Rebuttal -Adult Women Have The Physical Strength of A 13 Year Old Boy and The Question of Women in Combat (2017)


Strength versus running

Are Women As Strong As A 13 Year Old Boy ?

Misinformation spreads rapidly across the internet. There seems to be greater misunderstanding about basic science. Masculine By Design is a blog that has a traditionalist view about men and women. Basically, it is using religion to mask misogyny and the justification to treat women less than equal. The irony here, is that it is using science as well to claim that women are inferiors. The article makes the claim women are unsuitable for combat seeing as they lack the physical strength. The claim is that they have strength of only a 13 year old boy. Basic anatomy and physiology can reveal that is incorrect. The use of running speeds is not an indicator of physical strength. That is more of an measure of aerobic capacity. Sprinting does require a level of muscular strength, while marathon running is reliant on muscular endurance. The author uses the wrong set of data to make comparisons about physical strength. Weightlifting records could be more precise. Long jump records are the only set of data could be more useful making his point. Military combat is more complex than running or playing on a team sport. Sex differences are not a justification for keeping women out of combat jobs. If they are physically and psychologically able to handle such occupations, there is not reason to ban them. Masculine By Design is not offering an opinion, rather it is distorting the facts. Anatomy and physiology do not always work against women in physically demanding occupations.

           Sexual dimorphism does effect physical fitness. On average men have more  natural physical strength.  All women are not weaker than men as stated in the article. There can be degrees in relation to  body size, somatotype, and body composition. The claim is women are weaker not by a little bit, but by a lot. A woman with an etcomorphic body type would not be stronger than any man, even a man of her similar body type. A woman who has a naturally muscular body type could be stronger than a man that does not train. Women with mesomorphic bodies would gain the most strength from a training regimen. Women can experience muscular hypertrophy from an exercise strength training program. The difference is that they will not reach the same physical fitness levels as men who do the same. It should be no surprise that a highly fit woman can be as strong as an average man or one that is physically weak. Strength can vary with age. Children obviously are not going to be strong than full grown adults. A 13 year old has not yet attained their full growth in terms of muscle and bone mass.

Both male and female bodies can gain strength. The differences is in degree and total aggregate of absolute strength.
Motor neurons
The anatomical structure of male and female muscle is the same .
fbb versus man
I think we known who has more strength. Biological sex is not the sole factor in physical strength.
The physical changes the body goes through during puberty.

Growth hormone will increase during the tanner stages of puberty. At the first stage a 13 boy would not have the physical strength of an adult woman. A boy at this stage of puberty will have more strength than a 13 year old girl. The strength spurt happens between two growth spurts. Women also grow in terms of musculoskeletal mass,but not to the same degree. This is mainly because they have their growth happen earlier and faster. More muscle tissue is on the male body due to the influence of sex hormones. Androgens will allow for denser bones and muscles. The third to fourth stage of the Tanner stages see a boy’s body become more robust. Stage five sees a boy reach his full natural level  of physical strength. This happens between the ages of 15 to 20. Knowing this it would be more credible to say that a 15 to 18 year teenage male could have the strength of an adult woman. This also depends on the males and female being compared. The author was comparing female athletes to middle school and high school boy athletes. Most Americans are either average in fitness or overweight, which would mean many would not be able to pass demanding physical fitness assessments of the US Military. People who are going to be drafted ( if it comes back ) are not going to perform on the level of professional athlete. Being a soldier also requires a completely different skills set.

Both men and women can be physically fit. The difference is in total physical fitness capacity.
The female muscular system is identical to the male muscular system.
There is no such thing as men’s muscles and women’s muscles. They are the same in terms of histology.
Men on average have more body mass than women.

It should also be noted that running and acts of pure brute strength are two different elements of physical fitness. Measurement is important to this calculation and data is also critical. The selection does not provide an accurate account of male and female capabilities in physical strength.

        The data counts when making assertions. What was excluded was the discus and shot put records, due to the difference in equipment size. If that was a problem, then it was make more sense to use weightlifting and powerlifting statistics. It is actually possible for a person to run faster than a physically stronger person. That is not to say that sprinters do not have considerable muscular strength. Running shorter distances requires explosive amounts of power compared to marathons. Runners are doing a different method of training compared to weightlifters. One group of athlete is trying to increase speed rather than be physically stronger. Both incorporate weights into their training. Examining weightlifting records as an aggregate challenges that claims made in the text. The statement was:

” Women are physically weaker than men. Not by a little bit, but by a lot. It’s not good or bad; it’s just the way it is. The physical rigors of combat stress even the strongest of grown men, what will they do to someone that only has the physical strength of an 8th grade boy?.” 

There is a strength gap. However this is extorted to suit the writer’s personal opinion. Calculate the difference between the snatch, clean,and jerk between men and women. The snatch comes to a 59.11 kg  difference. The clean and jerk is 65.24 k9. As a total there is a 120 kg difference.  Considering the physiological and anatomical differences one would expect that these gaps would be much larger. The disparity in running speed would be related to lung and heart size more so, than muscle mass. The quadriceps angle and pelvis size on women effects their running speed. Women being helpless weaklings does not seem to have scientific credibility. Body size is a factor. The reason it is difficult to make such comparisons is because women are on average smaller than men. The difference in performance is related to size. That is why many sports have weight classes.

Weightlifting World Records (men and women)
Professional athlete records data 
There is a difference between training for aesthetics and building strength.  
The data collected from a middle school and a university 
A runner could be weaker than a weightlifter and still be able to out run them. 

When building an army, there could be people of various physical fitness levels. Every soldier is not going to be high performing. There are times when waivers were done just to increase the size of armies. Sometimes an enemy nation could be overwhelmed by numbers. Soldiers of the past were either forced into service or average civilians took up arms when situations became desperate. Training the body for combat is more than just building physical strength. It requires an cumulative system of functional fitness. Endurance, speed, hand and eye coordination are pivotal in various functions.  Shooting requires fast reflexes and a level of muscle memory. Depending on which branch of  the military a person goes into, requires a different set of skills for the Navy, Army, Air Force, and Marines. Basic training is an introductory course to more advanced MOS. The type of data selected is important when making a case for or against women in combat. Rather than be objective, it seems some rather use it as a justification to keep women from advancing in the US Military.

         The author does not seem aware that children have been made into soldiers. Oddly enough, he claims that if anyone suggested that 13 year old boys be made to fight they would be laughed at. The truth is there are countries that use child soldiers. Children do not even have their full adult strength and size yet, but are fighting in war zones. This is an ignored human rights crisis that gets little press coverage. Anyone who is capable of firing a gun can be made into a soldier. The reason children are used is that an army of loyal and brainwashed soldiers will remain with a force for life. That way, a conflict can go on forever. Countries such as Myanmar, South Sudan, and Columbia have been known to use child soldiers. The majority are mostly boys, however there are girl child soldiers.

Child soldier during the Vietnam War. The conflict destabilized Southeast Asia causing a mass exodus of Laotian, Cambodian, and Vietnamese refugees.   
The battle between FARC and the government has been a never ending conflict. Columbia has used child soldiers. 
Army women
Western countries forbid the use of child soldiers, yet target high school students for recruitment as a means to pay for higher education. 

War ruins nations  and functioning societies. When it becomes so prevalent men, women, and children will eventually become involved . Aggressor nations normally are not as effected as the victim. Libya’s engineered destruction by NATO has seen the country fall into a failed state. Indochina experienced mass bombings by the US, resulting in a large exodus of refugees in 1975. Arming populations for permanent states of warfare is a threat to civilization. The case of child soldiers demonstrates that a person does not need to be large or strong to be part of a fighting force. Societies can easily become militarized whether they are democracies or authoritarian systems. Everyone then becomes part of the fighting force of the nation.

          The argument against women in combat lacks cogency. History has shown periods in which women fought in wars, but rarely got recognition. The Mino warriors saw combat in the Franco-Dahomean wars. Japan had the onna bugeisha a noble class that consisted of female combat units.  This all female fighting force attempted to stop the French from colonizing Benin. The Soviet Union during  World War II allowed women to fly combat missions. These are a few examples of women fighting in war. The suggestion that there entry into the US Military’s combat occupations could cause decline or collapse is ludicrous. Biological or physical arguments were once used to exclude women from law enforcement, firefighting, and construction. A similar tactic is being used here, although the author is being more dishonest. Women were already seeing combat in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was not being done in an official capacity. Fighting terrorist organizations is different compared to fighting a conventional army. If anything, the US will have more combat soldier as the result of positions opening up to women. The harsh reality is that the constant state of warfare and a military industrial complex will be America’s downfall. As the world shifts to multipolarity, the US still seeks to remain the dominant world power. This will inevitably lead to conflict with China and Russia putting global security at risk. Only skilled diplomacy can prevent a mass global conflict. Compare to other horrifying possibilities related to international disputes, women in combat jobs is not the worse thing to happen.

Rebuttal -Adult Women Have The Physical Strength of A 13 Year Old Boy and The Question of Women in Combat (2017)

Cathe Fitness: How Men and Women Differ in Strength-Power and Do Women Gain Strength Differently Than Men ?


Strength Power  and Gains

Cathe Friedrich  is an American personal trainer , group fitness teacher,  entrepreneur and American Council on Exercise instructor. She also is the owner of  Cathe Fitness, which designs fitness and exercise programs for athletes and laymen. Cathe also is co-owner of the Four Seasons Health Club.  Since 1989,  Cathe Friedrich  has produced over 190 fitness videos and used to host programs on FitTv. Her business expanded so much she was able to be inducted into the National Fitness Hall of Fame. Born in 1964, she is based out of New Jersey. Since the launch of her website and blog, Cathe has composed a number of articles for the general public to read as reference and advice for fitness as well as health. One subject she does not shy away from is male and female athletic performance comparisons. Cathe discusses the topic of how men and women differ in strength and power. The following article then approaches the topic of if women gain muscular strength in a different manner in regards to anatomical and physiological attributes. It is wonderful that a woman is encouraging other women to get active in weightlifting and physical  activity beyond simple weight loss.However, she has the tendency to use terms or concepts that have no basis in exercise  physiology.

             The bodybuilding and weightlifting sports have grown in popularity among women. Yet,Cathe Friedrich’s explanation seems off :  “More women are realizing that resistance training won’t give them big, bulky muscles. ”  Women who train in a certain way can get muscular seeing as muscular hypertrophy can occur in both sexes. The concept of  “bulky” muscles do not exist. Histiology reveals that there are no difference in cells between what are considered “toned” or”bulky” muscles. These terms are either designed to praise or disparage women of different levels of physicality. Normally a woman who shows an enormous amount of physical power and skill is disparaged as being “bulky.” The unfortunate part is that many cannot see the beauty in difference and variety. When that word is used it refers to female bodybuilders. When Cathe stated ” Instead, it can make them stronger, leaner and firmer” this is what many athletes are going for in physique sports. Muscle size and definition are added to the list of beneficial aesthetic attributes. The first strongwomen, female bodybuilders, and weightlifters were the harbingers of  women’s fitness culture. They broke the barriers,yet are not even respected or given as much exposure even by prominent fitness publications. The internet has changed this through social media platforms. Bulky is not a bad thing, it shows the impressive abilities of women’s bodies.

Certainly, women are capable of athletic ability and prowess. Women can attain strength and power. There are some biological differences that effect physical fitness capacity. It is important to realize that strength and power are two different entities.

          Power can be defined as the the ability to do work  and generate force. Applied to weight lifting its how fast an individual can lift the weight. It seems that there is a sex difference in power generation. Cathe cites the records of women jumpers competing in the Olympics. There is a 17% difference in performance. Another example is sprinting . Regardless of sex, power can  be enhanced through training. One method is the use of explosive power drills. Power cleans, kettlebell swings and plyometrics  fall under  this classification. Plyometrics are exercises that require jumping in short periods of time . When people age strength does not only decrease,but power dissipates as well. This can be reversed by power drills which can improve this aspect of fitness. Research according to Cathe indicates that you lose a total of 8% power for every decade of life after age 20.

box-jump-exercise-benefits-workoutWomen should make power drills a part of their exercise routine. Doing so improves an important part of functional fitness. Generating force quickly can make a difference in sports performance that requires explosive force. A powerlifter lifting a weight as fast as they can is not a demonstration of strength only,but power. So from a perspective of exercise physiology strength and power are not the same entity.

        The definition of physical strength is less complicated. It is the ability of the muscles to exert force on objects. The misconception is that bigger muscle equals more strength. The pivotal factor is related to muscle fiber types in the human body. When discussing strength the focus is on skeletal muscle of the body. Type II muscle fibers are responsible for explosive power, They are built for strength,but have poor endurance in comparsion to type I muscle fibers. Type II muscle fibers appear to be thicker. Less myoglobin is found in them and contraction is higher. Muscle fibers have different cellular properties.




There is variation in terms of mitochondria amount, energy utilization, time, myoglobin, and myosin ATPase. Myoglobin is essential due to the fact the protein stores and transports oxygen to muscle cells. This red protein contains heme which aids in the physiological processing of oxygen to muscle cells. Myosin is the protein that acts as a contractile tissue for muscle with the assistance of actin. The average man has more muscle mass in comparison to fat. Estimates vary in terms of strength, however according to California Lutheran University women have 55% of men’s total upper body strength. The range for lower body strength was estimated at 75%. That means there is a 45% difference in upper body strength and a 25% difference in the lower body. That means a woman can have 70% of a man’s total body strength. The is quite significant considering the differences in sexual dimorphism. Larger muscle fibers and more II classification can explain the sex based differences in physical strength. Endocrinology also explains the stronger bodies of men. During puberty strength spurts occur in boys due to increasing testosterone level. At once boys reach their full adult growth they have both a strength and power advantage. Training can negate some of this, but not entirely.

        Exercise intensity is essential for women. If they are going to see results they will have to train harder. The suggestion Cathe makes is to train with 80% of the one rep max. Doing so will activate growth hormone which enable muscles to grow. Hormones do play a role later in life with women who struggle to maintain muscle mass after menopause. Incorporation of explosive strength exercises. Cathe suggests doing lighter weights at a faster rate with 30% of your one rep max. This method is lighter resistance, but exercising at faster speed. Progressive overload can be done with heavier weights at slower speed. Which ever method is used be mindful of proper form to prevent injury. Cathe Friedrich  states ” don’t worry about becoming muscle-bound by resistance training.” Lifting weights does build muscle, however women should not be ashamed of the bodies they sculpted. The transformations can be amazing as she describes ” you’ll only become stronger and more powerful – and lose body fat with a combination of power and strength training.” Cathe’s statement just contradicted the other one. The physiques on stage are exaggerated due to tans, low body fat, and lighting. Their appearance is different in the off season when fat returns to their bodies.

It is false to say that women lose their femininity by building their bodies. It can enhance the female figure. Any woman can benefit from such training. Weight training can strengthen bones and protect the health of the muscular system. One does not have to train to the degree of a professional athlete to see benefits. What can be concluded is that men have more strength and power. This does not mean women cannot increase their strength and power; there is a difference in total physical fitness capacity. The result is known, yet this leads to another question : do men and women gain strength differently in the process of training?

      Cathe Friedrich  also explores the question do men and women gain strength differently. Her second answer was written after explaining the difference between male and female differences in power. Her research made her shift positions stating women can build muscle too. This is correct and women may actually react better to weightlifting exercise. Muscular hypertrophy can occur in a woman’s body due to training. There are some women who may produce higher levels testosterone, which may provide some advantage. This is not the only hormone that enables muscular hypertrophy . Hormones are not the only way women can build muscle. Somatotype is a contributor. A woman theoretically with a mesomorphic body type may be able to build more muscle than an endomorphic man. Then the years of training must be considered. Building muscle and strength takes years or maybe decades. Consistency is the key to adding more and both maintaining muscle on the body. The factor of growth hormone seems more important to women’s bodies. Seeing as women produce less testosterone, growth hormone increase is the response they get from progressive overload training. The hormone is protecting the muscles as a response to strenuous exercise.

       Estrogen does have a benefit. It can protect women’s muscles during exercise. This explains why after menopause when estrogen levels drop, so does women’s muscle mass. This demonstrates why physical activity must be a part of women’s lives. Estrogen might explain why women are able to handle more training volume. Too often women’s physiology and biology is discussed in terms of disadvantage. Yet, exercise science still has more to learn about women’s physical fitness capacity. Cathe Friedrich explains “due to hormonal limitations, women have to work harder than men to build muscle mass.” Even the most talented athletes have to work hard to reach the top level of performance.  This is not a task that can be done immediately. The effort and diligence should be seen as a badge of honor. At the same time women should not be afraid to develop themselves to their physical maximum. It should be remembered that women’s extra fat could provide a benefit in swimming as a source of metabolic function. There could be more benefits estrogen has to athletic performance, but it has not been fully investigated.

         When talking about strength muscle fibers are important. Men and women’s muscles on a cellular level. If one were to examine a sample of male and female muscle they would be the same under a microscope. The real difference is in the amount of type II and type I muscle fibers. Men have a higher portion of type II muscle fiber in their bodies. Type II are not as endurance based, but carry more strength. Women’s higher type I muscle fibers allows for slower muscle breakdown. Sports that require more muscular endurance may be easier for women compared to ones that require brute strength. Women can still build muscle and strength, but they need to train hard enough to challenge the muscles in their body. It also helps to diversify your exercises as Cathe explains: ”  If you’re a female, you can also benefit from including more compound, multi-joint exercises in your routine, including deep squats, deadlifts, and bench press.” Some women are not physically active enough, much to the detriment of their own health. Another factor involves diet and nutrition, Caloric intake should be high enough to feed and provide energy to the muscles. Protein needs to be a large part of the diet. What can be concluded is that women’s bodies can be made stronger through exercise and nutrition. There is a difference in strength and power among the sexes, yet this should not discourage women. More women are active in sports and fitness compared to previous generations. Exercise physiology will eventually catch up to meet their sports performance needs. Cathe Friedrich provides an simple to understand reference for both the general public and professional athletes to use.

Cathe Fitness: How Men and Women Differ in Strength-Power and Do Women Gain Strength Differently Than Men ?

The Military Studies “hyperfit” Women Who Pass Grueling Courses


The Military Studies “Hyperfit” Women

Women are now serving in combat roles. The United States Military is taking note and making adjustments to one of the most significant changes in the institution in decades. Combat jobs can be physically demanding. Men on average have more muscle mass and a higher aerobic capacity compared to women. This means that the most physically demanding jobs may not have equal numbers of men and women. While many argue that sexual dimorphism justifies excluding women from certain military occupational specialties, women have demonstrated that they can reach a level of physical fitness to meet the demands of combat. Some women have made progress in majority male branches in the military.  Thirty women have earned their Army Ranger tab. Two women as reported by the Military Times have passed Marine Infantry School. Three women have also passed the initial phase of Green Beret training. The numbers may be low, but does prove a point. There are qualified women who can serve in elite units. As long as a person is qualified, then they have the right to apply to a combat job. There will be challenges of gender integration in the US Military. Sex prejudice must be countered to prevent a decline in cohesion. The biggest challenge is to figure out how exactly women trained and prepared mentally for such grueling training. The US Military is finally taking time to examine what women need to do to be successful in physically demanding occupations of  combat.

          The term “hyperfit” is used to describe women who successfully accomplished their combat training. There is a problem using such a term. It almost implies that these women are some form of biological anomalies.  The sex bias here is that only men can be good at tasks that require physical prowess. Women who reach such physicality are considered some how abnormal. The term “hyperfit” is an incorrect assessment. This is an analysis of physical fitness capacity. Physical fitness capacity is the measure of how strong, fast, and skilled a person can become through a training regimen. Men and women are both capable of increasing fitness levels, but there is a difference in terms of total physical fitness capacity. There is no “men’s fitness” or “women’s fitness.” The questioned posed by the study was who are these women and what makes them competitive ? Holly McClung a nutritional physiologist stated “the real point of this study is to characterize this unique cohort of women that has made it through these traditionally male trainings.” Training itself does not have a designated sex. Exercises are not “male” or “female” exercises. The only reason training would be considered male is because men were the only ones to take them. Women were banned from combat jobs up until 2013. Even fitness examinations for men and women were different, which was not helping female service members. Their standards were lower and not helping them strengthen their bodies as a means of injury prevention. With the new gender neutral standards, it puts an emphasis on functional fitness.

Women have the same muscles as men. The difference is in body composition.
Large muscles do not automatically correlate to more strength. A large factor is the total type II muscle fibers in the body.
Aerobic capacity is determined by the Vo2 max
army woman strong
There is a difference between a training simulation and an actual battlefield situation

McClung who works with the Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine cannot be condemned for  possible bias. The majority of studies in regards to exercise physiology focus on men. Women’s bodies are different, but sexual dimorphism does not imply inferiority. Training needs to be adjusted to accommodate their needs. There are certain attributes that who of a high physical fitness capacity have to meet the demands of physically demanding occupations. Strength and speed are critical, however there is a mental aspect that is forgotten. Persistence in high stress environments is a necessity for any soldier in combat operations.

        The psychological aspect to women being successful in physically demanding combat jobs cannot be overlooked. Holly McClung was interested in the mental aspects required for women to pass such physical fitness assessments. Military training can be thought of as a sort of sports training. Every athlete knows mental state is crucial to performance. Written tests were given to assess leadership quality and behavior of the women. The type of resilience and determination has been colloquially described as grit. The women have a sort of mental toughness which drives them to succeed. Mark Esper the Secretary of Defense stated that this was the case of women who are successful in combat jobs. The women who are going to be successful are the ones who are more goal oriented. Motivation and persistence seem to be the biggest factor to completing training from a psychological perspective.

Standards are moving to having functional fitness assessments.
Could there be something physiologically unique about these women ? If so, what in particular makes them able to cope with physical demand ?


Training has a psychological aspect.
Some concepts used for improving athletic performance can be applied to US Military training.

An example of a military psychological test is described by the Military Times as follows : “the military version of the resilience test lists statements and asks people to determine on a scale of one to five if the statement is definitely or mostly false, “don’t know” or mostly or definitely true. Some examples of the statements are: I enjoy most things in life; I often feel helpless; I like to have a lot of structure in my life; I carefully plan just about everything I do; it bothers me when my daily routine gets interrupted; and my successes are because of my effort and ability.” Personality tests may not be as reliable, but it can reveal aspects of particular behavior and mannerisms. Personality can change over a lifetime and molded by certain experiences. A person entering military service will be completely different once they  begin and progress through their career. The assumption is that the physically strongest person would be able to adapt, but personality shows who will crack under intense pressure.Resilience and consistency may be the two psychological factors that enhance the likelihood of success.

      The intent through testing is to see if women have particular biological and physical makers that explain their success in physically  demanding tasks. The tests measured Vo2 max scores. This tells how much oxygen consumption is occurring at peak exercise rate. A person who is fit or a top performing athlete could have a score of 80. The average inactive person about 30. One study claimed that women have a more efficient utilization of oxygen compared to men, but it has yet to be confirmed. Breathing tests were also used for women. Bone density scans were also conducted along with both examinations of blood , calcium, as well as iron levels. These are excellent ways to see just how these combat ready women’s bodies function. The problem is that they did not mention anything of a biopsy or body composition analysis of the female service members. Muscle fiber type is critical depending on what physical task a person is doing.

Aerobic capacity is an important part of fitness. Lung and heart size are factors in that element of fitness.
Even with new technology, physical fitness is still important for combat .
4f705a1140519914 (1).jpg
Strength does not just come from the muscles. It is a combination of bone mass, tendons, ligaments, and muscle fiber type.
Technically, women were already in combat . There were no frontlines in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  What the end of the 2013 ban  really meant women could apply for military occupational specialties in an official capacity.

The women who were in the study sample should have a precise measure of strength. Hand grips are useful for quick approximations, yet weightlifting should be a part of this experiment. Bone density could be good enough for now, but further investigation would be needed. The skeletal structure provides some indication that depending on its size, more muscle could be housed on there. The women with the highest bone density could be the strongest, yet this misses the factor of muscular endurance. The women with type II muscle fiber would have the most explosive strength, while women with more type I fibers would have more endurance. It was not mentioned what was the average weight for the physically fit service members. What could be assumed is that their fat levels were high enough that it does not cause any  menstrual related problems, but a higher muscle mass ration compared to women who were inactive. A picture can be seen here, which indicates the physical aspects of women’s success. Such women have high amounts of physical strength and aerobic capacity. The idea was to unlock a secret of certain biological attributes, yet it seems commonly known.  What can be extrapolated from this is that women need  a specific exercise and nutrition regimen to ensure the increase in physical fitness capacity.

Tired and struggling this female captain completed her training. Notice that the positive environment also encouraged her success, not solely personal motivation.  

Prior to attempting any course of training, physical fitness prior to entry must be considered. Doing so would prepare women’s bodies to more rigorous physical activity and be the best method at injury prevention. Women would have to be well prepared before even attempting a basic training course. The women who are able to handle physically demanding task may not be so remarkably different from other women. If they were, then it should display itself in their genetics. An analysis of DNA was not done, but that may not reveal anything new. What is known about women’s biological and physical factors for success is that they have a certain level of muscular strength, endurance, and speed .

       What should also be incorporated in the study is what exercises and nutritional guidelines do  the elite female service members follow. Too often many forget that diet and nutrition are essential factors in physical fitness. The food consumed acts as fuel for the human body. This also relates to metabolism and the citric acid cycle. Although the women were not asked about food consumption habits, it was clear that much of it was either low sugar and fat. Proteins, carbohydrates,  and some fats are required for a balanced diet. Women have to have the right nutritional needs met to perform better. Women make the mistake sometimes of eating less to control weight. This is actually more harmful to the body and metabolic function in general. Food consumption must be adjusted to the amount of activity level a person does. The female soldier must get a quality diet to fuel the body for long term combat.As for exercise, women need consistent weight training to build the strength required to handle combat related occupations. Upper body strength training must be emphasized. This is the hardest section of the body for women to build. The lower body does not pose such a difficulty when women train. Another technique would be to see how female athletes train for high levels of competition. Apply similar methods could enable women to pass physical fitness testing. Increasing running speed would most likely be more difficult compared to building strength. Women’s pelvis, heart, and lung size effect running total running speed. These are anatomical factors that are not changed through running. However, there is the benefit of having lower body strength closer to men’s. Exercise must be done before joining the armed forces and be consistent after.

         The issue of sample size becomes a problem for physical fitness studies. There are not enough women to test to get a complete picture of what makes them successful in physically demanding tasks. More women need to compete MOS training to be a part of the study. Working with a small sample is not enough to make a general statement. What can be extrapolated is that there are a few women who are qualified, yet seeing as the ban was in place there may be more. Low numbers does not mean women are not capable or qualified. If there is equal opportunity employment and no discrimination, the numbers will increase. Gradually, since 2013 the numbers have been increasing seeing women working in combat positions. The sample size may never be adequate enough seeing as more men are in the US Military compared to women. The dilemma comes from the realization that the institution will never be completely gender balanced. The reason the gender gap in pay exists is partly  due to the type of employment women seek. Dangerous work or employment that involves technology or science women may not be interested in. The 250,000 positions opened may not see a drastic increase in the number of female combat soldiers.

It makes no sense to ban women from combat jobs if they are qualified. This only hurts the military by reducing the number of qualified soldiers.
Culture, discrimination, and employment choice influence women’s career path. Women entering combat positions will be a major adjustment for the US  Military.
The argument women are not strong enough has been used before. It was common when women applied to be firefighters or involved in law enforcement. Obviously there are strong women, but they may not select jobs with a high amount of risk.

Few women rushed to apply for infantry positions. The Navy and the Air Force seem to have more progress in comparison to the Marines. The next phase of the study would probably have to wait at minimum a decade to get more women for the study. Holly McClung stated if more women graduate from military training courses, they will be added to the study. This depends on how many women apply to those positions and how many successfully complete their courses. The new standards are gender neutral meaning that there will not be a different set of physical fitness requirements based around sex. Recruits will have to adjust and prepare for physical fitness testing  revisions. This may delay subjects for the new study that was approved for McClung’s team.

       There will be at one point the question of the selective service and draft. It would be unfair that men have this responsibility, while women have a choice. An obstacle is the physical fitness of the US population. The majority of Americans may either have a weight related issue or are just not active enough physically. Most work present in the 21st century is not manual labor. Although such jobs still exist, these will overtime disappear due to automation and technology. Drafting women must take into account that they would need an initial stage of  physical fitness training before entering basic and then advancing to MOS. Women with an athletic background have a higher chance of passing compared to the average woman.

There is a difference in physical fitness between the average woman and a woman who has trained for years.
If women get the same training and  meet the same criteria as their male counterparts, combat integration will be successful.
More women not just in the US are taking up arms in both in official armies   and insurgent group or paramilitary groups.

There either has to be a weight management program for draftees and weight training program to build their strength. What should be understood is that there are men who fail the physical fitness tests, but may be accepted anyway. Realistically, most Americans would not favor a draft or mandatory military service, The memories of the Vietnam War still haunt policy makers and military officials.  The United States has one of the best military forces in the world, mainly because it innovates and can acclimate to a rapidly changing environment. Women’s integration into combat positions will only strengthen the US Military. Former Secretary of Defense John Mattis claimed that it was too early to say that women in combat could be successful. Women when he made that statement were in combat jobs although in small numbers. When these numbers increase, then a full assessment can be made. Only then could women be drafted, when the test run phase of combat integration is complete.

        Holly McClung  and her team expressed a desire to compare results with men. Getting subjects for that would be more simple compared to women. Even without testing it can be predicted that overall men’s physical fitness capacity would be higher. Olympic performance records show that men and women at the highest levels of athleticism do not have the same range of strength and speed. There can be cases of overlap on rare occasion in performance.   Detractors erroneous state that this is justification enough to restrict women from combat jobs. The Navy, Army, Marines, and  Air Force have a different set of physical fitness standards. Examining them, one can realize that women could pass these, if approached in the correct manner. The Army  Physical Fitness Test  had not been changed since 1980. Certain exercises were phased out to reduce injury of recruits.

The new Amy Physical Fitness Test has six events that must be completed in 50 minutes.
There are women who are more than qualified. The US Military has to accept that women want to contribute.
Warfare has become highly technological. The introduction of guns, artillery, aircraft, submarines, tanks, drones,  and nuclear weapons have changed the way wars are fought.

Sit-ups were removed mainly due to the fact it could have caused more back issues to recruits. Women are not doing the flexed arm hang anymore, because if trained the right way regular pull-ups are not an impossibility. Due to differences related to physiology and anatomy the numbers of women in the most physically demanding occupations would be less. The Navy SEALs and Marines could be the most challenging to increase the numbers of female combat soldiers. The Navy and Air Force could see more women in comparison. The Army will have to catch up to these other branches. Women’s test failures may be higher until they get adjusted to the new fitness standards. The US Military plans on accelerating its combat standards change. There have been objections. Some fear that the new standards will reduce the size of America’s fighting force. The changes will take some time to acclimate to, but is possible. More women needed to be studied for the most efficient way  to successfully make high performing combat soldiers.


The Military Studies “hyperfit” Women Who Pass Grueling Courses

Dr. Barbra Semukula- How Muscle Development Differs For Women (2015)


How Muscle Development Differs For Women

Dr. Barbra Semukula answers questions about women and weight training. This was an interview conducted by the Baltimore Sun. Dr. Semukula is a sports medicine specialist with the Anne Arundel Medical Center. Clearly a professional with much expertise,but there are some minor problems with her answers. There are no such thing as “bulky muscles.” Muscle development can very from person to person. Just like like the term toned it has little scientific basis to exercise physiology.  Dr. Semukula is correct that women can experience health benefits from weight training, but do not experience the same level of muscular hypertrophy as males. She even advises that women can do some stretching to their workout routine.  The reason this interview is important is that a female medical professional is giving advice. Women are more likely to trust the sports performance advice from another woman.There seems to be a large amount of misinformation about the human body and health. Women’s bodies are either misunderstood or subject to medical myths. Here  Dr. Barbra Semukula provides basic explanations that do not require access to physiology or anatomy textbooks.

What’s different about men and women’s muscles ?   

At the cellular level there is not difference between muscle of the sexes. The physiology and response is the same. Strength training is dependent on intensity, progressive overload, and a proper diet. Due to endocrinology and body composition men have higher amounts of muscle mass. It is more than just have large amounts of mass muscle fiber type is essential. These muscle fibers include Type I fibers, Type IIa fibers and Type IIb fibers. Which type a person has can var regardless of sex, but on average men have more fast twitch muscle fibers. These are required for explosive physical power. Slow twitch fibers help women have more endurance in the muscles.  Dr. Barbra Semukula stated ”  strength gains are the result of muscle recruitment and muscle hypertrophy, and women have the same capacity for achieving strength gains as men.” That is not entirely correct. A woman and man on the same strength training regimen will see a different magnitude in relation to physical fitness capacity. Women can produce two thirds the amount of physical force  a man can. This is related to the physiology of the male and female reproductive system. The ovaries produce more estrogens and the testes produce more testosterone. Both sex hormones are in the bodies of males and females.


strong men.jpg


However a woman who trains seriously can surpass an average male in strength. If muscle cells from man and a woman were put under a microscope it would be difficult to tell them apart. The men and women in the pictures above could have biopsies of their muscle tissue and it would be impossible to tell which sex it belongs to. One of the biggest factors in muscular hypertrophy is somatotype. While endocrinology effects body composition, body type can be determined by genetics and nutritional consumption. The  opening of the article explains ”  Women won’t likely develop bulky muscles when they work out like many men do, and most probably don’t want to, says Dr. Barbara Semakula, sports medicine specialist at Anne Arundel Medical Center. ” Women with mesomorphic body types and low levels of myostatin protein can experience significant muscular development. There  is no difference between “bulky muscles” or “toned muscles.” Everyone has muscle in their body the size of them depends on amount of exercise, fitness level, and individual health condition.

Do men and women exercise differently ? 

Dr. Barbra Semukula reveals that women normally try to say away from weight training for fear of getting muscular. The physiques of athletes are developed through years of training and specific diet. Some athletes may resort to performance enhancing drug use to attain a certain appearance. This does not create a champion athlete. There is still an unfair double standard when it comes to women and body image. People may start exercise for the wrong reasons. Improving appearance seems to be the large motivator, but this could easily lead to body dysmorphia. Exercise should be made to be enjoyable and a stress reduction activity. It should not be sex specific either. There remains the attitude that men have the weight room and women have the cardio area. If weight loss or increasing physical fitness levels is your objective it will not happen with cardio only. Weightlifting may be a better solution in terms of efficiency. Women from an early age are not encouraged to be physically active, which can later on be detrimental to their health.




If women do begin to lift they remain with using lighter weights. While this may be exercising the muscles, it may not be as efficient in terms of time.  Using lighter weights would be better for higher muscular endurance, but it would not significantly increase strength. The idea is too increase the amount gradually to cause microtrauma to the muscle tissue. When the recovery process happens, the fibers will grow stronger. The only way for women to be successful is to have a training program that is designed for their physiology and body type. Muscles on women is not a horrible thing. It can actually have benefits. Exercises can be done by both men and women. Women should engage in upper body strengthening exercise to prevent shoulder related injuries.

              There seems to be conflicting evidence on stretching what does the evidence say ? 

This topic is much debated among exercise physiologists. Stretching too much could be doing more harm to the body prior to a competition. Dr. Barbra Semukula explains that there is very little research that proves that stretching is good before workouts or prior to a sporting event. She does cite that it does have a benefit for flexibility.  Dr. Barbra Semukula then reveals from patient studies that doing this daily can also increase muscle stretch. It can be debated whether or not it can dramatically improve performance. The only way to know this would be to conduct and experiment of athletes. They would need to be divided into two groups one set that does stretches and the ones that do not. Their performances would be measured and then analyzed to show if it truly is effective. It is even more confusing when attempting to determine  at what point should stretching be done. One myth that never goes away is that having a certain amount of muscle with make you less flexible.

23765_1183_103b_nmurnikoviene_123_112lo 23771_1183_109b_nmurnikoviene_123_497lo


 Some have even have made the erroneous assumption that too much muscle will harm your range of motion. Adding muscle to the body will not make you less flexible. Joint structure, ligaments,tendons, age, and sex can determine how flexible you are. Women’s bone structure is different, which enables them  to be more flexible than men. If a large female bodybuilder can still do moves that require flexibility, this proves muscle mass does not have as a dramatic impact.

What muscles are important to stretch to avoid sports injury and are they different for women? 

Muscle cells are the same for men and women. Men and women have the same muscles. The difference is in total amount in relation to sexual dimorphism. This element of it is flexible among individuals regardless of sex. There are theories on why sexual dimorphism emerged. One was that it was important  for our early hominid ancestors to hunt. The other theory has to do  with sex selection and mating. Men grew bigger  to be fighters for mates because they were competing with one another. The more physically powerful males  would have access to more mates, there by making the trait of strength naturally selected. These are mere  theories,not facts but our bodies do provide evidence of  the past of human evolution. Stretching will not do much for injury prevention. It could be a temporary solution to stiffness,but there are more efficient methods of preventing injury.

musclefiber usa_today_11202710.0


Dr. Semakula articulates : “The important muscles to stretch depend on the type of activity you will be performing.” She then delineates further “For example, basketball, football and volleyball players use both their arms and legs, so they should stretch the shoulder, especially the rotator cuff muscles, and the legs, especially the quads and hamstrings.”  For these intense activities, stretching would not do much. Women do have higher rates of upper body, shoulder, and ACL injuries. One solution is to focus on building  musculoskeletal mass in the upper body. Doing so strengthens not only bones, but ligaments and tendons. There are methods that also can prevent ACL injuries. Being consistent with training better  prepares the body for certain physical activities. Building more strength in the quadriceps and hamstrings. Having the proper landing technique for jumps would be more effective than stretching. When pivoting knees and hips should be bent to reduce the amount of stress on the ACL. Exercises such as chest presses, bicep curls. pull ups, bench presses, and push ups can strengthen the upper body. These methods would be better than just doing stretching.

Are there times when women should or  should’t stretch or should do the stretches like being pregnant or certain surgeries ?   

If stretching  is not as effective as other exercises,then it seems pointless in comparison. It can be useful in improving flexibility. Stretching is probably not a good idea during pregnancy or after surgery.   Moderate levels of exercise are good for anyone. Pregnant women are encouraged to get at least some level of physical activity. Intensity obviously will have to be adjusted so no harm will come to the developing fetus. There is one error that Dr. Semakula makes in her statement : ” As the pregnancy progresses and the uterus enlarges, the belly is getting bigger, and there can be a relative blocking of blood return to the heart resulting in decreased cardiac output and hypotension — which may be perceived as lightheadedness. ” The organ’s of a woman’s body do not get smaller, they shift to accommodate an expanding uterus and growing baby. The stomach does not get bigger rather it is shifted upwards. Shrinking of the organs would imply some form of atrophy.

gestation strong lady


Some women may be susceptible more so to hypotension than others. That is why it is critical that one consults their primary care doctor before embarking on a new fitness program. If women joints also change during pregnancy yoga and stretching would not be advised. Some women experience joint pain from the increase in weight and hormonal changes.  Dr. Semakula forgets to mention fertility may be effected when women compete in sports that require them to have low body fat levels. Fat is needed in the female body for the purpose of ovulation . Bodybuilders do compete at lower body fat levels. The concern goes away during the off season when women’s fat levels go back up. Women recovering from surgery would need some kind of exercise. Being bed ridden causes muscle mass to decrease. As we age it continues to lower. Some weight training after surgery can rebuild lost musculoskeletal mass. Women can regain their physical edge after pregnancy. The myth is that pregnancy means the end of a woman’s athletic career, because changes in endocrine function effect physical fitness capacity. Athletes like Serena Williams and Allyson Felix  have returned to competition in just a short period after they have given birth.

Are There Differences in the way men and women recover from intense sports exercise ? 

At the time when this was written in 2015, there was little information o sex differences  in relation to recovery from training. It appears some studies conducted have shown that women actually may recover better after training sessions. Estrogen does help with protection of muscle from damage. This means that  women can recover faster after a training session. There is a tendency to believe that men have all the physical advantages,but exercise physiology is disproving this. Men may have more absolute muscular strength, but women have the advantage of muscular endurance.




Depending on which sport a person is competing in endurance and strength could be more important than the other. A marathon runner would need endurance to run long distances over a certain period of time. A powerlifter  needs as much explosive strength to lift heavier weight. Training must be adjusted to match what performance target an athlete is attempting to achieve. Unknown to Dr. Semakula, there is a difference in exercise recovery and it appears to favor women.


Muscular development does not differ entirely between the sexes. The divergence comes from the outcome in relation to total physical fitness capacity. Men have greater levels of muscular hypertrophy mainly due to endocrinology and a larger skeletal structure.  This is not the only factor alters the outcome of a training program. Genetics and somatotype determine some aspects of a person’s muscular strength potential. Weight training and exercise sessions that are consistent. Metabolism and diet are  also  factors that Dr.Barbra Semakula forgot to mention. Diet and nutrition are pivotal when attempting weight management. Seeing as body composition is different, losing weight and gaining muscle is harder for women. It can be done if activity level is high enough to burn calories. What type of food is consumed is also essential. High sugar and fat diets can result in weight issues and other health conditions. The consumption of enough protein and vegetables can ensure that muscular gain can occur. Women’s sports exercise physiology is still relatively new, so there is still more to learn. Dr. Barbra Semakula is one of a small group of women involved in sports medicine. Only when the numbers increase and their is serious scientific investigation can certain questions about women’s physical capabilities can be answered. Women can obviously build muscle and it may have a health benefit for their bodies.




Diseases such as osteoporosis and sarcopenia become threats to the health of the muscular system. Women are at a higher risk seeing as the have less muscle mass in their bodies. Weight training can strength bones and muscle as well as act as prevention against such medical conditions. Besides these benefits exercise can also be good for heart health and blood pressure. One does not have to train to the degree of a professional athlete to improve health. Women may still hold the fear of  “bulkiness” but this  does not exist. The women on a bodybuilding stage weigh less than the average man. It should be noted they may appear large on stage, but their off season weights are higher. Even then with more body fat  they are smaller in terms of weight to the average man. The women are tiny compared to their bodybuilding male counterparts. Men who compete can reach the 200 lbs range. Female bodybuilders are not “bulky” they have sculpted their physiques to a certain aesthetic. Myogenesis and muscular hypertrophy  functions in the same way in both sexes. At the most basic level it means a person can exercise, have a response to that stimuli, and through rest have muscle grow. Biological sex is not a limitation to athletic performance or achievement.

Dr. Barbra Semukula- How Muscle Development Differs For Women (2015)

Livestrong :The Differences Between Bulky and Toned Muscles

Bulky Muscle and Toned Muscle

There seems to be much disinformation about fitness and the human body in general. When it comes to health or science the public lacks a basic understanding. Livestrong is a trusted source about fitness and health information, yet it is not immune from errors occasionally.  Jody Braverman made an egregious mistake attempting to make the argument there is a difference between toned and bulky muscle. This terminology has not basis in anatomical study. Muscles are made out the same cells and if examined by biopsy one would not be able to distinguish “toned” or “bulky” muscle. There are different muscle fiber types, which can effect physical fitness. The only use for these terms is to describe aesthetics in relation to bodybuilding sports. Braverman articulates that position : ” some people want to add size to their muscles, while other people just want to look more defined.” Even with the question of aesthetics, toned and bulky could be relative based on a person’s perspective. Saying there are toned bodies and bulky ones also is inaccurate. Both bodies are still building muscle, the difference is in amount of body mass and fitness goals .  A contradiction can be seen when expressing “bulky muscles are larger in size than toned muscles.” Muscle size can vary depending on genetics, endocrinology, training regimen, and nutrition. Resistance training can generate a response from the body if done consistently. Although it would simple to just say that Jody Braverman is perpetuating false information she actually does make valid recommendations. For a beginner, its important to realize what are truths and misconceptions. This requires an understanding of the anatomy and physiology of the muscular system.

          The human body consists of cells. Each of these cells depending on the organ system are different. The muscular system consists of cells known as myocytes. Cells are the foundation of human tissue. There are three different types of muscular tissue in the human body. Skeletal, visceral , and cardiac muscle vary in terms of physiology, physical attributes, and their roles in the muscular system. Skeletal muscle is involved in movement of the human body. Tendons are the links that fasten bones to the muscle. Skeletal muscle has multiple nuclei with cells that are striated. The movement is voluntary in relation to this type of muscle. When skeletal muscle contracts movement is produced. The skeletal muscle can be long and can run the length of the muscle of the body part. This type of muscle has actin and myosin filaments, which aid in contraction. Muscle is formed by a process known as myogenesis.

The basic structure of the myocyte.
The human body at the smallest level is composed of atoms. Atoms can be bonded together to form molecules. Cells form organ systems of the body.
These are the different types of cells found in the human body. Stem cells act as the originator of the cells that later differentiate themselves.

Visceral muscle does not have striations. The term viscera refers to internal organs such as the stomach and intestines. The shape is in that of a spindle each possessing a nucleus . Visceral muscle is involuntary and has to move substances in the lumens of the body. This type of muscle can be found in the digestive tract and the walls of blood vessels. The contraction rate is slower for visceral muscle compared to skeletal muscle. When visceral muscle contracts in the intestine food moves in the lumen. Fast contracting muscle would cause digestive problems if it were there. When contraction happens in the blood vessels of the body, blood pressure increases. Slow contraction protects internal organs that need move certain fluids or food in the body without causing damage. Cardiac muscle form the walls of the human heart. When the heart muscle contracts blood gets pumped. This also results in the heart’s beat. Cardiac muscle contains feature of both visceral and skeletal muscle. It has striations, but also is involuntary. The heart has branching cells which have one nucleus. Relevant to the topic of bulky and toned muscle, it is clear there is no difference in tissue of cellular attributes. If tissue samples were extracted from a toned or bulky person there would not be a radical difference.

           The terms bulky and toned could only have relevance in terms of strength sport aesthetics.  This is mostly subjective. Braverman  provides her perspective, which can be debated : ” toning actually has more to do with your body fat level than the muscle itself.” She confuses lifting weights for weight loss. Simple weight loss can be done with a change in diet and some exercise, which can reduce body fat. Getting the muscularity level of what is called toned requires more effort and consistency. Losing just body fat is not going to produce a certain muscularity level, it requires an amount of exercise stimuli to induce muscular  hypertrophy. Depending on who you ask bulky and toned could have various meanings. There also is an element of gender bias both conscious and unconscious when these terms are used. Bulky has been sometimes used to vituperate women of a certain level of muscularity. Toned refers to a more acceptable level of female body image appearance. Unfortunately, many fitness professionals, gym goers, and people the sports world engage in this double standard directed at women. The subtle message is that it is not appropriate for women to be strong or muscular. The positive change is that there is growing acceptance of women who look different and want to display their physical prowess.

These women are not “bulky” they have developed their physiques for aesthetic presentation.  

Braverman may be falling into such biases with statements such as : “many women desire to have toned, lean muscles that are normal in size or slightly developed and visible underneath the skin — whether a little or a lot.” The idea of normal size muscles may perplex readers. Muscles be manipulated to either look different. Female bodybuilders may look different from other types of women, but their muscles are no more abnormal from another person’s muscles. The contest requires them to be at low body fat , defined, and to apply a tan. This may seem strange to many who are not familiar with the sport. They do not look that way  the entire year taking breaks wit their off season. Some athletes you would not know how muscular they are with their clothes on. These women are seen as bulky, but they do not weigh as much as they appear. Even in their off season weight they weigh less than average man in the US. According to the CDC the average weight of an American man is 197.6 lbs. Alina Popa’s contest weight is 175 lbs and Margie Martin is 154 lbs. If we are measuring bulkiness off of size alone, these champion bodybuilders would not fit that description. A woman who is considered tone has only a certain level of muscular development. The level is minimal in comparison to the highest level which would be a female bodybuilder.

Compare the toned women above to the untrained women at the bottom. The women above have more muscle from training and the women below lack development. 

Again it seems this is more an argument of appearance rather than actual exercise physiology.  The description of bulky muscles almost seems comical : “If you want to picture bulky muscles, just think of the Incredible Hulk — or maybe just some of the guys at your gym. ” Women have become accomplished bodybuilders from athletes such as Corey Everson, Lenda Murray, and Iris Kyle. The largest men and women in bodybuilding are not just building large slabs of muscle there has to be a focus on symmetry, definition, and general conditioning. Building such a physique is more complicated than lifting heavy weights and drinking protein shakes. Lifting weights to either tone or bulk involves causing microtrauma and then resting to allow recovery. During that process the fiber will grow stronger. Fitness goals vary among individuals,  Women are now competing as serious athletes and a large amount are wanting to reach their physical fitness maximum. The problem is that exercise physiology is slow to catch up to women’s levels of participation with reliable information and resources . Women should not be concerned about being bulky or toned because from an exercise physiology perspective, these terms do not exist. Women can have varying levels of muscularity so the lines between bulky and tone become blurred. Just how much muscle is bulky or toned? For some the defined fitness model or physique competitor may be considered “too much” in their view.

The varying degrees of muscular development. The classes women can compete in are bodybuilding, fitness, figure, physique, and bikini divisions. 

A woman has the right to look like whatever she pleases. While detractors disparage women’s athletic accomplishments, other with a more open mind see how amazing their feats are. Women’s pursuit and development of such strength is a testament to how incredible the human body is. Bulky and tone muscle do not exist as biological realities. They are general descriptions of appearance and not even precise ones.

           What Jody Braverman does articulate correctly is how somatatotype has an impact on muscular development in relation to physical fitness capacity. The term somatotype  refers to body composition and shape. There are three classifications which include ectomorphs, endomorphs, and mesomorphs. It should be noted that these terms are very general and it possible that some people could be in between classifications. The origin of these terms did not come from sports science, rather psychology. William Sheldon developed these terms from his concept of constitutional psychology, which had basis in eugenics, physiognomy,  and  anthropometry. Sheldon claimed that body type correlated to personality.  This has been discredited, but the terms describing body type still remain in use in fitness and physical education circles. Ectomorphs have difficulty gaining fat or muscle mass. What this means is they will have to train harder to reach a certain level of physical strength. Braverman contradicts herself saying ”  it’s easy for them to looked toned, but very difficult for them to bulk up.” Muscle tone would still be muscle, which it has been established hard for tin body types to gain. Their appearance would not be that of muscle definition, due to the fact they lack the mass of muscular tissue.

Ectomorphic body types have limited amounts of fat and muscle. The advantage is that their metabolism prevents excessive weight gain. 

Ectomorphs may be at a disadvantage in terms of total muscular mass gain, but weight management is easier.  Endomorphs have the challenge of a slower metabolism. This means they have the risk of become overweight or obese if exercise is not part of their normal routine. Braverman makes the mistake of saying they can put on muscle easy, which is not correct. Muscle and fat constitute two different forms of body composition. Women have higher levels of body fat due to estrogen and progesterone. The slimmest or most muscular women still maintains a higher fat percentage compared with a man of a similar body type. This explains why women have a harder time losing weight. Although it may be difficult for ectomorphs and endomorphs to alter their bodies it is not impossible. Adjusting diet and nutrition is essential while remaining consistent with training. Ectomorphs would have to consume more calories, while increasing exercise  intensity to see dramatic change. Endomorphs would have to take a more gradual approach, while carefully keeping tack of calorie consumption and training.

Endomorphs do not gain muscle as easy as suggested by Jody Braverman. Having a bigger body with some fat is not unhealthy. The only time health is at risk is when large amounts of weight are gained over a period of time. 

The common misconception is to assume that people who are bigger are not healthy. Body size alone is not an indicator of health. Thinness is not an indication of optimal health. Only a medical examination can determine health condition, not an image based on a certain beauty standard. The only time weight becomes a problem is when it puts strain on the skeletal and circulatory system. The body mass index is not very useful in revealing healthy body weight. The measurements do not account for variation in musculoskeletal mass, which may classify fit individuals as obese. So, a scale can be misleading especially when building muscle mass. Mesomorphs have the greatest potential for muscular gain. Frames can vary among the somatotypes depending on height and body size.

Mesomorphs have little body fat and have an easier time building mass. People with those somatotypes tend to excel at the bodybuilding sports. 

Saying “mesomorphs are in the middle” does not seem accurate. That does not make sense in terms of a physical strength scale. Even when describing aesthetics it is not helpful. Trying to scale somatotypes by Braverman’s method is just more confusing. There is a simple method . For the sake of discussion we will have a range between 1 to 3 indicating physical strength. One is the lowest while three is the highest. The ectomorphs would be at a level 1 range seeing as they lack muscle to weigh close to an endomorph. Muscle does not weigh more than fat. If there is a pound of muscle and a pound of fat that means it is equal. Endomorphs would be at a range of two. Their weight is more than an ectomorph, but extra pounds of fat do not add to strength. Type II muscle fiber has the ability to generate force, unlike fat. Mesomorphs would be at the highest level of three. However, it should be noted bigger muscles do not automatically mean more strength. The main factors are muscle fiber type, rate of contraction, and neuromuscular efficiency. This means that a smaller looking weightlifter could be stronger than a bodybuilder with more pronounced muscles.There is a difference between training for aesthetics and for functional fitness.

  The scale from 1 to 3 of physical strength in terms of somatotype.

Prior to starting an exercise regimen or training program it is important to know what your somatotype is. Doing this allows for a more efficient training program. There are methods that are employed which can build musculature as well as specific exercises. The texts basically puts being toned down to diet with some lower level of strength training. However, building muscle also requires strength training and an adjusted diet.

        The techniques and process  of training can be described by certain terms. These terms include load, frequency, volume, rest, and recovery. Load tells how much weight is lifted during an exercise session. Frequency is a general description of  which body part is worked during the course of the week. Exercises are designed to target a certain muscle group. Rest is the period of no activity between sets. Recovery is required for the body to heal after training sessions or between workouts . Protein consumption, the total amount of sleep one gets, or stress level can effect muscular hypertrophy. Braverman cites recommendations from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Their suggestion is to do moderate repetitions, volume, and a moderate level of rest. There are different views on the best methods for  muscular hypertrophy.  The National Academy of Sports Medicine’s recommendations as Jody Braverman reveals have been challenged by recent research. Both studies come from 2015 and 2016. There are hints that the major key is progressive overload. It should also be noted some methods are better for muscular size and others preferred for muscular endurance. The study “Effects of Low Versus High Load Resistance Training on Muscle Strength and Hypertrophy in Well Trained Men” demonstrated that both groups gained mass despite the difference in load. One group did moderate weights and reps ( 8 to 12) and lighter weights for higher reps ( 25 to 35 ). The study could be misleading for several reasons. These subjects were well trained prior and it would have made sense to used untrained subject to see which makes the most progress. None were women, which would probably make better subjects due to the fact they have less muscle mass. Using mesomorphs could create a distortion in data and the conclusion.

Bodybuilders are not training for physical strength, rather sculpting a particular physique. 
Depending on how much a person trains, what their diet is, and their genetics building muscle does not happen fast. 
chyna cho
Functional fitness related to how the body performs a specific task. 

 Also using experienced weightlifters does not help either. Their muscle has already mad the adaptation to exercise stimuli. The experiment was a small sample, but it does show one critical fact. Even the highly fit can see changes and it would probably be more pronounced with untrained individuals. Only then could a more clear evaluation of its effectiveness be seen. The flowing study was another small sample in which subjects conducted exercises. This was also published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. What the study found was that muscular hypertrophy increased with longer rest periods. Once more they used all men who were in peak physical condition. One group rested between sets for just a minute. The other took up to three minutes of rest. The study lasted two months, so there was definitely a significant change. The NASM recommends ten sets per body part a week, which may not be sufficient to produce muscular hypertrophy at a desired level. There also is a suggestion from  the Journal of Sports Science  volume level and muscular hypertrophy are linked.  Another study from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning found that subjects that did 15 sets had more muscle mass gain compared to people who did none sets weekly. While there are many views on what is the best method for building muscle, some methods are more efficient.  Before starting a training program it is best to know what the goal is. Body sculpting or bodybuilding is just molding the muscle through weights. Functional fitness is about sports performance for a specific task. Diet obviously plays a role in both muscle building and functional fitness. Protein ( chicken, beans, eggs, and fish ) has to be a part of the diet including vegetables. Fried foods and sugar must be excluded. The strategies for bulking or toning are not that radically different.

         Bulk and toned muscles do not exist in a biological or physiological sense. Placed under a microscope or examined through biopsy, muscles from a “bulky” woman would not differ from a “toned” woman. The only difference is muscularity that varies in terms of degree. While there still is bias directed at women who do not look a certain way, this has not deterred them from being more involved in strength sports. Women have found that their are multiple benefits of building shape to their body and confidence. There are also very important health benefits that can protect women from chronic illness. As people age they lose musculoskeletal mass, which could result in sarcopenia or osteoporosis. Heart disease has become a major health concern with modern lifestyles that are mostly sedentary with access to high sugar and fat diets. These aliments can be prevented with just some physical activity and a change in diet. Weight training is a simple method that people of all ages can use to maintain health. Slowly women are getting over their fear of having muscle realizing body image does not have to be the focus of their lives. There are no bulky or toned women, just muscular ones. Having a greater understanding of anatomy and the health sciences can end this myth. Women having muscle does not harm their health it only ensures better physical fitness.


Livestrong :The Differences Between Bulky and Toned Muscles

The University of Washington Women’s Sports Medicine- Running on The Moon (2013)


Running on The Moon

It was in 1969 that humankind reached the moon. The Apollo 11 spacecraft carried astronauts Neil Armstrong, Micheal Collins,  and Buzz Aldrin. The Apollo program was discontinued in 1972, with unmanned  probes doing exploring.  The space race between the Soviet Union and the United States had ended, but this did not mean more space exploration stopped. There has been discussion of a possible return to the moon in 2024.  As the 20th century drew to a close many discoveries were making humanity change the way it thought about the universe. Kepler has stumbled upon planets out the Solar System that could be Earth like. If so, then it means that they are ripe for human colonization. What must be done first is to understand the long term effects of space on the human body and experiment with making a quality base. The only solution would be to return to the Moon. The University of Washington’s Women’s Sports Medicine blog wrote in 2013 about a  major concern facing astronauts on the International Space Station. Living in microgravity environments can negatively impact musculoskeletal health. Looking for a solution  the Department of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine   collaborated with the National Space Biomedical Research Institute along the NASA Flight Opportunities Program. An experiment was conducted with parabolic flight. Subjects were exercising and being monitored for specific changes in the body. It should be noted that their may be some differences in how male and female bodies react to limited gravity environments. Although there are fewer women astronauts, the number is gradually increasing. The problem for NASA is that it has not adjusted to this change. One problem is that there may not be enough space suits fitted to women’s bodies. The first all female space walk was cancelled due to this problem. The parabolic flight simulation experiment only examined one aspect of space travel. Other factors are just as important in such a journey.

       The parabolic flight experiment used nine subjects. The subjects would then do locomotor activities in the experiment. How changes were measured was by senors on the mid-lower back and around the ankle. The subjects were placed on a treadmill along with a load device ( to simulate loads on Earth). Two flight campaigns were conducted. There conditions were present in the experiment which subjects exercised in. These conditions were zero, lunar, and Martian gravity. The team remains in the process of taking data and using it to create software to recognize activity done in microgravity environments. What will then be extrapolated is an exercise monitoring system to monitor musculoskeletal health while in Outer Space. This may even have applications to treating osteoporosis in the biomedical fields.

Earth is not the only planet that has a moon. Neptune, Saturn, Uranus,  and Jupiter have them. Beyond the Solar System are exoplanets. Most of the known universe’s mass consists of dark matter, which remains a mystery to astronomers and astrophysicists.
One of the test subjects running in zero-G along with a simulated lunar load. There should have been more subjects than just nine. A bigger sample probably would have given more data.
If astronauts are going to be in space for long periods of time all hazards must be assessed. Only then can humanity master space travel. Another barrier is technology. Spacecraft must be durable for harsh environments.

The experiment seems to be sound in its methods. Yet some problems arise if examined critically. There were only nine subjects, which is not an enormous sample. This may distort the data in the final analysis. Having a large enough sample can at least reveal an average in terms of potential outcomes. It was not revealed exactly was the fitness level of all the subjects. Random selections tell what will happen to a person not trained to be an astronaut. The purpose to redesign fitness programs to accommodate such professionals. The reasoning is not unsound, but the point is to reach as much precision as possible. When applied to sexual dimorphism  in terms of exercise physiology , women should be given more investigation. Male and female bodies may react differently during space travel.

         Women’s bodies have lower levels of musculoskeletal mass and a body composition that retains more adipose tissue. What is already known tells us what could happen to women in space long periods of time. Women’s bodies may suffer more atrophy from a microgravity  environment compared to a man. The reason being is the a man does have more muscle mass , so the rate would be slower in terms of loss. This explains why women have higher rates of osteoporosis. If the baseline of musculoskeletal mass is low age can gradually reduce it. Other diseases and conditions such as sarcopenia can happen to both sexes. Women have a higher risk factor due to differences in mass of the  the muscular and skeletal system. The erroneous conclusion is that women’s bodies are not suited for space travel. Weight training would be essential part of women’s fitness regimen along with some running to be prepared to explore the Solar System and  beyond .

Even the most muscular woman has a higher level of body fat compared to a man of similar fitness level .
Sex is not the only factor. Somatotype may be one as well. This man going into space could face a dramatic loss of msuculoskeletal mass due to being ectomorphic in body type.
If she were to be in a space mission with the thin man above, she might fare better in terms of how her body reacts to microgravity.

Prior to entering a space mission men and women should be in good health. Part of this requires a standard of fitness and a consistent exercise regimen on Earth and in Outer Space. Sometimes sex would not be a factor in the rate of atrophy of bone and muscle mass. Ectomorphic body types may be more vulnerable in space. Once more this is the result of having less musculoskeletal mass to begin with. For endomorphic body types space travel would be rougher. There must also be a consideration for long term effects of microgravity on the circulatory system. The only way to get a hold of the settlement of space is to establish a colony on the moon. Astronauts would have to stay there for a period of time and document changes in their bodies. Differences related to sex must be accounted for if method of space travel and settlement is to be successful.

      The moon is 384,400 km from Earth. The surface gravity is about 0.17 x Earth’s. One year on the Moon is  the equivalent of 27.32 Earth days. The temperature can be a maximum 123 degrees Celsius and at minimal -233 degrees Celsius. One aspect about the Moon is that the same side faces Earth. What can be seen on the surface are dark plains known as maria. Thanks to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter thousands of images have been gathered giving more geographical details. The far side of the Moon was not fully seen until the space age. This area is populated with craters. Regolith a rubble substance covers the surface.

The moon could possibly serve as a laboratory for terraforming.  Earth Moon could also be used as a lunching pad to the Moon.
Human’s bodies were evolved to adapt to environments with gravitation. The challenge is adjusting our bodies to a radically different habitat all together.
It was once believed that women could not be astronauts because they lack the strength and physical endurance. Since then, this has been discredited with exercise physiology.

  The near side of the Moon would probably be the best candidate for for settlement. Carters and regolith could make habitation difficult. The Moon has no atmosphere, making terraforming a more difficult engineering task. The South Pole of the Moon may have water ice. If so, there are two possibilities. There may be a source of water that can be purified and be used for human visitors or a place that contains life. What is known so far, it is too early to make a definite proclamation. The moon was formed 4.5 billion years ago. During the Apollo missions astronauts were able to retrieve 380 kilograms of rocks from the moon. The structure of the moon contains an iron core, a mantle, and a crust that has many craters. A positive sign is that the moon may not have seismic activity. A satellite with no possibility of  plate tectonic disturbance would indicate a level of safety. Limited geological activity explains why craters still remain. These structures are the result of meteorite  impacts eons ago.If water can be found  in deep craters at the moons poles, building a moon station could be a technological possibility. This area get direct exposure to sunlight. There was signs of promise with the Chandrayaan-1, which indicated water might be on the moon due to the reflection of light on the lunar surface. The more that is known about the lunar surface and poles the better astronauts can tame the wilderness of space.

       The fitness aspect of space travel must be taken into consideration, but their are also other heath hazards. Space contains much radiation. The magnetic poles on Earth shield organisms from it. If humankind does reach Mars the terrain there is more hostile. Sandstorms are a huge risk to any vessel entering the atmosphere. Food production becomes a real puzzle, if there is very little soil for farming. Water and sunlight are critical to plant growth. The question of transporting cattle or other livestock becomes complicated. Animals would have to survive the journey to ensure the success of farms. Establishing permanent settlement also poses a problem in terms health depending on age. Young children living in space or in a microgravity environment may not have their bones and muscles develop in a healthy manner. If their bodies are still growing a microgravity environment may complicate their development. The risk of birth defects could also be present in unknown regions of space. The elderly also in particular may struggle traveling in space.

Space travel has to made safer for civilians to engage in it. Doing so opens possibilities of space tourism.
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The Apollo 11 Saturn V spacecraft that carried the first astronauts to the moon. Spacecraft has gotten more advanced, but it must progress further if humanity is going to other planets or possibly other galaxies.
Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman to go into space in 1963. The Soviets were ahead in the space race at first, but America reached the moon. There were some matters in which the Soviet Union was more progressive. NASA did not allow women to be astronauts at this time.

Astronauts would have to explore the unknown, remain in contact with Earth, and safely return to show that it is possible. The trouble is financing such an immense project. The only solution would be that it would be a collaboration among various nations of the world. Combining funds and scientific minds around the world will make a human space exploration and settlement project progress at a faster rate. It must be agreed upon that space shall not be used as another theater of war . When a consensus is reached, only then can the project for human exploration and settlement begin. There is another risk to going into space or an unknown planet that can not be detected by the human eye. Microorganisms such as bacteria or viruses  pose a health risk. There could be thousands of different types of bacteria and viruses on planets that human beings have no immunity to. A quarantine procedure must be put in place to prevent the spread of a lethal disease from space. The astronauts that went to the moon did not bring such microorganisms back, because  the environment may not be able to sustain life without an atmosphere. Planets that are Earth like may have wildlife that could be potentially dangerous. Science fiction has imagine strange and terrifying creatures, but it may be fact on certain exoplanets.There is the element of fear about the unknown. However, there also is the element of excitement. Humanity has reached a critical point in which we are learning more about existence and ourselves.


The University of Washington Women’s Sports Medicine- Running on The Moon (2013)

The Conversation : Why Bigger Isn’t Always Better in The World of Muscle Building (2015)

Why Bigger Isn’t Always Better

It is a common held belief that larger muscles and bodybuilding can increase strength. Bulging biceps and rock hard abs seem to be the image of body strength. Yet research that examine muscle cells of bodybuilders and power athletes came to a fascinating discovery. The bodybuilders cells were bigger, yet they were not any stronger than power athletes or people who did not lift at all. It should be remembered that bodybuilding’s objective is not to get stronger, but sculpt a physique. There is a difference between functional fitness and fitness done for aesthetics. Weightlifters are an example of functional fitness. Force generation produced by muscle fibers is essential for strength. The rate in which the force is produced also contributes to total power output. Although some claim that bodybuilders would be ” the paper tigers” of the fitness world their are some factors that could have effected the study. Only men were used for this study, which may not be as effective at seeing strength changes in a weightlifting or bodybuilding program. Using women would have been better, because lower fitness capacity  can be increased dramatically relative to their physiology from a training regimen. That way it can be seen which method is the best for building strength. The sample of men could also be questioned. One should also remember other factors that influence strength.    Dr. Lee Hamilton and Dr. Angus Hunter  explained the study for  The Conversation are professors of  exercise science and  physiology at the University of Sterling. The research was published in Experimental Physiology and the study was led by Hans Degens of Manchester Metropolitan University.

       The experiment was conducted by taking the muscle cells from volunteers. This was by means of biopsy. This included twelve  bodybuilders,  six power athletes, and average men who are physically active who do not weight train. The problem with having average men who are physically active may not make then average in the fitness sense. They would be moderately trained. Average would be the natural physical fitness capacity without any exercise. The average American for example does not even get the recommended amount of exercise according to the CDC guidelines. Already, that could have effected the study. There is a difference between the physical fitness capacity of an average person and the professional athlete. A moderate fitness level would be a person who trains only a few times with an intent on basic heath maintenance.

The average level of fitness which shows that their is no weight or health issue, but the body has not been trained for a particular physical task.
Intermediate level is the stage in which some physical activity is done for health maintenance. There is not a specific fitness goal in mind.
Peak physical fitness takes years to attain. Professional athletes reach this level.

Beyond that, there is an intermediate level.  A sports performance goal would require years of training, consistent dieting,  and nutritional requirements. The experiment involved measuring the muscle cells and from that specific force was given. This was done while examining the isometric contractions. The higher the amount of specific force the higher quality of muscle. The cells of the bodybuilders were larger, yet did not produce as much force as that of the power athletes. Force was generated faster in their cells. If there was a greater curiosity women should be added to the study. If power athletes have stronger muscle cells then the cells of a female weightlifter should be compared to a male bodybuilder. The muscles of men and women are the same at the cellular level. The muscles of men and women respond similarly to training. However, men have larger muscles. If the female weightlifter’s muscle cells generate more force, then it would prove that power athletes do have more force  in their muscle fibers. The sex differences in strength would not matter if at the cellular level there is no difference.



skeletal muscle

If the hypothesis holds, then that would mean Elisabeth  Akinwale’s cells may be better at generating force compared to Stan McQay’s .

Another experiment should be conducted with all women to see which training method is the best for building strength. Documenting the changes may be easier in women especially with close examination of changes in upper body strength. Only then could we say that contractile tissues differ among these athletes.

         The study reveals some interesting elements about exercise  physiology .  The power athlete is reliant on two important attributes : maximal force and power generating capacity of the muscles. Another important trait is the ability to maintain that force and power out put for a certain amount of time during high intensity physical effort. Peak muscle power and force require a certain volume and the nature of the cross sectional area of the actual muscle. There could be an inverse relationship between fibre cross sectional area (FCSA) and mitochondrial density. The mitochondrial density could be limited by maximal extracellular oxygen tension. This may limit the total muscular hypertrophy, which could effect power. Athletes who just want power and endurance can circumvent particular barriers. Focusing on peak power and isometric force can be done without a dramatic increase in size.

The biopsy took tissue from vastus lateralis.

The reason the vastus lateralis was selected was due to its role in athletic performance. It is one of the major knee extensors of the quadriceps muscle. Being superficially located, this enables tissue to be extracted with limited complications. The study notes ”  the most important goal of BBs is to increase muscle size, which is achieved by performing low‐ to moderate‐intensity and high‐volume resistance training with aerobic training elements in the precompetition weight‐cutting phase.”  The opposite is true for power athletes : “For PAs instead, performance is determined by the combination of both peak force and peak power, and the ability to sustain and repeat these high‐intensity efforts for extended periods during a competition. “When a bodybuilder goes on stage, it is not about who can lift the most weight. Training diaries were also assessed by the team. The bodybuilders were doing moderate to high intensity as well as high volume training. Aerobic exercise was not reported.

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The bodybuilders trained at 60 % to 80% one repetition maximum.
Sprinters are reliant on type II muscle fibers for power needed for acceleration. However, sometimes they can also use the type I muscle fibers if some endurance is needed. Marathon runners require more type I muscle fibers for long races.
Functional fitness is designed to help the body perform a certain athletic task.

There is a possibility that the number of years that subjects trained could have impacted the results of the biopsy. During an athlete’s career their performances improve with years of training and practice. There comes a stage in which an athlete can no longer make physical fitness increases . If this group was a mixture of neophytes and experienced athletes this could effect the results of the experiment. Muscle fibers do not function in complete isolation, rather they interact with the wider organ systems. When weightlifting is performed it can improve the support of the connective tissues,aid the blood vessels, and engage the nervous system. At first, this can be a conundrum. While the muscle tissue at the microscopic could have more strength, this may not translate into the whole body function. It is very possible for a bodybuilder to have both bulk and strength. There are bodybuilders who even have made switches to powerlifting, crossfit, and weightlifting.

Kristy Hawkins was a bodybuilder from 1998 to 2011 and made the switch to powerlifting. She has accomplished a 400 lbs squat.

   This is the specific force related to the microscopic level compared to the entire body. There is a more complex and detailed relationship between muscle size and the force it can generate. Some exercise physiologists have speculated that maximal force and cross sectional muscle area are related. Trained bodies may have higher cross sectional area force. Sex differences may exist in cross sectional area force generation. Trained female weightlifters produced higher force to cross sectional ration compared males at lower velocities of contraction in a study. The problem is that age and sex may not be the only factors in the result. There is a science of physical strength that involves biology, endocrinology, genetics,  and physiology. Simply translated, the increase in size of muscles does not automatically result in improved muscle quality. A possible reduction of essential proteins could occur, which are responsible for the function of muscular contraction. Quantity may help the bodybuilder present a sculpted physique, but muscle quality can aid performance in functional fitness tasks.

          Muscle quality involves how well the muscle can perform when doing a certain task. The size of the muscle or the actual muscle cell can not be a reliable predictor of strength. Bodybuilders and power athletes train differently with weights to reach a particular performance fitness goal. The bodybuilder wants maximum levels of muscular hypertrophy  while balancing symmetry, definition, and conditioning. The bodybuilder can have a genetic advantage in terms of mesomorphic body type. The Conversation acknowledges that diet and sometimes drugs produce the incredible physiques on stage. Too often, people attribute athletic success to drugs or genetic characteristics. Drugs can only enhance the physiology of certain organ systems. It does not change the structure of DNA or the genes themselves to create super athletes. A person could have the genetic potential, yet have a poor training method or a limited understanding of nutrition . This harms an athletes chances at improvement.  The weightlifter has to focus on making the nervous system more efficient in reaction to the physical task. Immediate bursts of power are required to pick up large weights. Weightlifters have to maintain a certain size to remain in a competing class. Large muscles would not help them, rather a body that has type II muscle fibers generating higher specific force during recruitment.

Weightlifters train to gain strength.
Bodybuilders train for size.
Athletes of various sports have incorporated weightlifting into their training.

More muscle does not mean it will mean that the quality is better for all of the tissue. Science is about questioning the natural world and it is a good practice to question the results of studies. Methods and techniques can drastically alter conclusions of an experiment.

       The study required both statistical and data analysis. The study notes that “Data analysis of the force–velocity relationship has been described before (Gilliver et al2009; Degens et al2010). The last 100 ms of each isotonic release was used to determine the velocity during the step.” The result of the process found that there was a sixteen force data points, which were then applied to the Hill equation. A non-linear squares least regression. The Hill equation is a description in biochemistry used to show the fraction of macromolecule saturated ligand as a function of the ligand concentration. The ligand refers to a substance that will form a complex ( atom or ion with a surrounding array of molecules ) with a biomolecule. The next step in the data analysis was to extrapolate maximal shortening velocity  ( in fiber  lengths per second ) from the curve.  Following this an equation was able to be used to calculate peak power: “The best‐fit values for the Hill heat constants ‘a’ and ‘b’ (where ‘b’ signifies ‘a’ multiplied by the unloaded shortening velocity divided by the maximal isometric tension) were then used to calculate peak power using the following formulae.”




Sharon 3




These equations were used to determine peak power and the rate of force redevelopment. The rate of force redevelopment was expressed as KTR. The last formula was a non-linear  least squares regression. The next process the study stated: “To determine the goodness of fit for the KTR and the force–velocity curve, the fitted curves and the measured force data were correlated using the Pearson correlation. ” There was one condition that had to be met if data was to be accepted : “for the force–velocity curve, data were accepted if r2 > 0.96.” If such a criteria was not met, then it would be disregarded in the data collection and final results. If sacromere length had changed by >0.1 μm it was not suitable enough to be included. That also included the condition that maximal isometric tension was decreased by >10% after the four sets of isotonic releases. The accepted fibers were dissolved in an SDS sample buffer. Then they were stored at −80°C for SDS -PAGE. The statistical method used was to analyze muscle fibers per type per person. Following this,  it was put into a linear mixed model. It was noted in the study the participant was the induced random factor. To account for irregularity Bonferroni correction was used. This is used to counter the issue of multiple comparisons in statistics. This was only done when interactions were considered significant . The value was  P < 0.05. The study explains “we tested the significance of the difference between regression slopes with an F‐test (Sokal & Rohlf, 2012).” The figures shown display the  averages of fiber type per participant in the study. The single standard deviation comes for the error bars.

        The graphs give a visual representation of  mathematical data. The measurements were done in a total of three separated batches. The first bar graph shows the fiber cross sectional area of the muscle fibers taken form vastus lateralis of bodybuilders, power athletes, and the non-resistance trained controls.


Peak power

The bodybuilders fibers were 67 and 88 %  than the power athletes and controls. There was no difference between in FCSA between power athletes and the controls. The post hoc analysis did not reveal the specific location of the differences in muscle fiber types. The study expounds further : ” Peak power was higher in PA fibres than those of Cs (58%; P < 0.05), whereas fibres of BBs tended to have a higher peak power than C fibres (P = 0.07).” The second graph displayed  both peak power and specific power of the skinned muscle fibre segments. Peak power was measured in watts, while specific peak power was measured in watts per kilogram. The power athletes according to the data are beat the bodybuilders in peak power and specific power. The study also acknowledged what could have effected results of the data. The use  of performance enhancing substances could have been a limitation, due to the fact twelve of the bodybuilders stated they had used some steroids. It was admitted  “although one might expect that this could affect the contractile properties of skeletal muscle fibres, neither previous investigators (D’Antona et al2006) nor we found significant differences in contractile properties or FCSA between steroid users and non‐users in our BBs.” Drugs do not create super humans, so it may not have effected the study as much as one would anticipate. Then there has to be an account for inter-individual differences.

        The term “paper tigers” was used to describe bodybuilders. As the text explains that is not entirely correct. What it is stating is about force and power at the microscopic level relative to muscle quality. If this is translated into total body mass the story is different. The data showed that at the microscopic level, the bodybuilders muscle did not generate as much force as the untrained. However, this does not mean that the untrained would be stronger than the bodybuilder. Depending on height and weight the physical strength could vary among individuals. One can look strong, but may not actually be as strong as they look.

A ten year old Indra Lundqvist has the ability to lift 65 kg. This is an impressive feat for a child who as not reached full adult growth and weight. 
Force equal mass times acceleration. If a person weighs more then they have the ability to generate  more force. 
Bodybuilders most likely have more strength during the off season. Getting body fat levels down to their lowest point can weaken  a person to a degree. 

It cannot be stated as fact that bodybuilders are complete paper tigers. There are some questions raised in regards to training. Could there be a way to train the body to gain the most muscular hypertrophy and simultaneously build strength to a maximum degree? According to the study it could be difficult if attempted. The bodybuilders are not weaklings, rather they are training for a competition which does not have them develop their strength to the maximum.

         The study demonstrates how biopsy and histology can be used to the benefit of exercise science. Biopsy is a medical technique used when tissue is extracted from the body to detect disease. It is one technique used in cancer detection. What was done for the study was to examine the contractile function of the muscle tissues. Histology is a branch of biology which studies the tissues of plants and animals using microscopy. Powerful electron microscopes allow scientists to see cells and tissues up close. The study had the biopsies collected in relaxing solution. After twenty-four hours the samples in the glycerol relaxing solution at 4 degrees were sucrose. It was treated, the stored at a temperature of −80°C. The biopsies were taken with a conchotome. Using this technique for exercise science and sports performance can help create more effective training regimens for athletes. What has been concluded is that as the study articulated ” although this difference may be caused in part by an apparent negative effect of hypertrophy, these results indicate that the training history of power athletes may increase muscle fibre quality, whereas body‐building may be detrimental.”  Bodybuilding would not be detrimental, which is an ood way to describe a particular form of training. The more accurate conclusion is that bodybuilding may not increase physical strength to the the same degree as a power athlete.

The Conversation : Why Bigger Isn’t Always Better in The World of Muscle Building (2015)