interested in fitness does not provide information reliable enough to reach particular fitness goals. The majority of the material either focuses on weight loss, diets, or trying to achieve a thin body type. Never is there much discussion about building muscular strength. This has health benefits that many women fail to realize. Seeing as women are becoming serious and respected competitors in sport it is important to have a quantitative measure of physical fitness. Live Strong has provided simple guidelines for the layperson and athlete. Often, the biology and exercise physiology becomes confusing to a person who has limited understand about science in general or human anatomy. Besides the lack of knowledge their is a sexist bias that remains. Some women fear “bulking up.” Muscles are seen as male only to many people. There are also myths that women are not physiologically or biologically capable of building strength. The frailty myth still persists even when scientific data has discredited it. Also an individual must decided what are their goals are before embarking on a training regimen. Live Strong only mentions two : performance oriented goals and aesthetic goals. There should be a third category which includes health maintenance goals. Quantifying progress lets a person know if what they are doing is effective. Benchmarks allow a person to see rate of progress and what can be done to improve performance.
Before embarking on a training regimen goals must be considered and consultation with a medical professional is advised. There is the possibility harm can be inflicted with out proper instruction or advice. Once it is known that your health condition is stable enough for a training regimen, then goals must be established. Aesthetic goals, performance oriented goals, or general health maintenance. Exercise for maintaining health would be the simplest. This could be low level physical activity which includes jogging or walking. The intent is not to reach the Olympics. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a certain amount of exercise for children, adults, and the elderly. Doing so acts a prevention against chronic illness or multiple health conditions related to the circulatory, skeletal, and muscular systems .The majority of Americans do not follow or even know about the recommended CDC exercise guidelines. According to their data it is suggested that an adult should do at least two hours to five hours a week of moderate intensity exercise. Considering people have full time careers and many obligations during the week, this may not be possible. Any amount of exercise can be beneficial no matter how small the amount.
Performance related fitness goals are designed to increase athletic skill on a playing field. A weightlifter wants to figure out how lift more weight. A runner will train a certain way to increase speed. They are no solely doing this for the purpose of maintaining health. The desire is to increase physical fitness indicators to improve sports performance. There are other factors that can add to better performance. Coaching and a support structure help an athlete through difficult situations. Nutrition and diet also aid in better performance. Also the acquisition of new knowledge and physical skills that are amassed over competitive careers demonstrates how an athlete either improves or fails in their given sport. A powerful psychological element is part of competition that takes much mental focus and dedication. Aesthetic related fitness goals are more related to weight loss and the bodybuilding sports. Exercise and weight training are used to reach a particular look. This has more of a commercial incentive with the fitness industry presenting particular images, which they think consumers want to emulate. For women the image of health was to be slim. Thinness is not an indication of good health or fitness.
For men most fitness related material is encouraging them to build mass. While women who chose to build aesthetic muscle are either marginalized in mainstream magazines, the internet seems to be a better medium . Whatever fitness goal an individual has in mind, it is important that one be selected to make full use of time and effort. Otherwise, training regimens will not be effective and results will not be produced. Live Strong provides a simple rubric for women with performance oriented goals.
The General Overview of Strength Bench Marks For Women
Bench Press Exercise and Standing Barbell Press
The first benchmark for women is to be able to bench press 75 % of your body weight. Simply put it should be 85% of the weight number for five repetitions. Upper body exercises may be harder for women seeing as there are less androgen receptors in that part of the body. To do a bench press you must lie on your back. The barbell should be grabbed at shoulder width. The bar should be lowered to the middle of the chest for a full extension. Shoulder blades should be pulled together to ensure prevention of injury. The elbows must be slightly tucked in directed at the torso at a 45 degree angle.
When the bar is grasped sometimes it can be done a bit wider than shoulder length. When starting the idea is to start with the lowest weight. Overtime, when a certain amount can be bench pressed, graduate to a higher weight. Never start off with the highest weight. This would cause injury. As a safety precaution have a spotter with you.Another method for marking strength progress is to do a standing barbell press. This should be done with 60% of the woman’s body weight. This exercise targets the triceps, core muscles, and front shoulders. Live Strong advises that the bar be grasped shoulder width. The bar should start in the area of the upper chest. The lower back should not be utilized. The bar should be lifted overhead and slightly back.
Live Strong also was able to get some information from Holly Mitchell an IFBB professional figure competitor. Her technique revolves around five repetition maximums weekly. The stage in the process is to lower the weight, then do four to five sets of eight to twelve reps.
Push-ups and Chin-ups
Push-up are a reliable method of increasing strength in your chest, front shoulders, triceps and core muscles. The recommendation for women is ten push-ups. This seems rather low. The assumption is that women would lack the upper body strength to do more, but that is not always true. Livestrong has the benchmark for men set at 50 push ups. Another problem with assumptions is that it assumed that men are physically tougher and can handle more in terms of exercise.
There have been times when taunts of “girl push-ups” have been used, but this has no basis in exercise science. Women could possibly do more than 50, if that is their goal. Setting benchmarks too low may give women a false projection of the rate of progress. A good method is to see how many you can do prior to training. From that point increase your amount gradually and keep a journal of progress. The chin-up benchmark is also ridiculously low. One is the number set for women. The male standard is set at 15. Once more these assumptions are underestimating women’s potential. While the upper body is women’s weakest area doing more chin-ups would increase strength.
The start off point should be at least three total chin-ups. If a woman cannot do at least three, then there is more work to be done. What chin-ups do is allow for assessment of upper body strength endurance as well as strength relative to body weight.
Barbell Squats and Deadlifting
The barbell squat has been a quintessential gym exercise. This exercise should be done with the most caution for the sake of health and safety. The barbell should be placed across the upper back. The shoulder blades should be close together, so that there is a stable base for the range of motion. The hips of the body should be pushed back, while gradually descending to a level below the parallel. The recommendation is that women should barbell squat 125 % of their body weight.
Deadlifting it is suggested by Livestrong the target should be 150% of your total body weight. What that means is 85% of the specific number for five reps. These exercises may not be the easiest for women. They involve using the arms and thorax, which are smaller in women. The muscles on the female body are not any different in terms of cellular function. This means they will respond to exercise stimuli.
Performing the deadlift requires a few steps. First, the loaded bar should be aligned to the middle of your feet. bend over grasp the weight and pull your hips down. Brace your core to execute the lift and manipulate your lattissimus dorsi.
Barbell Hip Thrusts and Hold a Plank
The strength benchmark here suggests that women do ten. This is also the same as the men’s benchmark. The reason maybe is that women are closer to men in strength in the lower body. A common myth is that women have stronger legs than men. The truth is that women are not stronger than men in that area, but there is less of a disparity relative to upper body strength.
The barbell hip thrusts requires that a loaded barbell be placed on the legs. It must sit on the front of the hips. The knees must be bent and your back elevated on a bench. The bar should be held just outside the hips and then thrust still you make it parallel with the floor. The gluteus maximus should be squeezed and the back should not be hyper-extended. Be mindful of your knees to prevent injuries. Holding a plank for two minutes is another exercise and probably the most simple . Livestrong does not change this target for women. It is also two minutes for the male benchmark.
To do a plank it is recommended that you place yourself in a push-up position. Do not place your weight on your hands. Your back should not sag while attempting this exercise. Keep yourself in a straight line and the weight should be balanced on your elbows.
This may seem out of place as an exercise, but it is a critical one. Strength is the ability to produce force. While other exercises produce strength, power also has an important role in functional fitness. Power refers to the moment in which strength is expressed in an explosive manner. A box jump can be a way of knowing how much power can be generated from the body. Livestrong states that women should try a 20 inch box jump as a strength benchmark.
This is the only exercise that does not appear in the male benchmarks for strength. One of the reasons could be is that women have fewer type II muscle fibers which contain explosive power. Building this muscle fiber type will help with strength and managing power effectively.
It is known now that women are physiologically and biologically capable of building strength. Women have avoided strength training exercise for fear that they will become massive. The colloquial term getting “bulky” is often used. Bulky does not have a basis in exercise science. Women can build muscle mass depending on somatotype, genetics, age, and nutrition. Normally, this fear is directed at the physiques of female bodybuilders. These women have trained specifically for muscular hypertrophy, not strength. They look bigger than they actually are and such a vascular appearance is only maintained for a contest. Their total weight during competition is less than that of the average male. the women who are called “big” are not that large in comparison.
There seems to remain a stigma about muscles, women, and exercise. Critics say that such physical activity is terrible for women’s health. The actual science states otherwise. Strength training builds strong bones and may also prevent muscle loss later in life. Strength training is also a method that can used in the prevention of osteoporosis. There also is a level of subtle gender bias in Livestrong ‘s recommendations. The writings assumes that women just want a general exercise program for aesthetics only. When reading the benchmarks for men it is just assumed they can do reach these goals easily, while women are given low expectations in certain benchmarks. One chin-up compared to men’s fifteen seems like a low expectation. The other differences in training volume make more sense. The deadlift and bench press benchmarks are factoring the physical size difference between the average man and woman. Men have broader shoulders and more upper body strength, which is why the volume is suggested to be higher. Thus, women’s potential depends on multiple factors. The training regimen, nutrition, methods used, consistency with a set program, and the number of years doing such activities will determine how strong a woman can get. The benchmarks are a general way of tracking progress of a series of months or years.
Women have advanced in the sports world, but the study of the female athlete has not. The majority of sports science investigation focuses on male athletes. The problem with this it represents a gender bias, not only present in sports but the sciences as well . This report from Science News. org published in 2016 reveals fascinating information about the lack of data and what still is not known about women’s physical capabilities. There have been many obstacles that have been hindering women’s sports performance. No training facilities or platform to compete stopped many women’s athletic endeavors. Roberta Gibb was in 1966 the first woman to unofficially complete the Boston Marathon. Women had been prohibited from competing in such athletic events. Women were allowed to compete in 1971. Title IX opened the doors to many women who went on to be top performing athletes. The Boston Marathon saw 13, 751 women participate reaching the finishing line in 2016. This increase in number shows women’s growing interest and the need to understand how biology, physiology, and anatomy effect their performance. Training programs must be tailored specifically to female related sex differences. Sports science must adjust to the rapid change and diversity in its field.
There has been a major shift as the report notes in which women have entered sports in larger numbers. Over the last fifty years women have been competing in rugby, tennis, weightlifting and basketball. Women are playing soccer and wrestling. This is not just in the United States, but most countries are sending women competitors to the Olympics. This trend may continue as long as cultural and social barriers are removed for women. Sports and exercise were seen as improper for women to do. Women did not have their own sports teams and limited access to sponsors. Women when they did play sports were forced to not play in too much of a competitive manner and rules were adjusted to fit into common held beliefs about gender roles. Non-competitive physical activity was the emphasis in the physical education of women and girls.
Science News also makes note of another interesting phenomenon. The non-competitive casual exerciser. It was once thought that only men enjoyed physical activity. The average woman is not going for the sake of weight loss. Women are actively lifting weights, running, or doing you with no intent of becoming a professional athlete. The benefits of physical fitness can be seen in both sexes, yet it still a mystery how the female body is effected.This means women may be using training programs that are not efficient enough for their biology and physiology. There is no clear answer on whether women should train the same as men or have a different method to reach fitness or sports performance goals. Just like other sciences, sports science has a bias against women. Bruce Gladden states that most studies in sports science from the material he saw from the 1950s used a 150 lbs man for experiments. These studies mostly used medical students or people that were conveniently close by in a university setting. Gladden who is the editor in chief of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise stated this may be part of the reason data is so limited. As women’s sports participation and physical activity level increased, the studies did not catch up with the change.
Joe Costello an exercise physiologist at the University of Portsmouth became interested in the disparity of studies when examining the effects of extreme cold exposure on training recovery on athletes. He then realized there were few women in the study and then wondered if this was wide spread in other experiments. The case of using few women in an experiment related to extreme cold seems odd. If one knows that women have higher percentage of fat relative to body composition, it would mean they may be able to handle cold better. Muscle is not a good insulator for heat.
Costello embarked upon an ambitious project of looking at the data from prominent sports medicine and sports science publications. The field of sports science has publications that are the most influential and respected. These publications include Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, British Journal of Sports Medicine, and American Journal of Sports Medicine. The project involved Costello and his team examining sports science articles between the periods of 2011 and 2013. A total of 1,382 articles were studied, which contained six million participants in all their data sets. What was revealed in the conclusion according to The European Journal of Sports Medicine proved the women’s numbers were lower. Women were only 36% represented in articles, while in all the 1,382 articles were at 39% total participation. This was reported in 2014 in The European Journal of Sports Medicine. Costello is correct when he says there may not be enough data. Although thousands of articles is a large sample, the time frame of accumulation was only three years. Long time frames would allow for seeing sudden transformations in statistical patterns. Gathering data over a ten year time frame would provide a more precise picture. Costello notes “the numbers are relatively close to the gender breakdowns in competitive sport, he notes, but participation in noncompetitive exercise and casual running is a lot closer to a 50:50 breakdown, and the studies don’t reflect that.” There is an obvious gap between men and women in competitive sport or general physical activity. Taking a closer look at the data, there are some explanations that can extrapolated.
Women do get representation, although diminutive in sports science studies. The biggest issue is that women are unrepresented in studies on athletic performance. Funding agencies require there should be sex parity, yet this is a slow change. Limited studies may not only be hurting women’s full potential, it could put them at risk for injury.
Joe Costello’s studies ranged from topics such as injury, performance, metabolism, obesity, diet, and disease. The studies amounted to 188 total with participants numbered at 254, 813. Overall women constituted only 42% of the total participants. At least 73 % of the studies ( 138 studies) involved some women. The men only studies were at 27%, only 4% had women only. There are reason why some studies would remain male only. Examinations which involve prostate cancer would not involve women, because they do not have that organ. Science News when deciphering the data reveals that some data would have to be removed based on particular circumstances. Bethany Booshire writes ” I excluded single case studies, animal studies, cell studies, studies involving cadavers and studies that dealt with coaches’ or doctors’ evaluations.” This seems rational, because the cells of men and women are similar in the muscular and respiratory system. Studies conducted on mice or other animals may not be as reliable. Examining cadavers is not the same as a living active human body. Doctor’s and coaches evaluations would just add complications due to the fact everyone’s health condition varies.
There would also have to be an omission of studies that did not mention sex at all. This would not be helpful in seeing the gender gap in sports science. The problem studies that do not identify the sex of participants it only shows that there needs to be an understanding that men and women are different. Sexual dimorphism does have an impact on athletic performance. Another challenge is that there may not be enough female athletes to meet a particular data set. A gap remains in the level of sports interest. The sociological aspect is obvious, with sports to some still seen as a male only activity. Yet, there may be a biological root for the difference in interest. Sports activities among men may have been developed as a way of building trust and group collaboration among early hominids. If males were the ones doing hunting, this would be a pivotal necessity. However, this is only speculative and based on fossil records from humanity’s evolutionary past . Sex differences do have a social and biological component that can be seen in the data.
Women had more representation in the social studies of sport. That statistic stood at 100% representation. Women may be more social and more willing to get involved in group activity compared to males. Charolette Jellyman an exercise physiologist with the University of Leicester expressed “women are more likely to take part in [or] be recruited to group training programs than men,” The social study element of sports revolves around self-cognition, the influence of group exercise, and the behavior of people related to new technology such as fitness trackers. From this sample of women, it may be that women’s motivations to exercise may be different from men’s. An exercise group may not entirely be about being part of a class, rather just meeting friends. Exercising may just be for weight loss, which is more so directed at women in the fitness industry. Women are not encouraged to increase their fitness level or just exercise to maintain health. There has been progress in getting women physically active, but it is a moderate success. A majority of people in the developed world are just not active enough living sedentary life styles. This could lead to chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, and some have theorized certain forms of cancer. Seeing as women live longer, this is more important to their health through out their lifetime.
Women could avoid having a disproportionate amount of injuries is sports with proper studies and knowledge. Men still represented the majority of subjects, even when women are more likely to suffer from ACL injury. Women athletes are given little attention in sports injury and athletic performance studies. There may be an attitude that studying male athletes is more important. Sports performance is concerned about increasing physical fitness capacity. The reasoning being is that if men are faster and stronger than women, they would automatically make the best athletes and test subjects. This is flawed reasoning based on the fact performances can vary among a group of men and women. The bias is apparent with this notion : ” scientists may be trying to get at the secrets of the best athletes, but to do so, they are mostly looking in men. ” Women’s sports performance as a whole has remained stable since 1983. The reason some female athletes may struggle to improve is that they do not have correct information to form an adequate training program.
The female body has different biological and physiological functions that require more investigation to see how they relate to sports science. The menstrual cycle may effect physical performance or exercise; how this happens it is not entirely clear. A sports scientists may have to choose between studying women during the luteal phase or the follicular phase. Although scientists note the sex differences do not have an impact on certain physical fitness indicators. However, applying the same studies done on men would not work on women. The concern to some sports scientists is that hormone changes will effect data points allowing for too much variation . The variation in data may not even be that large. Just waiting 28 days later would be a solution Marie Murphy an exercise scientist explained to Science News. There remains a long historical bias which has been dictated by 19th century medicine. This was known as the frailty myth.
It was once thought that women were not biologically or physiologically capable of gaining strength. This has been prove wrong with exercise physiology. Women can see just as much benefits from a consistent weight training program.
The female body was too weak for vigorous physical activity. Doing such activity would either damage women’s reproductive systems or overall physical health. Although this is ludicrous in the eyes of a 21st century public, it was a common held conviction by both scientist and layman alike. There is obvious more to learn about the female body. This cannot be completely be blamed on male bias. Women may not be willing to participate and the few that do are not a large enough sample. Very few women would want to provide sample tissues biopsies. Then there is another issue the article does not really address. Women’s lack of interest in the sciences contributes to disparity. While there are female sports scientists, their number are not balanced with men in the field. Just like mathematics, physics, astronomy, engineering, and technology women need to get more involved in various fields of science.
The challenge of funding and the power of editors in various peer reviewed journals should be a concern to every science field. Having only a select few control the direction of scientific investigation may hinder advancement. When a new theory or idea is proposed it may be shut down before the widely established mode of scientific thought. The point of science is to question and discover new information. Women’s entry and advancement into professional sports provides many opportunities for applied science. Supplements, exercise programs, and fitness equipment could be marketed to female athletes or the casual fitness enthusiast. It is time that exercise science become more of an applied science like engineering and technology. The system of peer review must rigorously question their conclusions and be willing to explore under studied. Editors of such journals should be more ambitious in their research and publication. Alternative sources of funding must be maintained to produce multiple studies on a multitude of subjects including women. Instead of waiting for men in the field to make changes, women sports scientists must take the lead. Once this disparity is rectified, only then will women have the best training regimens for elite performance.
The average woman is not as strong as the average man. That is fact, even though some women who very competitive athletes or advocates of sameness feminism hate to hear this. The writer with a sardonic tone in voice responds “well now is it” in response to an obvious biological difference. Before making accusations of sexism or scientific bias, it should be realized that women’s athletic potential is greater than previously thought. Training and technique make the difference. Women are late comers to the game of pumping iron, but since have made remarkable progress. The writer of the article shares a personal story. When she was younger she competed with the boys on a physical with little problem . At this stage in the human life cycle boys and girls have the same physical fitness capacity. For the competitive young female athlete and fun loving tomboy beating the boys is seen as a badge of honor. She felt like a superhero as she described it. Then comes something every young sporty girl has to deal with. Growth spurts and puberty dramatically change the body of boys, which does not happen in girls. the writer describes it as follows : ” I went into it naive and quickly realized how little and weak I was compared in size to them.” She may call weight class frustrating, but it is a way in which fair competition among individuals of various sizes can compete in sports. Young girls may get demoralized that boys get bigger and stronger, yet they should not. Some young girls drop out of sport completely due to the breast and body changes they go through. Women should not be discouraged when embarking on improving physical fitness indicators. One of the biggest falsehoods is that women think they cannot gain strength no matter what they do. Women can get strong. However, women should not delude themselves into thinking that could match the most physically fit males. There are particular considerations that should be taken into account when studying women in relation to exercise physiology.
Size is a major factor in competition. Basic physics tells us that force equal mass times acceleration. This means that a larger person if they were charging into a smaller person would generate more total force. The example of the 220 pound man versus a 135 pound woman indicates the difference in size and power. Multiplying 99 kg at an acceleration of 5 meters per second would equal 495 newtons of force. The 61 kg woman’s force generation would be 305 newtons. Applied to a 61 kg male the value would be the same in terms of force generation. Sex does not have bearing on force generation when examined from a perspective of kinematics. The author Leigh Peele does not have a background in science or exercise physiology, but is knowledgeable enough to give the average reader a basic understanding of how women’s bodies are effected by exercise.
Margie Martin weighs 70 kg (154 lbs) compared to the thin man she is standing next to she could (assuming he weighs the same or less) generate more body force. This means if Margie were to run directly into this man in a tackle move it would be apparent who would be knocked over. Julia Vins weighs 65 kg ( 145 lbs). Compared to the man who has a similar amount of training she would not be able to generate the same amount of force. What can be determined from this is that Margie Martin and Julia Vins would be stronger than average and unfit men. Gwendoline Christie is one of those rare examples in which women could overlap with some men.
Professional fighters as the article explains take weight and size into account when competing. Somatotype, body composition, skill, and training are essential factors. Genetics do provide an edge. Size would only hinder a person’s success, if they did not have weight classes in sports. The largest people would dominate, excluded smaller people. Sometimes technique and skill could be a substitute in compensation to size difference. The reason Katie Ledecky ‘s time matched Micheal Phelp’s prelim time o the 400 meter free style was because she may have been using a more biomechanically efficient swimming technique. Doing this may have allowed her to swim faster and use less energy. Her physical fitness capacity is lower than Phelp’s being 40 pounds lighter and four inches smaller. Height and weight do not account for every factor in sports performance.
There are sex differences, which do have an impact on strength gain. One pivotal part that aspect that the text does not mention is endocrine function. This has biggest impact on physical strength once the body has fully matured into adulthood. The testis and ovaries produce different hormones which effect male and female bodies differently . Natural strength is the force that can be generated by the body prior to embarking on a fitness or exercise regimen. The average weight of the American male is 195 lbs ( 88 kg) and 168 lbs (76 kg) for women. These averages are not an indication of health and fitness. BMI may not be the best way to determine healthy body weight. This just demonstrates men can carry more mass on their bodies due to their frame. Men are taller than women and by extension have a bigger skeletal frame. Greater bone density contributes to strength. Broader shoulders allow more muscle to maintained on the upper body. There are more androgen receptors present in the upper body of the male. Testosterone aids in muscular hypertrophy and explains the male strength spurt during the Tanner stages of puberty. There is natural variation among stages with girls and boys growing at different rates. prior to the changes that come with puberty boys do not have a strength advantage.
When the average man and woman are done growing their body composition and strength levels are different. Estimates vary in relation to somatotype, but women have close to 30% muscle mass compared to the male 40%. Women have on average less musculoskeletal mass compared to males. Muscular hypertrophy functions is a similar fashion with women’s bodies as long as progressive overload is utilized. What this means in relation to the endocrine system and size is that women have to train harder to reach a certain fitness level. Males have more muscle to start off with, seeing as women have lower amounts at starting point their progress seems more produce a very rewarding result.
Comparisons and sample sizes do matter. The problem with gathering data from elite athletes is complicated by several factors. The first is women’s lower participation and involvement. Although more women are competing in sports, it may not be enough to make a precise assessment of the athletic capability among the sexes. Women are not studied enough in sports science to allow for women to improve their performance to the highest degree. It will have to be quite some time to produce fully precise calculations of data in terms of sports performance. Women’s full potential may not have been reached yet. The sake of comparisons it would not be a fair assessment to compare The strongest man to the smallest woman or the strongest woman to the smallest man.There are obviously exceptions. However, the cases of overlap would only constitute a minor portion of the male and female athletic performance. Such comparisons would be better represented in Gaussian distribution. Comparison is not a wasted exercise as Peele proclaims. Trying to prove which sex is better at sports is. While we have men and women who have set a string of records, they are part of an elite few. This does not negate the talent of other athletes who have not made or broken records. Team sports are about collaboration and how well a group does a play. Comparing in weigh classes would not mean women would be equal in performance. Women would have to have more muscle mass weight to fit into a particular category.
The smallest males in a powelifting class sample show men at 59 kg ( 130 lbs) and 56 kg (123 lbs ). The smallest females weigh 47 kg (104 lbs) and 44 kg ( 97 lbs). There still remains a weight difference even in these smallest weight classes. Peele’s weight class theory does not seem cogent unless the women could build enough muscle to reach the same weight there by being able to compete in that class. Leiigh Peele explains ” society doesn’t assume women can be strong, and even if some people believe in women’s physical strength, it’s always to a judgmental “lesser degree” than their male counterparts.” There is a difference in total muscle mass gains and the aggregate of weight lifted, yet these margins seem smaller than expected sexual dimorphism. ” It’s culturally assumed that women are weaker and that if we can get strong, it’s pitiful compared to men.” women can get stronger than a man, yet never reach the physical fitness capacity of a male who trains just the same. Before men act complacent about physicality, their are other factors to consider.
Muscles are seen as the marker of strength. Just having big ones does not make a person strong. Training for strength or muscular hypertrophy are two different objectives. Women are obviously capable of muscular growth. Peele cites a study that took six men and six women and put them on a weight training regimen. They trained their elbow flexors for three day a week. The total time of the experiment lasted for twenty weeks. The result was that women made the greater relative increases in strength. This may indirectly indicate that women’s muscles may have a better response to weight training than previously believed. Stated in the abstract “With results collapsed across the two training modes, the women made significantly (p < 0.05) greater relative increases than men in strength measured on the weight (116 vs. 46%) and accommodating (99 vs. 46%) resistance devices, and greater absolute (3.5 vs. -1.3 N.m) and relative (13.7 vs. -3.2%) increases in strength measured on an isokinetic dynamometer.” the study continued with revealing : “absolute (cm2) and relative (%) biceps, brachialis, and total elbow flexor cross-sectional area (from CT scans) increased significantly; however, the women’s vs. men’s respective relative and absolute increases did not differ significantly: biceps (13 vs. 7%, 0.9 vs. 1.0 cm2), brachialis (53 vs. 31%, 2.1 vs. 2.3 cm2), and total (26 vs. 15%, 3.1 vs. 3.3 cm2) flexor area. ” Women are not weak as many had assumed. One would wonder how could this be. Genetic variation among the sexes. It is a bigger factor than Peele give it credit for.
The Journal of Sports Science revealed in 2011 polygentic profile has an influence on skeletal muscle function. Environmental factors are still an influence phyenotype. There is a mystery to how various polymorphisms contribute to muscular strength. So far, only 22 genetic polymorphisms were identified related to skeletal muscle function. Looking at the genotype frequencies, the probability of a person having an optimal polygentic profile was estimated at 0.0003 % of the global population. More research must be done to fully comprehend these polygentic profile in relation to muscular strength . There have been genes that are related to strength detected and there could be possibly more. This may be a reason why some individuals demonstrate athletic talent at an early age. Genetics can influence many attributes like eye color, height, and somatotype. Men and women vary in body type. A mesomorphic woman would most likely be stronger than the endomorphic or ectomorphic males. As for the muscle fiber, type II has the most power, while type I is more endurance. Genetics can also be a factor in how much an person has in their body. On average, men have more type II muscle fibers compared to women. Women who train seriously with weights notice they have more muscular endurance and better recovery.
There is no difference in the cellular structure of male and female muscle. What this relates to is a difference in quantity, not muscle quality. Women can build muscle, just not to the same extent of the largest male. The combination of slow and fast twitch fiber in a person’s body can effect power and fatigue out put.
Based on what is known there can be a basic scale made in relation to physical strength. There would have to be stable factors. That would mean a man and a woman would have to be doing the same exercise regimen. The tendency for women to either stick to low levels of exercise or limited intensity can dramatically effect the outcome of results. Leigh Peele describes this attitude in this manner : “generally, it is assumed that the point of lifting for women isn’t to get strong at all, but rather to stay pretty.” A sociological and cultural barrier related to body image may be holding women back. Thankfully, some are rejecting this completely and embracing the image of muscular strength. They are developing themselves to the maximum and have a new sense of competitiveness and confidence. Yet, there is a belief that in some women that they can beat any man, particularly at the highest physical level. Some are even questioning why sports are separated by sex. While women can do everything a man can do, direct competition in pure brute strength and speed may be out of reach.
When an athlete trains they will notice improvement. These improvements will be gradual and may take years. During this period an athlete will reach a physical fitness peak. At such a period, an athlete can no longer raise their physical fitness capacity. The next step is to improve skills acquired over a period of time and maintain a high fitness level. Peele expresses her personal sentiment as “let’s look at the science using some common sense rather than the lazy generalizations we’ve accepted as fact for too long.” Men are stronger than women is not a generalization, however that does not mean women are frail weaklings by default. As she eloquently points out, if you train then you are ahead of the rest of the population. However, “women can go longer,and be faster bigger, and stronger” would not be the case among the most physically fit men. The general strength scale would place them in an higher range above the weakest to average men . The power scaling can be organized as follows : average woman, average man, strong woman, and strong man.
Saying biological facts or acknowledging them is not saying a sex is better or worse at sport or fitness. They are simply differences. Having more information allows improved training programs. There is a debate on whether women should train like men. So far, from what is know lifting heavy can be a good exercise regimen for women. Coaching and principles of sports psychology make a difference in athletic performance. Encouragement, guidance, and advice can help an athlete through their competitive career. Women do face a negative environment in the sports and fitness world described by Peele: ” in a gym setting, the average Joe lifter might be told he should be able to at least load 225 pounds on a bar, while the average Jane lifter is overwhelmingly advised to just stick with the bar, regardless of each one’s height and weight. ” It would be ludicrous to underestimate a person’s potential based on their sex. After all these years it seems that gradually people can see that strength is well within female physical capability. To some female athletes it may seem frustrating that men can obtain a higher fitness level easier and have higher records. There should be no reason for this frustration, because relative to physical size women are performing well. Considering that women are relative newcomers to professional sport and have overcome much discrimination, this is even more impressive. One can formulate answer of women’s physical capabilities. Their strength can surpass or equal average men. There are those rare exceptions that could be their male counterpart. Size, height, weight, genetics, endocrine function, somatotype, body composition, and muscle fiber contribute to physical strength. How strong can a woman get ? Simply put very strong and stronger than some men.
This will be another place were you can see pictures collected from the past and present. Just another archive of women with muscle and sports women. The recent Tumblr policy made me reevaluate alternatives in relation to particular photos. The purpose of branching off to other social media platforms is not only to get increased numbers to the site rather to give female muscle and sports women more exposure. I also want to document probably one of the most ignored revolutions happening with women all around the world. Enjoy these other photos in my collection.