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;.

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

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