Who’s stronger, man or woman?

Due to biological factors in regards to endocrinology and sexual dimorphism on average men are physically stronger. This does not mean all men are stronger than all women. It depends on who you are comparing in a group sample. Then one should ask what type of strength is being compared. Physical strength is the maximum power that can be generated from the muscles. Durational  strength is how long one can last in terms of total life span. Men clearly have an advantage in terms of physical strength. Women still surpass men in duration outliving men across the globe. The Texas Heart Institute conducted as study that produced fascinating results. Women’s stem cells and even their hearts could be more durable in the long run. Women seem to contain in their bodies more stem cells than males. This discovery could contribute to the battle against heart disease, kidney disease, and even diabetes. This is good news for men, because they tend to die earlier from heart disease. By using women’s stem cells this could be changed.

       The assumption that men are the “stronger sex”  does not seem to represent reality. Men are taller and have more muscle mass, but when we compare different groups of men and women the picture is more complex. If we compare a man with a female athlete, it is possible that she would be stronger. If a man and a woman were given the same exercise regimen it is more likely that the male would be stronger.

4b32c3c713e4e63ddd5162c3daa62cccslimbutbuff

Summer-Famous-Fitness-Golds-Gym-font-b-Men-b-font-font-b-Workout-b-font-fontl (6)

My conjecture would be these women would be stronger because of their training.

Testosterone gives men potential to be stronger. This does not always guarantee high levels of physical performance. Sometimes gender stereotypes influence behavior. The assumption that men are “the tough ones” could be detrimental to health. Going off this assumption would mean they require less medical care. Work through the pain and discomfort is the old motto. This could be another reason why men have limited durational strength. Another sociological factor could be that men are more willing to take dangerous risks. Strength levels do vary by age. Before puberty there is no significant difference in body mass composition. When boys mature muscle mass and the size of the skeleton increase. Women do not see this surge in physical strength. This can be reversed through exercise. Man’s low life expectancy can be reversed through healthy habits. Biology is not always destiny. A simple answer is that men have more potential to be strong, but it depends on the men and women you are comparing.

Who’s stronger, man or woman?

Self-Defense

download (3)

Self-defense is are a combination of techniques designed to shield an individual from harm by an assailant. These are critical skills in a dangerous world. There are various methods of self-defense than can be utilized. For women this is very pivotal, considering the possibilities of gender based violence. Children the most vulnerable group in society also have self-defense programs directed at their age group. Women experience more sexual violence and having knowledge of self-defense skills can be life saving. Domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment, and dating abuse are too common in women’s lives. This must change. Certain notions persist that enable these crimes. The notion that “men are the protectors of women” distorts a vicious reality. A woman is more likely to be harmed by a man. Women are not doing themselves favors by holding on to the idea “I want to be with a man that makes me feel safe.” One’s significant other could end up being abusive. Women must discard that belief that they need a man for protection, because a man could eventually become her attacker. Protecting ones self is possible with the proper training and knowledge.

      The first step to self-defense for women in particular, is to have a paradigm shift. For a long time society has presented women with the idea that they are weak, incapable, and helpless. This paradigm has to be discarded, because a knight in shining armor will not be there to assist you. While it is true men are stronger, big muscles are not a requirement to defend one’s self from a larger attacker. Martial arts are designed to counter particular attacks. Most importantly what needs to be changed is the idea that being female means automatic victim.

images (3)

Relining on others for assistance seems short sighted in a world of danger. Attackers look for targets that will not resist. It has been said to women that resisting makes a situation worse. That detractors claim will only exacerbate the attacker. This is false, because the more resistance presented acts a a deterrent. The damsel in distress image has to be removed, so that women can adequately defend themselves.

        Knowing simple techniques are critical. Learning to throw a punch requires little skill. Anyone can do this by making a fist. The true power does not come all from the upper body, but the hips as well. Men would have more punching power, because of larger upper bodies .Women are closer to men in the lower body, so in this sense efforts to resist are not futile.

A explanation by Kortney Olson.

Having knowledge of sensitive areas of the body is useful. The eyes, neck, chest, and groin are areas in which damage can debilitate an assailant. Any harm to joints can cause extreme consternation. Besides hitting weak target points. Avoidance and awareness are great preventative measures. Having knowledge of your surroundings will allow a person to accurately assess potential threats. Avoidance can be helpful, but we are not always in control of our environments. People try to avoid perilous situations, but eventually something could happen. If it does it is best to be prepared.

You don’t need to be a martial arts master to do this.

Some are   erroneously convinced that you need to have advanced martial arts skills to defend yourself. Not entirely true, because there are other methods that could be used to disable or escape an attacker. Understanding particular scenarios can help formulate methods of defense. The goal is not to pulverize your attacker, but to secure safety for yourself.

This is an easy way to escape a choke hold.   

While these methods a simple, martial arts are more effective. Most self-defense courses teach various forms of martial arts.

        Common Martial Arts Used in Self-Defense 

  • Kick Boxing
  • Karate
  • Aikido
  • Judo
  • Jui Jistu

These are but a few martial arts that are used for self-defense. Judo uses the body weight against an attacker. By utilizing gravity and motion a person can be easily subdued. Learning these fighting styles takes time, discipline, and concentration. Here disparities in strength can be compensated with skill.

Andrulla Blanchette demonstrates judo 

Large muscles will not be of much use without skill. Being body kinetic and retaining a sense of muscle memory. When a person repeats a skilled movement, there will be a point in which they will not have to think about it. The skilled movement almost becomes involuntary.

Andrulla has no problem doing these moves because she learned them thoroughly. 

Another aspect that must be considered is developing confidence in executing newly learned techniques. It is simple to perform these moves on dummies, but on a living person it is more of a challenge. Panic can cause a person to make a mistake in a emergency. The mental aspect is to remain calm in such events. This way the defense techniques can be applied. Hesitating and becoming nervous leaves one vulnerable. Have confidence in what you learned and practice it. Every woman must learn self-defense, because no knight in shining armor will save you. The prevalence of sexual violence is evidence that self-defense is necessary.

Self-Defense

Women’s muscle strength reacts better to weight training than men’s does

http://www.ergo-log.com/womensmusclestrength.html

A study from the University of Alberta produced some unexpected results. While it is true that men are on average stronger, women’s  muscular strength increases and reacts better to training. The idea was that men would gain more strength as recognized by the data. Women showed a dramatic increase. Robert Kell conducted an experiment for twelve weeks with 20 men and 20 women. They performed numerous exercises like bench press, squats, lat-pull downs, neck press, calf raises, crunches, and many others. The subjects did have experience with weight training prior to the experiment. Subjects would train just four times a week.

      The results should not be that shocking. When representing the results in percentages women showed a 38% increase in strength as compared to men’s 28%. Women’s muscles function the same way men’s muscles do. Hormones do effect the amount of muscular hypertrophy women can achieve. Robert Kell is guilty of having a confirmation bias assuming that men would automatically see larger increases.

e0455bd983b77691197eb04816a8e519236715100

Sports Science only in the past several decades has began to focus on women’s athletic performance. 

The assumption is the female body is automatically weaker. Robert Kell seems skeptical about his own data.  The article states : “Robert Kell does not conclude that women react better to strength training than men do, but that is a possible interpretation of his results. Other studies have shown that it becomes increasingly difficult for people to increase their strength, the better trained they already are.” This statement seems flawed. The more one trains the more strength and skill will be acquired. The reason added increases will not be seen is because an individual has probably reach their natural physical limit. Myostatin will regulate the growth of muscle and depending on an individual’s amount it determines  much about possible athletic potential. The following claims seem to contradict the previous statements “The larger strength increase in the female group was likely a result of lower initial strength levels and less previous free weight training experience.” While it is true that women’s body composition is mostly fat, that does not limit them. There is more that factors into strength than just high testosterone levels. The hormonal differences just give men the potential to be stronger.

malefemalestrength

Being female does not limit your potential for strength. 

With any experiment one should be questioning the results. The subjects used had experience with training, but it may have been better to use men and women with none at all. One should also question the women subjects. Did they have an athletic past? If so, this could effect the data. Comparing a woman with a long term background in athletic activity with an average man may demonstrate why the percentage increase is large. The article did say that they did have experience, but did not say how long. The amount of training is significant to an experiment like this.

231957506vanstoneaftershot-19042012

An athletic woman like her could skew the study when compared to an average man. She already has more experience and potential to  add more strength. 

These are but a few factors to consider. Trying this experiment with elite athletes may produce different results. Depending on what stage they are in their careers, at some point athletes will reach their physical peak. This would probably yield the results that Robert Kell was looking for. The men would all show higher levels of strength in terms of aggregates.

       The last section of the article seems the most revealing about certain biases. The texts proclaims ”  But even this cautious conclusion surprises Kell. Because men make more testosterone than women, Kell had expected men to make more progression.” A real scientist never assumes first, but observes, experiments, makes hypotheses, collects data, and attempts objectively to make conclusions from the information. The subtle message that can be taken from the text is that testosterone makes men “superior.” A ludicrous assumption, but  prevalent myth in sports science circles. A more bizarre claim illustrates the point : ”  Japanese researchers published a study in March 2010 which may explain the unexpected outcome. The Japanese discovered in an animal study that training causes women’s muscles to start producing their own male hormones.” One thing we should remember is that women do produce low levels of testosterone. Calling it a male only hormone is not completely accurate, its just that men produce more. Simply being male does not make you a better athlete. Training, genetics, and elements of psychology are important factors.

Women’s muscle strength reacts better to weight training than men’s does

The Sports Bra

The sports bra is a pivotal piece of exercise attire. It is designed to provide support for the breast during physical activity. The reason this clothing is important is it allows women to perform certain physical task with maximum comfort. The sports bra protects particular chest ligaments. The creation of the sports bra was liberating, because it allowed women to engage in physical activity without pain to a particular part of the chest. Women who played sports had to wear the clothing designed for a male body. Other women began designing clothing best suited for the female form.

35b4760e451d11dfbc75ee9fbc0c6cb765de6497f45cb2a75170a67f9c173619

3d5a3ff2e8ac9b85c5569952b8f5f6185-2

One of the first sports bras appeared around 1975. It was known as the free swing tennis bra and was produced by Glamorise Foundations Incorporated. Another version appeared in 1977. This jock bra as it was called had been developed by Lisa Lindahl. Hinda Miller made further adjustments to the prototypical clothing. The reason it was called the jock bra was because Miller sewed jock straps together to form  a firmer bra. This ignited a 30 million dollar industry Eventually the jock bra would be renamed the jog bra. Around 1990 Playtex purchased the jog bra brand. Gradually, this became a popular piece of clothing among women athletes and physically active women. Women who have larger breasts would no longer have to be concerned about discomfort. Women with smaller size breasts still can feel discomfort as well. Breasts are mostly fat tissue and can vary in weight.

The appearance of the sports bra can look like a tank top. Compressed bras are designed to reduce as much movement while keeping the breasts closer to the chest. Another design is known as encapsulation. Cups within the bra surround the breasts as a way to reduce the movement. Having this understanding of kinematics allow designers to make bra best suited for a woman’s body. Many women still report some level  of pain in this area of the body, even with a sports bra. This proves that some bras are constructed better than others.

images

A sports bra can look like a common tank top.

There are different levels of control that sports bras offer. This is dependent on the level of intensity of physical activity.

      There are physical activities that the sports bra is most useful. Jogging is the first activity that would cause movement of the breasts. This would be an activity that requires firm control. Moderate control would be necessary for biking, hiking, and power walking. Moderate control. Maximum control is required for activities such as rigorous workouts, boxing, and horseback riding. Yoga and walking require the least amount of control during physical activity. The idea is to have the maximum amount of comfort and reduce the potential for injury. Injury is a major threat to any athlete. Doing constant physical feats almost makes it unavoidable. However, this risk is reduced by this clothing. Just like the jock strap and athletic cup is critical for men the sports bra is just as pivotal for women.

      Although the application of the sports bra is for practical reasons, it has become a fashion statement. It is a common part of workout attire for athlete and non-athlete. This is mainly because particular clothing companies took notice of women’s expanding participation in fitness and sports. Nike for example has been producing various exercise clothing lines for women. A new market has made the production of sports bras a million dollar industry. Women’s participation in athletic activities contributed to a particular industry. It is amazing to think that a piece of clothing could have such an impact.

Further Reading

Mary, Sue. Winning Ways: A History of American Women in Sport. New York : Henry Holt

      and Company, 1996.

“Sports bra.” Wikipedia the Free Encyclopedia 2010. Jun. 6 2015

       <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sports_bra&gt;.

The Sports Bra

The Lenda Murray Youtube Channel

If you have not visited Lenda Murray’s YT channel, do so. She offer training advice, talks about her experiences as an athlete, and video of her Ms.Olympia competitions. This is a YT channel that any fan should definitely subscribe to. Looking at her physical condition, it looks as if she could hop on stage again. She was the most dominant force in female bodybuilding from the 1990s to early 2000s.

250596119 3cf57477a9129557a3426bdf0fc212dd

Lenda in the 1990s 

b29312af8d3b2ea7faed5d8f98395574c84ef6761e35700e4fd9b3256e589b74

Lenda in the 2000s

The Lenda Murray Youtube Channel

Girls Can Hang Athletically With the Boys, Says Study

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2012/05/31/girls-can-hang-athletically-with-the-boys-says-study

This seems obvious to anyone with a simple  understanding of biology and physiology. However, some experts wanted to confirm what was already known. Girls and boys can compete with each other athletically at young ages. Indiana University conducted the study with swimmers from the ages 6 to 19. Boys and girls in the age eight and under group performed in similarly. The age group of 11 to 13 did show some difference. It was not expected, but girls reached puberty earlier giving them more height. The girls at this stage would have more advantage. After the age of thirteen boys produce more androgens and specifically testosterone which increases muscle mass. The strength gap appears after puberty. The authors the study seem to think that although it is possible for boys and girls to compete together, it should not be promoted. Once again, this the notion of female frailty and physical inferiority appearing even when data suggest otherwise. The idea that women are too delicate and weak for physical activity.

Boy and Girl Arm Wrestling
Boy and girl arm wrestling. Here you can see there is little difference in body composition. Strength levels are equal for both sexes.

It is fact that men have more physical strength on average, but every man is not an athlete. Besides strength skill is also critical. Muscle alone does not make a great athlete.Even after the development of secondary sex characteristics, some of the strength differences can be changed with weight training. It has be proven that women respond equally to this excise regimen without seeing the same level of muscular hypertrophy as men.

depositphotos_73316809-Athlete-muscular-sportsmen-man-and-woman-with-hands-clasped-arm-wrestling-challenge-between-a-young-couple-Crossfit-fitness-sport-training-lifestyle-bodybuilding-concept.

Testosterone has an anabolic effect on muscle tissue.

It would be challenging for women as a whole to compete with men in sports that utilize the upper body. When you analyze the spectrum of individuals it is not impossible that there are exceptions. There are women who are naturally strong and may decide to develop it further. Men have more potential for strength, but that does not mean they have a monopoly on it.

358695829Skinny-guy-fat-world

It’s not hard to figure out who would be stronger in this case.

It is time to discard the conviction that female equals weak and helpless. Not only does this harm young girl’s self-esteem, it can  have a negative impact on health. Being less physically active can lead to weight issues, diabetes, and possibly osteoporosis. While the article reaches the right conclusion that girls should get more involved in physical activity, it still wants to maintain gender role norms. The idea is that women should not be competitive, especially in the male dominated area of sports.

Girls Can Hang Athletically With the Boys, Says Study

Soccer

2422800_big-lnd

Soccer or football as it is commonly referred to, is one of the most popular sports around the globe. Games similar to soccer have existed since the ancient world. China once played a game known as tsu chu. This was developed around the year 1697 B.C.E, but was not the first football game. The Roman Empire also had ball kicking games as well. Some sources suggest that there were also football games played in North Africa and Britain during this period. Some historians put the date of a prototypical model of football developing around 300 B.C.E in China. Modern day soccer did not come until a set of recognized rules were established in 1863. Soccer is a team sport that consists of a number of players. The team maintains ten outfielders. This includes defenders, midfielders, and strikers. Each team has a goalie which will prevent  opposing members from making a score. Players are not allowed to use their hands with the ball. Players will face penalties for fouls ( tackling a player for example). The soccer field itself has a particular arrangement. Opposite ends have a goal and a penalty area. There is also a corresponding penalty arc. The field has a halfway line dividing the field.

images

The middle of the field contains a center circle. There are also corner arcs on the four angles of the rectangular field. The grass can be real or artificial. The Football Association has made a standard set of rules for the game. This is to simplify the game and have it standardized internationally.

Laws of the Game

  • The field of play
  •  The Ball
  • The number of players
  • The player’s equipment
  • The referee
  • The assistant referee
  • The duration of the match
  • The start and restart of play
  • The ball in and out of play
  • Method of scoring
  • Offside
  • Fouls and misconduct
  • Free kicks
  • The penalty kick
  • The throw-in
  • The goal kick
  • corner kick

These are the basic rules with each having particular stipulations. Prior to 1863 the rules were not standardized like this.

Besides the rules and the field the ball is the most important object. Sphere shaped with black patches it has become an icon unto itself. The reason a round ball is used is to allow for the ball to be kicked easier. This gives players more control when making passes. This gives the game a more free flow pace. If it were any other shape passes would be difficult to perform.

download (1)

Oval shaped balls which are used in American football are designed to be thrown. They can be kicked, but not like a soccer ball. The soccer ball must have proper air inflation. FIFA for example has guidelines in regards to proper air pressure levels.

       Women’s participation in modern soccer started in the 1960s. The US is known for not having an intense interest in soccer, but American girls participation has increased. Globally women are playing more football than in the past. Women from Asia, South America, and Europe  compete in the Women’s World Cup. Americans do have a team, but the excitement seems to be lacking. To them their idea of football is American football. However, this has not deterred American women’s involvement. By 1991 3.5 million US teenage girls were playing soccer.

nigeriasuperfalcons

IMG_8599_2

Truly an a game of the world, pictured here are the Nigerian and Chinese women’s teams.

Women’s entry into soccer could have started earlier. Before the twentieth century women did play a game known as stoolball. This did not resemble modern day soccer, but the concepts seemed similar. Soccer has over the years become an international phenomenon. Millions around the world watch games.

Further Reading

Sherrow, Victoria. Encyclopedia of Women and Sports. Santa Barbara:ABC-CLIO,1996.

Binder, Julee. Ultimate Visual Dictionary. New York: DK Publishing, 1998.

Soccer

The Stigma of Being a Male Fan

It is true that female athletes face more ostracism than their male counterparts. There is that challenge of navigating an environment that stigmatizes women for enter a male dominated sphere. Women athletes are not alone in this stigma. Fans of women’s sports also face a level of harsh criticism. Male fans in particular are specifically targeted. There are certain stereotypical paradigms that people place male fans into. The first is the image of the fetishist, who does not care about an athlete’s performance, but her physical appearance and how she can best fit into intimate fantasies of the fan. Another image is a person who enjoys activities that are considered uninteresting. This actually is more sinister than it appears. There is the notion that women’s sports are not as exciting as the men’s events and anyone who watches must be dull. Besides these stereotypes, men who are specifically fans of the muscular and athletic female body also receive vituperation. Detractors question their sexuality and manhood. Some are so extreme they even question the status of the male fan’s mental health. While these claims seem ludicrous by detractors, these negative images still persist.

The image of the fetishist  is one of the most negative of the male fan. This is a person who is obsessed with the appearance of the woman athlete’s body and engages in some form of sexual objectification. This type does not care about the athlete’s performance. The sole focus is on her looks. This attitude can not be blamed solely on a few people, but a corporate business model. There is the old marketing motto of “sex sells.” Magazines, advertisements, movies, and television fetishize the female body. It is done so much that the woman no longer is deemed human, but an accessory  or object. This intersection of sexism and corporate avarice does serious harm. It directs attention away from the athlete’s accomplishments and talent, which should be the focus. The second problem is that it furthers the fetishist stereotype of the male fan. Not all men judge women solely on their appearance.

TimeOlympicCovers2

These covers present  the women not as sex objects,  but as skilled professionals.

sexualizing1

This cover is borderline lascivious. 

There are male fans who do value the performance of the top professional female athletes. The big issue seems to be cultural attitudes and business practices.The male fan is stuck between these conflicts.

         The most frustrating stereotype is the image of the boring person. There is a horrid idea that women’s sports cannot be entertaining or exciting as the men’s events. This double standard only represents people’s negative convictions about women. Male fans of  women’s sports are often compared to people who are stamp collectors or bird watchers. These activities are considered “boring” to many people in a modern post-industrial technological society. These activities are not boring, it just has not developed a level of popular faddism. These activities are enjoyable to particular individuals, but not at a massive level. Women’s sports are still a niche market. It is possible that with more media coverage and funding it can expand its audience. Die hard fans could be the harbingers to a popular faddism craze. Baseball was once considered America’s favorite pastime. Gradually, football eclipsed it in terms of popularity. People have all sorts of interests and hobbies. Trying to declare what is or is not quality entertainment is an attempt to impose cultural conformity. Calling male fans of women’s sports boring is baseless. Even more ludicrous is that people still hold the belief that women’s sports are not as good.

         Male fans also face another challenge. Men who love the aesthetic of the muscular and athletic female  body are harshly criticized by detractors. Accusations of latent homosexuality are directed at supporters. This lacks logic, because women with muscle are still women. This also represents a extreme intolerance against people of different sexual orientations. The manner in which it  is expressed is an insult, but it would not be if a person was gay. Closed minded behavior such as this reveals more severe ills of society. Another attack is on the masculinity of the male fan. The question posed is “what type of man would be with a woman like that?” or “what type of pathetic man would want to be with woman stronger than him?” Traditionalists hold that strength is male only and any man who likes a strong woman is less masculine. The idea is that man has full control of the woman in all respects. Physical domination is just one area of that control. There are men who do not see it as an aberration, but a positive attribute. There is beauty in a highly developed female form.

b0750f0a7680782139450e12f10a8e2cafda20bcb715499a80aa496dc5ba5d17

2efaf41861d4410f784a1287892afe1c306015925

Few can appreciate the aesthetics of the muscular female body. 

The majority of people cannot see the beauty in it. Then there is another aspect. Male fans who like the muscular woman are seen as “abnormal.” Society erroneously believes that this admiration is connected to an obsessive sexual fetish. The male fan is put into a one dimensional box of either being a deviant or pervert. The facts are different. Supporters are not strange or abnormal, but come from different walks of life. The rise of the internet allowed larger exposure of women involved in strength sports. Personal websites of athletes do receive large amounts of traffic. This proves that there are people who do like the look, but a precise number is ambiguous. Some male fans in the face of this opposition hide their love of the muscular woman. The internet to an extent provides anonymity, which frees them from societal pressure to conform. It is odd with the rise of body acceptance for larger women rejects  the unhealthy anorexic body, while acceptance is not extended to the muscular woman. There is some progress in which some muscle is tolerable to a degree on a woman. Yet, the hyper-muscular  woman induces  fear, hatred, and repudiation in the gender traditionalists. The male fans also have difficulty being labeled a social misfit.

     Female athletes have to deal with societal and cultural  pressures  that their male counterparts do not have to consider. There are also challenges for the advocates and male fans who want to see women’s sports flourish. Negative criticisms are a reflection of people who particular biases and reject any form of change. The idea that women could be successful in a male dominated area is irksome to thoughs who believe in strict gender roles .  The male fan is trapped in between a conformist block and their own values. Others may condemn particular view points, but have proven wrong years later. It was once believed that the Earth was the center of the universe, until proven false. Eventually women in sports and their fans will be accepted, but that will be many years from now.

The Stigma of Being a Male Fan

Michelle Lin responds to comment “Female Bodybuilders are Disgusting”

Michelle Lin is a figure competitor. This video response is to various negative comments on social media about female bodybuilders. They are scrutinized for their muscularity and ridiculed for not conforming to certain expectations of body image. Michelle Lin explains that women with larger or thinner bodies do not face the same criticism. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, disparaging people is inexcusable. Aesthetics vary from culture to culture and are a matter of personal preference. To the detractors who refer to female bodybuilders as “ugly” I present to you a photographic rebuttal.

135809898

188e7be5fc02c494e6ca5c72be792b3a

4HGFX

745382905

c05ac81c0fded80e831c43c6d99190df

410018776

815465089

451706017

267108112

0c1defcbaedc22847a5493a54109185b

1310023203_36

e0a4f71bccc0003990e184c00f3d816c

26dd9d92ca1dfd5ab977dd1014f1ac58

229388451

Michelle Lin responds to comment “Female Bodybuilders are Disgusting”

Can a Woman Be As Strong as a Man?

It is true that on average men are stronger than women. This does not mean that it is impossible for a woman to build strength through resistance training. Certainly it would be erroneous to say that all men are stronger than all women. When examining individuals the our initial statement must be reconstructed. Compare the female athlete to a man of sedentary life style and the difference in strength is immense. Athletic ability is part genetic and how well an individual utilizes training methods. Strength has been for a long time seen as a male only attribute, but this is not grounded in biological reality. Besides the obvious factors of sexual dimorphism, there are sociological factors that cannot be ignored. Women aim for a slender as possible body type, which is detrimental to health. Women have more cases of eating disorders such as anorexia and bulima. When this body image issue is not a factor the situation changes. Although they are few compared to the majority there are women who are working to develop themselves as much as physically possible. Then there are women who may not have that same goal, but exercise with weights because they notice it is a more effective method of weight loss. The fact is the female body can develop strength. Some cases a woman can be not just strong as, but stronger than a man. Untitled-2 copy

Although it is common, men do not always dominate in strength.

    The term average can be defined as “the typical amount, degree, or norm” or ” a quantity, rating, or the like that represents or approximates arithmetic mean.” When it is stated “men on average are stronger than women” that does not mean every man is stronger than every woman. This would not be an accurate representation mathematically. What that means is that out of a large sample it is likely that a man would be stronger. However, there could be a woman who has considerable strength in the sample. This average distribution follows a bell curve in which most would be part of the average percentile. Sometimes various populations are represented in terms of binomial distribution. Just like women, men can occupy different ends of the spectrum. It is possible that there is a small percentage of overlap. Women could be in this percentile and easily be a physical match for both average and stronger men. 

Male_female_facial_sexual_dimorphism_masculine_feminine_face

The blue could represent  male physical strength in total. The pink could represent the total female physical strength. The small area is a point of overlap in which women could be stronger than some men.

This can also be the same for another attribute such as height. While it is true on average men are taller, there are women who are also tall. The curves can demonstrate a portion that deviate the average. Men also occupy different ends of the spectrum. Like women, they come in various shapes and sizes. Not all are built like the legendary Hercules. Body types can range from endomorphic, mesomorphic, and ectomorphic.

BellCurve-1024x294

Few men on average would look like Arnold. The man who is on the left  is another end of the bell curve representation. 

This diversity in spectrum is sometimes forgotten due to particular gender stereotypes. It is assumed men are the “tough ones.” There are exceptions to the general rule.

       There is a point in which there is no difference between strength levels of the sexes.This is prior to puberty. Boys and girls are even till they develop sexual maturity. Hormones influence body composition.Men produce more testosterone in  their bodies. This has an anabolic effect. This means bones and muscles will build up in the male body. It will have an effect on ligaments and tendons as well. The assumption is that just because men have more testosterone that would men they are all stronger than women. That is not entirely true when you factor in height and total weight. Then another critical aspect is the level of physical fitness. A woman who engages in strength training exercise would certainly be stronger than a man who does not. Even if the man is producing more testosterone, he is not developing his full genetic potential. Athletic ability is part genetic and part physical training. Women could have certain advantages that make the excel in a sport. There are women who can even come close to men in terms of physical development. toni968401898

The men in the photos are in good shape, but the women could be close to them in terms of strength. 

The generation of physical force is calculated by mass times acceleration. A woman with significant muscle mass could generate more force compared to a man with lower mass. Even though the male would produce more testosterone, he would still have less strength than the woman with  more mass.

       There are ways of measuring physical strength. However, these assessments may be accurate, but not precise. Some exercise physiology experiments tend to only test one part of the body. Testing only one part of the body does not give a full description of absolute strength. There are exercises that are basic that can give measures of body strength. Push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups are excellent measures of upper body strength and power of the thorax of the body. Leg presses and bench pressing are also perfect for getting a precise measure of strength.

col1

http://egitim.judo.gov.tr/Dosyalar/makaleler/-ENG-Hand-grip-strength-in-judo.pdf

This is an exercise physiology experiment between average men and women including male and female athletes. This has testing hand grip strength. While their mathematics are correct,  the only female athletes they tested were judo martial artists and hand ballers. Why did the study not use weightlifters instead? This is a major flaw, because it only focuses on hand strength.

585050339

01

If the authors wanted to get a full assessment of maximum female strength they would have used women involved in strength sports. Women they claim “even with training only rarely exceed the 50 percentile of untrained men.” The sample group were women who did not train  in sports specific for upper body development. 

The ideal experiment would be to take a sample of untrained men and women, including our trained sample group and have them perform these various exercises. The results can be predicted based on certain physiological factors. Women’s leg pressing records would be close to the men’s records. The bench pressing records would be lower in total. Trained women would certainly surpass the average males, but very few would be on same level of trained males. It is ambiguous just how much overlap would occur in this hypothetical experiment. Comparison between individuals produces another story.

       Women are not discouraged from doing weight training. It has been proven that women can still develop strength, without seeing immense hypertrophy. This does not only build muscle, but adds to bone mass.Then of course every woman is different. Some women are prone to develop muscular physiques with minimal effort. When comparing strength levels, exercise can reverse some of the disparities in upper body strength. The exercise regimen would have to be intense, because the average woman has little strength to begin with. When we compare a man of ectomorphic body type to a athletically trained female the strength difference is vast.

arm_wrestling_boy-girl  The average 

206589756

A trained woman 

Women have to be more diligent to acquire physical strength. Men have the advantage due to the influence of androgens. Building muscle does work in a similar manner for women. Increasing caloric intake and the consumption of protein can add muscle. When an individual does weight training it causes microscopic tears in the muscle fiber. The immune system recognizes these tears as do inflammatory molecules and instructs the satellite cells for repair. As a result of metabolic stress the muscles will form more fibers over the tear made by the exercise regimen. The cells do not get bigger. This muscle growth sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. The muscles could be larger, but physical strength may not have increased immensely. Bigger muscles do not always correlate to more strength. Functional strength differs from sculpting a muscular body. Physical activity habits are pivotal. A woman who engages in regular strength training exercise will certainly be in better shape than a man who has a sedentary lifestyle.

downloadbodybuilding-fitness-cut-7

Physical strength is not a male only characteristic. It can vary depending on which individuals you are comparing.  

There is no denying, the ability of testosterone to give a strength advantage to men. Yet, it cannot be ignored that there are some sociological factors that play a role. Strict gender roles and sexist convictions do hold women back.

        The role of body image is extremely critical. The concept of feminine daintiness could be negatively effecting women’s health. This notion holds that women should be as small as possible in body size. Weight loss is promoted to women, while lean body mass gain is a goal for men. Women, particularly in the West obsess over trying to achieve the thinnest body. This is not healthy for two major reasons. First, it can lead to eating disorders such as anorexia and bulima. Another major risk is the possibility of developing bone related diseases such as osteoporosis. When considering these factors, women are making themselves unnaturally weak. Their are representatives in the fitness industry who do embrace women’s involvement in weight training. Yet, they do continue to to repudiate women who have hypermuscular physiques. There are women with some muscle or “tone” that are deemed “acceptable.”  There is a double standard. A man can be as physically powerful as he wants , but a woman must not “cross the line.” This euphemism means she can appear to have some strength, but not have too much as to convey the possibility she could be strong as or stronger than a man. There is the possibility of threat that is projected, even though such claims have no basis in fact.

Lenda-21Carol+Saraiva+-+Female+Fitness+Models

Both of these women engage in weight training. They have a different level of muscular development, but  the women with the least muscular body would have acceptance.

Women as dictated by cultural mores can develop strength within limits. There are women who refuse to conform and face intense ostracism. This has nothing to do with biological determinism, but social construction. While feminists solely hold men culpable for this, there are in reality women who promote body image conformity. Fad diets and fashion magazines are produced by women and promote less than positive habits. Some women fear that they will become “too big” if they exercise.

        Some women can be stronger than men. Although it is a small number it is not an impossibility. Women as a whole are not getting physically stronger, but there are more participating in sports than in the past. For a long time, women have been viewed as inferiors and this is gradually changing. Sex differences were used as a justification to exclude women from various fields. There has been improvement, but myths about women’s physical weakness remain. At the cellular level there is no difference between male and female muscle fiber. While endocrinology and sexual dimorphism are factors in one’s ability to gain physical strength it can still vary among the sexes. Men do not have sole ownership of physical strength. Women are gradually accepting it into their exercise regimen. There is even some acceptance among men who find beauty in it. While women as a whole may never surpass men in strength, there are women who are stronger than many men.

Can a Woman Be As Strong as a Man?