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.

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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.

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Who’s stronger, man or woman?

Self-Defense

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Lenda in the 1990s 

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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