Veronica Campbell-Brown beats Jeter in 100m race at Rio De Janeiro

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Veronica Campbell-Brown beats Jeter in 100m race at Rio De Janeiro

Do Women Have Stronger Legs and More Lower Body Strength Than Men?

Although women can build impressive legs and lower body strength, men have more strength in the lower body as well. It is less immense in magnitude as compared to the upper body. The reason for this difference is based on endocrinology. Males produce higher amounts of testosterone, which effect the skeletal and muscular system. This means protein synthesis would be active in the lower body . When examining the differences between the sexes women have about 52% of men’s upper body strength and 66% in the lower body. Women have an easier time amassing lower body strength than upper body strength. When examining absolute strength, women can gain at least 80% strong if compared to a male of a similar size. This are only approximations, not exact measurements. The disparity in upper body strength can be related to the fact that men have bigger muscle fibers (more in terms of total mass) and more are concentrated in the upper body. There are reasons why women are closer to men in the lower body.

         The reason for women’s closer lower body strength may be related to child birth. Muscles, tendons, bones, and ligaments add to the strength of the body. These anatomical structures work together in movement. Women when they become pregnant  must carry her children in the uterus. This explains why the female pelvis is much wider than the males. The lower body must be able to accommodate the weight of both the developing baby and the weight of the mother.A strong lower body helps more than an upper body strength in this regard. These anatomical attributes are products of human evolution. The result of that biological process was sexual dimorphism. These are the primary and secondary sex characteristics that distinguish both males and females of the same species . This is the explanation for physiological differences in athletic performance in male and female athletes.

           Men and women have the same muscles in the lower body. There are no different cells between male muscle cells and women’s muscle cells. The muscles of the leg and lower body include the  gluteus maximus, gastronecnemius , adductor mangnus, iliotibial tract, semimembranosus, biceps femoris, gracilis, and semitendinosus.

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The lower body consists of the pelvis and legs.

 The only difference between the muscles of the lower body for women is that they have less total lean  mass.Women’s body proportions in terms of upper and lower body do differ in length. Women have on average longer legs and shorter upper bodies.  Women tend to have shorter legs and longer torsos. This does effect athletic performance in some sports. One example is cycling. A shorter upper body means that women would have to stretch more when riding a bike as a cyclist. Although this problem can be solved  by designing a bike to accommodate a female cyclist. The difference in women’s cyclist times do not have to do with muscle quality, but rather bike design and cardiovascular capacity. Bikes with shorter top tubes reduce strain  on the neck and back. Female and male muscle can have high performance quality doubtless of their size. What is pivotal is the type of muscle fiber present in the body. Type II muscle fibers are responsible for greater power.

          Squat records give a clear record of the extent of women’s lower body strength. This exercise is designed to measure total body strength while strengthening legs. Leg press is also another exercise that can build leg muscles.

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This is an example of a leg press.
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This is known as the squat exercise.

When examining  powerlifting records of both professional female and male athletes it gives a more accurate picture of strength levels. Women have achieved 65 % of the male squat limit in powerlifting. So far the all time squat record for a woman is a total of 600 pounds, when men’s level reaches 1000 pounds. This gap can be attributed to certain factors. Testosterone is a major factor in the difference, but not the only one. Women produce less than ten percent the testosterone than the average man. It has been speculated that even when women weight train, it can raise testosterone levels. This means a woman would have to train at least  75 percent of their single repetition maximum. The training would have to be consistent  and for a long period of time. The second major factor is muscle fiber characteristics and the response to training method. Men and women have similar responses to training. Fast twitch fibers in males are larger and are more prevalent . Women contain slow twitch fibers in greater numbers, which have more endurance. Women and men on the same training regimen will still see the gap in total strength gained. The difference in absolute strength is just less noticeable in the lower body.

        The conclusion is that women do not have more lower body strength or stronger legs than men. This is another fitness myth that is commonly spread. Just like the notion muscles turn into fat when a training regime is stopped, or women’s bodies are not designed for strength it can be refuted with physiology  and anatomy. Women have more strength in the lower body relative to the upper body. Women can still build strength, but it will be easier to gain lower body enhancements.

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It’s best you think twice before you let a woman do this to you.

A consistent training program and shrink the gap in absolute strength. Compound exercises with heavy weight and training with low repetition are preferred methods.Muscles of the body will be responsive to overload. Genetics are an indicator of just how much muscle a person can build. A woman with a mesomorphic body type will have no trouble building both a strong upper and lower body.

Further Reading

Brown, Eric. “Do Women Have More Lower Body Strength Than Men?”LIVESTRONG.COM. LIVESTRONG.COM, 08 Jan. 2016. Web. 23 Mar. 2016. <http://www.livestrong.com/article/422532-do-women-have-more-lower-body-strength-than-men/&gt;.

Friedrich, Cathe. “Is It Harder for Women to Build Upper Body or Lower Body Mass? – Cathe Friedrich.” Cathe Friedrich. N.p., 11 Jan. 2015. Web. 23 Mar. 2016. <http://cathe.com/harder-women-build-upper-body-lower-body-mass&gt;.

Do Women Have Stronger Legs and More Lower Body Strength Than Men?

Laura Creavalle

Laura Creavalle  was one of the top professional bodybuilders of the 1990s. She never won a Ms.Olympia title, but her physique was a powerful force to be reckoned with. Born in British Guiana in 1959, she was educated at Mercy College in New York. Her introduction to the sport occurred in 1982. She was in Kingston, Jamaica and happened to see a bodybuilding contest. Impressed with the physiques of competitors she wanted to reproduce the look for her own body. When she returned to Toronto, Canada she began to train seriously. After six month she ambitiously entered the Novice Ontario Championships. Laura won her first contest, a rare feat in many cases. She would later relocate to California. She would become a regular presence on stage. The year 1986 was a major turning point in which she won the NPC USA Championships. This was followed by another victory with the 1988 IFBB World Ameteur Championships. As a result she gained her pro-card and was able to compete professionally.She took 11th place in the 1988 Ms.Olympia, but as time past she would rise up the ranks.

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She would go on to compete in the Ms.Olympia twelve more times. Laura was competing in an era in which competition was fierce. Between Cory Everson and Lenda Murray’s dominance Laura Creavelle did very well.She had a high level of competitive longevity being on stage from 1983 until her retirement in 2002. During that two decade run she won the Ms.international ( 1990, 1994, 1995 ),  the Pro Extravaganza (1999),  the NPC California State ( 1986),  the NPC Mixed Pairs (1986), the Caribbean Championships (1988), the World Amateur  Championships (1988), and the Toronto Championships (1983, 1985). Laura Creavalle is notable due to the fact she has to date been the most successful Guyanese bodybuilder in the world. Being a small country, she can be viewed as a symbol of national pride. Although she did not win one Olympia, she has become a legend among many in fitness circles and fans of the sport. She was inducted into the IFBB Hall of Fame in 2007. Her physique was voluptuous and powerful. Many agree her best feature were her incredibly developed legs. Laura admitted herself that her legs were more developed than her upper body. As the years progressed she would eventually balance these two areas that would place her in the top five in the Ms.Olympia contests.

 Laura during her career was able to make the sport lucrative for her. As she put it :”I had endorsement contracts with major fitness entities such as Weider Nutrition and Muscle & Fitness Magazine.”Besides being an athlete she wrote nutrition and training articles for various Wieder publications. Laura was willing to share her knowledge of training and diet through books she wrote herself.Her books include The Taste of Creavalle, The Lite Lifestyle : 150 Low Calorie recipes for Rapid Weight Loss, The Taste of Club Creavalle,  and The Health Handbook. She had a strong presence in many magazines owned by the Weider corporation and it is easy to see why. Her physique was both hard looking, but had feminine curves while maintaining a decent level of vascularity. Laura’s balanced and pulchritudinous shape gave her a huge following among bodybuilding fans. It is perplexing why she never was crowned Ms.Olympia at least once, but judging has always been erratic in criteria.

Laura once said “when I started bodybuilding, I realized immediately I had ultimate authority over my body and its appearnce,  and I loved the sense of power.” This is what happens to women who enter the sport. They find a new sense of self. Laura liked the feeling of being strong physically and saw the beauty of when it is  applied to the female form. She liked the artistic element of molding the body like a sculptor. This was no simple task either. Laura maintained a strict schedule: ” in my prime it was much regimented, working on a split routine which is working one major body part per workout. I worked out two days, rested one, and then repeated.” This formula was extremely effective at building a 145 pound physique on a 5’4″ frame. Her bodybuilding career is incredible, considering she had no prior athletic involvement in her youth.  Prior to her bodybuilding career she says ” at that time, I ran 13 miles a day but could not get rid of the cellulite in my legs.”Her athletic pursuits went far beyond that. One of Laura’s challenges was mastering the diet. To her own admission she claims “my dislike is missing a meal.” She expounds further : “when my blood sugar level drops, I become a different person, cranky and mean (jokingly) as my host has recognized.” This could be an explanation for the creation of her cookbooks.

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Laura although retired from the sport still is active in  the fitness industry . She has been known to start various businesses. She was president of her own company Club Creavalle from 1987 to 1990. Laura since 1990 has been owner of Club Creavalle Fitness Camps. She also started a catering company known as Healthy Gourmet  Express. Athletes after their career reflect on the nature of their sport. Laura has very interesting observations about changes to the sport. Laura stated in an interview ” Fitness, Figure and Bikini competitions have grown tremendously over the years and has replaced ‘female bodybuilding’, as we knew it.” This may seem discouraging to some, but this is just her candid assessment. What is now considered hardcore female bodybuilding in which women aim for size, symmetry, and definition is being replaced by physique categories considered more “marketable.” Laura is right to an extent, but that may not be the complete story. Looking at many of the figure, fitness, and physique competitors they have larger musculature than the competitors from the 1970s and 1980s. Maybe female bodybuilding is not disappearing, but changing form. The sport seems to function on changing models of body aesthetics. It comes down to two factions : a sleeker body with a level muscularity or the hyper-muscular physique.

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Laura’s concept of female bodybuilding dates to the 1990s when there where only two categories. Hopefully, there will be change for the better. One positive change is that bodybuilding has grown in Guiana. Laura has been pleased by this development over the past few years. Her jubilation she describes like this: ” it’s wonderful to see the growth of bodybuilding in Guyana since I did my first guest posing at the Cultural Centre 28 years ago.”Laura Creavalle  has in this regard served as a role model to rising Guyanese bodybuilders.Occasionally Laura will appear at certain fitness expos and venues to promote products or fitness material. Laura has also been a producer of Maxim Sports.

 Laura has also known to conduct seminars for athletes, sharing her knowledge of training. To many fans she is an uncrowned Ms.Olympia. She developed an incredible  physique that reminds many of why they considered this an art form. She blended the right amount of power, beauty, and strength that makes the sport great.Her photographic appearances in the magazines of Flex, Muscle and Fitness, Muscular Development, and Female Bodybuilding and Fitness Magazine was proof of this.  Laura Creavalle truly is a legend and an excellent representative of the sport.

Laura Creavalle

International Women’s Day

This is a day of recognition for women and their achievements celebrated on March 8th of every year. It was originally called International Working Women’s Day and began as a socialist event. It has been recognized throughout Europe and other nations. It was strongest in the former Soviet bloc nations. The reason socialist had this event was to highlight women’s contribution to revolution and their role in the political future. The earliest observance of  International Women’s Day was in 1909, in commemoration of the 1908 strike by International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union. Currently, the observance is used to raise public awareness of women’s rights and issues across the globe.  The United Nations continues to use the observance as a platform to make women’s rights an international agenda. The observance is an official holiday in the following countries : Angola, Afghanistan, Russia, Burkina Faso, China, Cuba, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Vietnam, Zambia, Madagascar, Laos, Moldova, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Uganda, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Macedonia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Georgia, and Armenia. There are also more nations who observe, but not as an official holiday.

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There is an emphasis on empowerment that needs to be fulfilled. These range from areas of education, economics, and political rights. Women must have all of these things to be safe and secure in society. The element that is missing from this is empowerment of the body. This means having reproductive rights and control of ones healthcare. Beyond that means women  should be allowed to develop themselves not just mentally, but physically as well. They should be able to have the same access to sports and physical activity as males do. They should not be subject to discriminatory practices or be scrutinized for an appearance that displeases some people. Physically strong women should be accepted as women. The right to physical skills and development are essential. Physical activity prevents major health issues. For women building bone mass can prevent osteoporosis later in life. Women can overcome the negative body image messages promoted by the mass media and gain a new sense of self confidence. The most important aspect of this is that it makes sports less male dominated. If women are to have full equality, they must be given access to all areas of public life. Sports should no longer be considered a male only activity.

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The 2012 Olympics saw the highest level of female participation ever. It should be expected that more will be coming as athletes as new talent emerges. Most recognize that political and social inequality has no justification and people who promote such oppression are extremists. It is unacceptable that women are still seen as anomalies in the sports world. The most successful are ostracized by a highly controlled media, who want to maintain a traditionalist status quo. Women can be political  leaders, owners of businesses , and educators, but there is still objection to women being physically powerful.  This attitude will change eventually, but for now most people are closed minded. However, there will always be supporters of women’s sports and strength. Celebrate International Women’s Day by aiding women’s sports in any way you can.

International Women’s Day

Colette Nelson in Barely Political: “No I Said She Threw Me”

This was released in 2008 for Barley Political. The comedy website lampooned politics and culture in the most absurd ways. Sex scandals are given the satirical treatment. This is not uncommon in Washington, but this video has a twist. Congressman Strassburg has a fetish for muscle women who can carry him. Not the worse thing for the fictional congressman, considering real ones take bribes, cut social services, and approve of aggressive war. If he were a real congressman, he would get my vote. Colette performs all the lifts in this video ( no stunt double needed).Colette definitely will not pull any muscle.   Don’t worry congressman Strassburg, maybe your wife can do it after years of training in a gym. If you are feeling dismal that a particular candidate that you supported did not do well on super Tuesday, this will improve your mood. If you just despise the two party system in general, you can at least enjoy Colette in a bikini.

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Considering this presidential election cycle is more ludicrous than 2012, Barely Political will have no trouble producing more material. Let’s hope Colette appears in more. Yes, 8,000 is a lot of money.

Colette Nelson in Barely Political: “No I Said She Threw Me”