ESSOP Vs. Women’s Strength Training

Essop Merrick produced videos giving an analysis of women’s strength training. These are mostly instructional with some exercise physiology in the content. While his knowledge is extensive, there are some elements that are critical that are missing from the videos. It is true that men and women can learn from one another when it comes to training. Method is critical when designing a training program. Also anatomical and physiological differences must be accounted for in certain approaches. Simply acknowledging differences does not constitute sexism. Essop stresses that point, but makes general statements about feminism. Not all feminists are power feminists or sameness feminist. The problem as he points out is that they think sameness equates to true equality. Everyone is different and this is not an indication of inferiority or superiority. It is not a stereotype that men are stronger than women; it is biological and physiological fact. That being understood physical fitness capacity can vary among individuals regardless of sex . There are numerous factors that determine physical strength and the video makes the mistake of saying it is primarily testosterone. Genetics, body type, body composition, and muscle fibers play essential roles. If a person is to be scientific in their analysis, one  should do more research. It is not about “defining   strength in a different way”  or “being strong in a different way.” It it is about reaching maximal physical fitness capacity. When men and women train on the same regimen male physical fitness capacity will be higher. This does not mean women cannot reach a level that is high relative to their size and anatomical structure.

            There are multiple factors that contribute to physical strength. Age does play a role in muscular strength. The best period for maximum growth is between the ages ten to 20. As a person ages their muscle mass will decrease if they do not exercise. obviously, as children grow into adults, there strength level increases due to larger body size. Puberty is the period in which males have a dramatic change in endocrinology. Testosterone levels increase causing denser bones, ligaments, tendons, and more muscle mass. Women do not get a strength spurt, rather estrogen and progesterone allow for more storage of fat.

However ,somatotype is also important. While a man may produce more testosterone a man with an ectomorphic or endomorphic body type may struggle to build muscle like a mesomorphic woman. This is independent of endocrinology and sex. Male and female muscles do not differ in terms of histology. Male and female muscles can respond to training and function in a similar manner. There is a difference in the total amount of muscle mass even with highly trained female athletes. Women have a higher body fat percentage even when reaching upper levels of muscular development. Fat does not contribute to strength generation.

Sexual dimorphism effects physical fitness capacity.

 Then there is also the factor of muscle fiber type. This must be clarified before discussing muscular hypertrophy. There are different types of muscle fibers. Fast twitch muscle fibers generate more power, but have less endurance. Slow twitch fibers do not have the same level of power compared to type II fast twitch. Although the type of muscle fibers vary among sex, men on average have more type II muscle fibers compared to women’s more endurance based type I muscle fibers. If an athlete is training for pure strength, type II muscle fibers would be the most helpful. So it is possible for a woman with more type II muscle fibers to have more strength, even if a man is producing more testosterone. Strength and power training is the most effective method for recruiting the most muscle fibers for strength.

 

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The skeleton also is a factor.Bone density is higher in men. The skeleton acts as a support system for organs and houses muscles connected by ligaments and tendons.Limb length also can aid strength. People with shorter limbs can have an advantage in lifting due to leverage factors.  Longer limbs mean more space for muscle compared to shorter limbs. Tendons can provide biomechanical advantage relative to point of tendon insertion. There also remains a difference in upper and lower body strength between men and women partially influenced by skeletal structure. Men have broader shoulders, which means that there is more area for muscle. A woman can build significant strength in the upper body, but smaller shoulder width and size would not allow for muscular levels of the male upper body. Men have an estimated 50% greater upper body strength. There is even a strength difference in the lower body estimated at 30%. Women are closer to men in the lower body.

Genetics and the function of the nervous system also have major roles to play in physical strength. There have been genes that have been identified associated with strength. These genes include PEX14, ACTG1, TGFA, and SRYT1. These genes are responsible for muscle fiber function and the nervous system communication between them. Women are also the carriers of these genes. There are most likely more genes that contribute to muscular strength. The MSTN gene provides directions to myostatin a protein responsible for regulating muscular growth. If an a person has low myostatin levels, then building muscle would be easier. These factors are independent of biological sex and endocrinology. Sexual dimorphism can be flexible in this regard. Neural adaptation is also important to strength. If the motor cortex can be trained to efficiently recruit muscle fibers, this means the body can reach a certain strength potential. The motor neurons are classified as efferent neurons  which working through the spinal cord produces muscle contraction producing  proprioceptive sensitivity. The nervous system has to be included in this discussion of strength.

Motor neurons

Neuromuscular efficiency has to be considered when making strength assessments. This explains why someone who appears to be bigger may not be as strong as someone who has trained differently.  Testosterone is a major help in protein synthesis, which allows for more hypertrophy. Yet.it is  not the sole factor in physical strength.

          Strength depends on which training method is used and the type of muscular hypertrophy it causes. Exercise increases physical fitness levels. There are no women’s exercises or men’s exercises. If the muscular and skeletal system are similar in terms of physiology any exercise should work to produce stimuli.

Even using the term “women’s strength training” seems somewhat inaccurate. Strength training is strength training no matter what a person’s sex is.  The major factors related to it come down to sarcoplasmic and myofibular hypertrophy. The video gives a general explanation of both. Myofibular hypertrophy requires high intensity, low reps, and medium sets. Myofibrils are formed from bundles of myofilaments. Each muscle cell contains these myofibrils and they are responsive to load stimulus. This means micro-trauma must be applied to  the individual fibers inducing repair during a recovery period. Overload must be maintained to see muscular hypertrophy occur. Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy involves medium intensity, higher reps and sets. Sarcoplasm is the energy sources that encase the myofibirls. This includes ATP, glycogen, creatine phosphate, and water. This involves scaroplasmic expansion. The problem is that it would be premature to say which type of hypertrophy favors women. Other factors involved in strength must be realized when considering this.

Hypertrophy

It may appear that sarcoplasmic hypertrophy favors women more in terms of  the disparity in intensity, but there has never been an experimental basis for this. This question relates to whether or not women should train like men or try another method. The best answer is designing a program specific to a person’s unique physiology. There are women who are at various fitness levels and will see more results compared to others. While some methods are not interchangeable   with men and women it can apply to various individuals regardless of sex.

There is a difference is total absolute strength gains. The chart that was made for the presentation gives a least an general estimation of physical capabilities. However there has to be a level of precision. Weightlifting records show  the the total aggregate of fitness capacity.  Crossfit records also provide a more accurate assessment. Weight and height add an advantage.  The performance range differs between novice lifters and advanced ones.

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Weightlifting World Records (men and women)

Strength level wise women can reach the level of an untrained male. Their strength could be slightly more than an untrained male given the trained woman’s size and total weight. This also depends on training method. If a woman only does cardiovascular exercise, this will not dramatically increase physical strength. The act of getting strong is not sexist. The process from going from weak to strong is the increase in fitness. As data shows, women can improve their performance like men if they train, consume the proper diet, and focus on periods of recovery. The major challenge is that for women it is a trial and error method, because very few exercise physiology studies focus on women. The majority of these studies are conducted on men. This causes confusion about how women should best train for maximum performance. Also interpretation of data is important. These are totals of each athletes’ performance. This could mean that there may be a level of overlap in performance when comparing individual male and female athletes.  Women’s athletic performance should not be considered as poor, rather a representation of weight class. Weight class was designed to give smaller people and extremely large people opportunities to compete in sports on an equal basis. Seeing as women are smaller their performance is a representation of their weight class. No one ever says that smaller male athletes are inferior. They are admired for their skill, yet women do not get such accolades.

Strength

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Women can improve their performance, but they have a harder time reaching higher fitness levels. Less muscle means more work has to be done. The difference in metabolism means that women have to be careful with the diet. Activity level most be high enough so that food does not metabolize into fat. Calorie intake needs to be the right amount to provide energy and feed the growing muscles. It is not just biology that influences athletic performance; there are sociological factors.

          There has been for a longtime sexism in sports. The problems does not stem from ignoring the differences or “celebrating the good in one of the groups.” Discrimination stems from bias and prejudice as well as the conviction that certain groups do not deserve the same rights or opportunities. Such thought believes that certain groups should not have access even to the same leisure activities. The reason so few women are present in serious strength training gyms is because they have been excluded in the past. Although women’s numbers have increased in sports it still is below the participation level of males. Cultural standards of beauty and restriction to training facilities kept many women out of sports. The passage of Title IX changed this allowing girls in school the opportunity to play sports. From 1972 onward there would be a dramatic increase in female athletic participation. This a demonstration of how public policy can change a social ill if implemented correctly.

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There are many who want to reverse such changes. Claims of  “reverse discrimination” or attempts to bring down other groups of another are made by conservatives. This is nothing more than an attempt to reimpose the old order. It is too late to keep women out of sports, but there are numerous attempts to undermine it. Limited television broadcast, lack of sponsorship, or sex discrimination are the most notable methods. Gender verification tests, no competitive venues, and public ostracism made it difficult for women to compete professionally in sport. When the modern day Olympics came into existence in 1896, it was a male only event. Although women participated in sports since the ancient world 19th century cultural sensibilities rejected the idea of a physically strong woman.

Fight It was not until 1991 that the IOC  ruled that any new sport introduced to the games had to include women. Despite these gains, women around the world do not have the same opportunity for athletic competition.  Women may be faced with extreme poverty, lack of reproductive rights, or limited education. If a ruling group does not want to share power and continues to oppress, then it must be taken down. So far, certain institutional structures have changed for the better for women competitors. Considering the past women’s advancement in sport is impressive. These obstacles demonstrate why many are still trying to catch up in the sports world.

           Exercise does not differ between men and women. There are no “girl exercises” or “men’s exercises.” This can be described best with the squat and the deadlift. Essop articulates it as a movement pattern. Training with correct form and avoiding injury can create a safe as well as effective workout. The notion that strength and physical prowess was a male only attribute has created a bias against women. The frailty myth was created by 19th century pseudoscience with the conviction that the female body was biologically inferior. Many thought that if women became too strong this would harm their ability to become pregnant. This was proven false in the 20th century and women began to enter the world of sports and fitness.

Strength training is strength training no matter who does it. So saying there is a “women’s strength training” makes no sense. Exercise like the deadlift or squat can best be seen as a movement pattern. Men can even learn many techniques from women in terms of lower body strength training. Women have an advantage in terms of deep squats because of their pelvic structure. Knowing differences between the sexes allows for a more efficient training program that can meet an athletes needs. Intensity and volume can be inversely proportional. That means the heavier the weight, the less time one can lift it. The lighter the weight the more time you have to lift it. Volume can either be adjusted to promote growth or more physical strength. This can to an extent be fluid rather than a set quantitative value. There may be a way theoretically to reconcile the difference in maximal strength between men and women Essop suggests. The approach may be by increasing volume. Splitting such a task into sets reduces the labor or possible strain. This may counter the intensity by equalizing the workload. The variety of exercise can also effect performance outcomes. Women’s looser joints and flexibility  also provide an advantage in particular ranges of motion. Squat, bend, and lunge are the movement patterns for the hips.

There are also three planes of movement which include frontal, transverse, and sagittal. Other exercises also involved in the movement pattern include step ups and hyper extensions. Variety when done will challenge the muscle and allow for significant increase in total amount of weight lifted. There is the question about whether free weights or machines are better. To date there has not been a conclusive study to prove which one is better. The conjecture is that both are best to use, but there is no official verification of that. Women’s recovery from training gives them a benefit, which men do not have. While male absolute strength allows for more intensity, this means recovery periods would be longer. Doing high intensity workouts in such a manner also increases the risk of injury. Women can build immense core strength if they understand that the nervous system is stimulated by the activation by that section of the body. It is not by isolation.

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Using this particular approach can help athletes avoid over training. This still does not eliminate the absolute strength difference between men and women on a similar program. Sexual dimorphism is flexible in particular aspects. Core strength demonstrates through training that some elements one show a small physical performance difference. Elite men and women it is bigger in absolute strength. Becca Swanson is stronger than many men, but would not be stronger than the strongest man.

Her range of strength would even surpass trained males. What can be extrapolated from this information is that being female does not limit athletic potential. Women are neophytes to the professional sports world and developing training programs is an experimental process. There are numerous training programs and  fitness advisory websites, but this can be confusing to a person just starting. There has to be a framework to follow for success.

         Essop reduces the process of strength training regimen to certain steps. The first step requires stimulating the muscles. That would be the exercising process that follows after that . This follows recovery allowing the body to repair and get ready for the next training period. Super compensation is the diet and rest in total. This should be repeated and be consistent.

Essop’s view is that it should be retrospective in function rather that a set schedule. The problem with being set on one exercise, then correct form, and then progressive overload. This may not work for everyone and may just be too restrictive. The objective should be to enhance the body through variety and challenge it. The standard operation of the personal trainer system may be too limited for higher physical fitness targets. The problem is being too focused on one exercise. The emphasis should not be the form its self rather the movement pattern and its particular features. The squat can have the neutral neck, thoracic extension, as well as external rotation of the hands and feet. The femurs of the body will be going back and the hips will be lateral during the hip hinge.

Generally, Essop calls this women’s workload training. It involves several steps. The first step involves selecting a movement pattern. This can either be the squat, lunge, or bend. The second part involves either the two foot, one foot, or split stance. Then comes the question of adding weight loads and which part of the body should this be done to. Starting off one should learn the basic patterns. When the basics are mastered, then one can move on to more advanced movements. This can result in simple training progression. Having higher range in motion can lead to more activation of muscles with less weight. This will result in muscular  hypertrophy just the same as lifting heavy. The only difference may be is that this method would be less strenuous and efficient compared to a longer training program. There are simple exercises that one must remember that exist on a spectrum. These include the bend, squats, and, lunges. These exercises are dependent on which joint is moved first and ultimately effect total activation. The exercises as the video argues is that it functions on a spectrum. The movements are part of this spectrum and doing them a specific way in a rigid fashion may not be the best approach. Having correct form can prevent injury, but it should be understood that exercises are more similar than previously thought. Essop makes cogent arguments, but it must be realized women still need to be studied more in terms of exercise physiology. It cannot be stated with complete certainty what is the full extent of women’s physical fitness capacity.

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ESSOP Vs. Women’s Strength Training

The Biomechanics of Women in Combat

The Biomechanics of Women in Combat

Dr. Pamela McCauley is a biomechanics and ergonomics expert who is also professor and director of the Ergonomics Laboratory in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems at the University of Central Florida.She applies her knowledge to the question of women in combat. If it is known that women are physiologically, anatomically, and biologically different this means training will have to be adjusted. She approaches the problem from a biomechanics and physical fitness perspective. Ergonomics also serves a use from preventing long term injuries or medical discharges from the US military. Combat position ban were lifted, which means women can serve in the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy. Physically demanding jobs may be harder for women who on average have less physical strength and speed. This fitness requirements can be met, without lowering standards. However, gender parity in all branches may not be possible. This text was originally published in 2014, a year after the ban was lifted on women in combat. The US military was using the physical readiness test. Currently there is a shift to make the physical fitness testing be more relevant to the military occupation specialties. Dr. Mccauley’s assessments are mostly correct, but there may be some jobs that women would struggle to get because the physical demands are high.

           To understand Dr. McCauley ‘s perspective one must have an understanding of biomechanics and ergonomics. Biomechanics is the examination of biological systems related to their motion putting emphasis on structure as well as function. This subject of science dates back to the Italian Renaissance when Giovanni Alfonso Borelli pioneered it as an academic discipline. The Italian physiologist was the first to describe muscular movement in terms of dynamics and statics. He also studied other body functions and physiological phenomena of the human body. Biomechanics has become a multidisciplinary science incorporating biology, medicine, engineering, and physiology. There are multiple branches which include sport, human movement, occupational, cell, and cardiovascular biomechanics. Relevant to the discussion of women in combat, this would be classified under human movement and occupational biomechanics. A soldier on the battlefield will be doing the physical requirements of a job and various movements when fighting. It could be argued that some techniques from sports biomechanics can be utilized as well.

Sports biomechanics may help in enhancing women’s physical fitness performance, by understanding the function of the female body under physical activity. Ergonomics also has a relation to biomechanics. It is an applied science which objects are designed so that people can use certain machines or other objects safely as well as efficiently. The goal of ergonomics is to reduce the risk of injury in the workplace. This discipline also examines how workers interact with systems. Ergonomics can sometimes be referred to as human factors engineering.  The US military is in dire need of ergonomic redesign. This is more of an issue with body armor, which has been a culprit in high rates of musculoskeletal injuries. Overloaded gear could cause joint and knee injuries. There is also the problem of poorly fitted armor. This problem is specific to women. If there are mostly men in the branch of the military, the armor produced was mostly for males. Women had to wear male sized armor, which did not fit. This was changed a few years ago when women began receiving properly fitting body armor. This could have been avoided if there was an ergonomic approach. Biomechanics and ergonomics must be applied to combat and training to decrease injury rates.

         The sex difference in physical fitness capacity must be considered. It was revealed  by Dr.  Pamela McCauley  that 55% of women failed the upper body strength testing in marine boot camp. It would be erroneous to take this as evidence that women can not be capable combat soldiers. If the frailty myth were true, then no woman would be able to pass. Another aspect of this would be that the failure rate should be much higher. The 55% statistic would  have to be 90% or higher to make such a general statement that women would make terrible combat soldiers. The physical fitness level of a person matters depending on which branch of the US military is going to serve in. The Air force, Navy, Coast Guard, Army, and Marine Corps have a different set of physical fitness standards.

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The updated fitness standards for the US Air Force.

The average male at maximum can have up to 57 lbs of muscle compared to women’s 33 lbs. The average male depending on their health condition and fitness  can carry close to twice his weight. The average woman can carry half of hers. There is not just a difference in muscle mass, but weight. An average man can be 10% heavier than the average female. The average male body is estimated  to be 30% stronger than the average  female body. Dr.McCauley acknowledges in her statement ”   women tend to have less skeletal muscle mass than men, especially in the upper body (arms, shoulders and chest) though there are conflicting research studies on whether or not skeletal muscle mass alone is actually the best indicator of performance.” Bigger muscles do not automatically mean more strength. Mass does protect from physical trauma. This explains why women experience more injury marching under load. Lower bone density and mass would make marching with 80 lbs  or more difficult for a smaller person. Muscular mass is relevant, but not as significant as muscular strength.  Women must focus on both building strength and mass to prevent injury. Specifically building the mass of type II muscle fibers, which are designed for explosive power.

 Sex differences

Relevant sex difference that could effect combat performance .

 The question becomes here is how physically strong can a woman become with training. Women can experience muscular hypertrophy and gain in muscular strength through weight training. This is the best method to increasing physical strength. Seeing as the average man has more muscle and bone mass their natural strength is higher. Natural strength is the power that can be generated without training. This means women would be starting at a lower physical fitness level in terms of muscular strength. If they lift heavy their strength levels could be equivalent or slightly above that of an average man.

Women rarely reach the same physical fitness capacity as an equally trained man. It is true as Dr. McCauley articulated one does not need to be an elite professional athlete, but certain military occupational specialties require a certain level of physical fitness.  An elite female athlete would not have a problem meeting certain standards compared to the average woman. Women have to train harder to reach a particular fitness level.Physical fitness indicators such as muscular strength are not equivalent among the sexes. The largest disparity is in the upper body. Men have broader shoulders which means they have more space to house more muscle on the upper body. Dr. McCauley has the solution based on physical fitness prior to entry and making assessments match the occupation at hand. Physical fitness would have to be at a particular level for women before they even attempt basic training. Doing this would prepare them for the physical demands of combat.

The average woman would struggle more compared to the physically trained women. This means it would take longer for an average woman to meet particular fitness standards depending on the military occupational specialty. Men who are unfit or out of shape would even struggle with physical tasks. It would be erroneous to believe that every man in the United States would be a capable soldier.  Even with elite female athletes it takes a number of years for them to perform at top levels.

          The difference in muscular strength is significant. Seeing as women’s shoulder joints would be looser compared to men’s this is a greater risk for injury. Strength can be dependent on certain factors which include genetics, age, sex, and endocrinology. Women have less muscle fiber in their upper bodies and produce lower amounts of testosterone, which can be a contributor to muscular hypertrophy. Building upper body strength would be more of a challenge. This requires an understanding of the anatomy of the muscles and bones.

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The muscles of the arms. Such limbs will be important in shooting and hand to hand combat.

 The muscles of the upper body include the pectoralis major, trapezius, deltoid, triceps brachii, brachioradialis, rhomboids, rotator cuffs, abdominal external obliques, pronator teres , and the iliopsoas. Women have these same muscles. A the cellular level there is no difference between male and female muscle. Women are working with a smaller amount of total lean body mass. This would mean that a consistent weight training program would be need to be taken before basic training. This would ensure a higher score on the Army Basic Training  Physical Fitness Test. The goal should be to enhance muscular strength to be able to perform tasks, without using maximum energy reserve.

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The muscles of  the upper body and thorax.

Muscular hypertrophy does result from an exercise regimen. Men’s muscles may be more fatigue prone considering type II muscle fibers are not built for long term endurance.Women may have more of endurance advantage with type I muscle fibers. It should be noted that the composition of muscle fiber type and vary depending on genetics and exercise regimens used. The female body can respond to training. Men will find it easier due to the hormonal difference and their size. Male muscle is bigger, but not of higher quality when examined from a perspective of cross sectional area. If a fit woman can reach the strength level of an untrained man or a little higher, it would seem as if this is a realistic target. The muscular system of men and women is similar enough in which training can have an effect on it. Strength is not only based in the muscular system, it involves neural activity. Nerves throughout the body control movement. Muscle memory does have a basis in the brain and how efficiently muscles can produce power output.Building strength can prevent hospitalizations. According to the US Army musculoskeletal injuries accounted for 31% of hospitalizations for both male and female soldiers. Congress did conduct a study in 1994 looking at the ergonomic,biomechanical, and fitness issues effecting women in the US military. This led to improvements to prevent injuries, but more must be done to maintain the health of the soldiers. Women must engage in upper body exercises. This would include lateral raises, pull-ups, bench presses, triceps extensions, and biceps curls. The entire body would have to be challenged with progressive overload.

          While technology has reduced the complete reliance o physical strength, fitness is still necessary. There may be cases in which a soldier id disarmed of weapons and would need use hand to hand combat.  Guns are in a sense a great equalizer, including planes and other combat related vehicles. If a military does not have these items, the will not be as powerful.

Hand to hand combat is taught to all soldiers just in case of the event that their fists are the only weapon they have. Women are at a disadvantage in terms of  size and brawn. Male brute strength surpasses female physical force.  Men tend to be more physically aggressive. Women’s aggression is more verbal compared to a more physically violent response. The reasons are part biological and sociological. It has been hypothesized this difference are the attributes of the human evolutionary past in which hominids had to fight for mates and hunt. What emerged was sexual dimorphism. Women will have to be trained to be as aggressive as possible and undue both the social and biological restraints. Women can build strength, but they must be good fighters. Learning martial arts can enhance women’s combat ability. Women must be taught how to fight and master a high level of skill to counter attacks that do not involve weapons. It should also be noted that training is a simulation of what battle might be like. The environment is controlled, so that recruits can learn skills.

The battlefield is more unpredictable. There could be a circumstance in which one must literally fight to the death to survive. This is why having fighting skills is essential to soldier training.Simply being physically strong does not make one the best fighter, if they do not have skill. These overlap with similar principles governing self-defense. One does not have to be large to defend themselves. Judging your opponent, learning certain moves, and avoiding freezing during attack are essential elements in combat.

Dr. McCauley states that pull-ups and flexed arm hangs are a good measure of upper body strength. Pull-ups can be, but the flexed arm hangs are not. This was an alternative offered to women, because at one time it was thought that pull-ups were not physically possible for them. Physical fitness standards were different for both men and women on the assumption that women could not meet higher standards. This is why with the movement for a uniform standard is underway. It will eliminate training that does not pertain to requirements to an military occupational specialty and reduce total training time. If women do not meet the same standards and requirements this will only cause a reduction in quality of the armed forces. The standards should not be lowered to merely add more women to particular branches of the military. Dr. Mc Cauley agrees with such an assessment. The increased risk of death an injury would result in a less effective armed force. This would only cause a human resources issue with more anger directed at women as a whole. Women must show they can fight and be competent in their occupational position. This means women have to challenge the long held frailty myth, which continues to be used to keep them out of physically demanding occupations.

          There are some aspects of the female physiology and anatomy  that will not be changed through training.  Running and aerobic capacity will not be drastically altered. The female pelvis is much wider, which reduces total running speed. When women run the rotation of their legs differs. From a biomechanical perspective, a male pelvis is more suited to faster running speeds. The disparity in upper body strength can be addressed easier compared to the difference is total running speed.

Although women are closer to men in the lower body, it is not just the difference in muscle size that effects running speed. The heart and lung play a role in running as well as other physical activities. Women have lower hemoglobin levels compared to men. Smaller hearts and lungs mean that there is less oxygen being transported to energize the muscles. This aspect of fitness may require that women train similar to a professional athlete. Knowing these facts about biology,physiology, and anatomy reveal several points of interest. A portion of women would need to engaging in exercise and physical activity prior to even attempting basic training. Another complication is that America in general struggles with weight related issues and illnesses. Obesity, heart disease, and diabetes are becoming public health concerns, which would exclude many from possible military service. A large section of the American population would have to go on a weight management program. Women would be effected more seeing as body composition and endocrinology makes it more difficult for them to lose weight. Women would have a harder time reaching a particular physical fitness target, even if they were not overweight. There is no exercise or method to increase female lung and heart size to make them faster runners. Such differences lead to other considerations.

          Strength in diversity has become a new maxim in the American workplace. This seems to be more of a token and superficial image promoted rather than evidence of progress. There still remains discrimination, social stratification, sexism, homophobia   and intense racial hatreds. The lugubrious reality is no matter how well women perform they will always be treated with hostility or viewed as inferior by their male counterparts. Tokenism should not be evidence that the US Military values diversity or all who serve. The Trump administration has attempted to ban transgender service members. Such a blatant act of discrimination could later be extended to other groups. Such attitudes make integration of the armed forces even more difficult. The introduction of women into US combat positions will not reduce effectiveness. The only reason it would fail is if US Military leaders deliberately sabotage it.

The real failure comes from policy from the government and the military. The United States was not designed to be an imperial power, but has been moving in that direction ever since the Louisiana Purchase. The thirteen colonies expanded across the North American continent growing bigger with the Mexican War. The American Civil War halted expansion for a brief period and then it resumed. The Spanish American War marked the the rise of American empire. Ever since 1898, the US has been invading or intervening  in  various countries around the globe. This behavior will be the undoing of the nation. Financially it is not sustainable and has already cause political strain. Diversity of the US Military does not hide the flaws or sinister intentions of particular leaders. A nation has the right to defend itself, but not the right to wage aggressive war. Women who do enter these positions should not be used as pawns or propaganda. Women and men should join the US Military with the intention of defending the nation, not being foot soldiers to a successor British Empire. The ideological direction must change in military ranks and US foreign policy. Anti-discrimination should be the goal in hiring and employment related to the US Military. Token chants of diversity will only be reduced to filling quota targets. Doing that would mean two possible scenarios. Standards would be lowered to accommodate larger numbers of women or less physically demanding positions be created. The first option would be a terrible idea, the other may develop due to the changing nature of warfare. Cyber warfare will be common place with hacking being used as a means of espionage and attacks. There is one factor that also effects women’s total numbers in combat occupations. Personal choice is a large factor. Many women are not interested in such jobs or they do not want to take risks. Women may not like manual labor or occupations that involve being physical.

While training can increase women’s physical fitness capacity, there may be some areas too demanding physically. The Navy SEALS have a high training drop out rate. If it is hard for an all male unit, it would be more challenging for women. Attrition rates do effect all soldiers depending on the level of physical activity and exertion involved. This also complicates a draft of women, if a majority are not in the physical condition or shape to even complete basic training. If there is to be true equality, then women should be required to register for the draft. Every male has done so and there is little justification not to do so. Women would need a specialized fitness program to get them in proper fighting condition. However, even with such programs the numbers of women in combat arms would not equal that of men. Men have been a part of the institution since its establishment and women were officially recognized as members of the armed forces in 1978. The combat ban was only lifted in 2013. Attempting to increase numbers rapidly would only lead to disappointment; there should be gradual increases as well as recruitment efforts. Only with a biomechanical approach to training and a rational affirmative action policy can the integration of women into combat positions be successful.

 

The Biomechanics of Women in Combat

Whey Protein Supplements and Exercise Help Women Improve Body Composition

 Whey and Women

Whey protein products have been known to be effective for men, but now it appears that it is useful for women. A study conducted by Purdue University revealed that women can benefit from Whey. Nutrition experts also contributed to the study. There has been more attention directed at how supplements react in a woman’s body. Most exercise physiology and nutrition or fitness related studies are done with men. Seeing as women are more active in sports and fitness it is important to do such studies that take into account biological and physiological differences. According to Wayne Campbell professor of nutrition science : “”There is a public perception that whey protein supplementation will lead to bulkiness in women, and these findings show that is not the case. “Simply taking a supplement would not increase muscle mass without a particular exercise regimen. However Whey can as the study discovered can allow for modest gains while not influencing fat mass. The study like any scientific investigation should be questioned, but it becomes more suspicious when the Whey Research Consortium financed the study. Robert Bergia  a Perdue  graduate research assistant led the study. Joshua Hudson a Purdue postdoctoral research associate who also contributed to this examination.

       Whey protein is used as a supplement to contribute to muscle protein synthesis. It consists of beta-lactoglobulin, alpha lactalbumin, bovine serum albumin, and immunoglobins. Using too much can cause headaches or nausea if not consumed in the recommended amounts. These are the only side effects and it does not pose a serious health risk. Some may experience cramps, fatigue, stomach pains, or reduced appetite. There are several different types of Whey protein. This includes concentrate, isolate, and hydrolsate. Whey may have health benefits. It could possibly help with lowering    cholesterol. Oddly enough, it may also be a method in combating asthma. Whey protein may have the ability to improve immune response in children with asthma.  Other studies suggest Whey may also be a way to manage blood pressure and prevent cardiovascular disease. Whey is not the only protein supplement, yet it has gained popularity in fitness circles. There has yet to be a massive comprehensive study that compares various protein supplements and powders. There must be one that is better than the other . There is no scientific literature that proves which supplements compared to Whey are better, so consumers have to do their own research. It becomes more confusing when one is a neophyte reading fitness materials.

      The need to study women and supplement effects is necessary. More women are becoming active in fitness and this also has business potential related to expansion of new consumers. Most importantly female athletes need supplements and training methods that are suited to their physiology. Taking this into account it can maximize athletic performance. Women are underrepresented in studies related to Whey protein supplementation. A majority of studies focused on men with 68% in total. Women are different in terms of biology and endocrine function which have an effect on physical fitness capacity. Knowing this training regimens and supplements can be designed to be more efficient. Otherwise women could be using methods that may not work for them. The reason why there is this underrepresented statistic is for a long period of time women were excluded from sports and discouraged form physical activity. Supplements were once seen as a male only consumer product. The only exception to this was diet pills marketed to women.

The fitness industry still markets weight loss and weight management to women, when there is a increasing interest for women who want to gain musculoskeletal mass. Women are no longer afraid to use weights despite persistent traditional gender expectations.  This phase of study is still in a state of infancy. There are some issues with the study that can be noted. The method seemed logical, but there may be a problem with replication providing different conclusions. Other variables must be accounted for when conducting an experiment.

         The study involved screening about 1,800 articles from journal databases. From these databases 13 studies were identified  along with 28 intervention groups that were relevant to the supplement studies. The selection process involved obtaining studies that included healthy women participants , consumption of whey supplements, exercise activity, changes in lean body mass, and a minimum duration of six months of training. The question here is what exactly were the health conditions of participants? Health could simply mean that their is absence of disease from the body. This does not equate to physical fitness. There can be people who are healthy, but not physically fit. Women who may have been part of this study could have altered the results if they were athletes. Depending on what sport they are active in, their body fat levels could be lower than the average woman. This would distort the results of proving effectiveness.

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The study if it wants to be precise it would have to use women with no athletic or fitness background as one group. Then take another sample group of physically fit women and give them Whey protein. Doing this for the same duration would produce a true result of Whey’s effectiveness. Then there is also the question of exercise. Which types of exercise were performed in these studies? This is significant due to the fact that other types of  exercise is more effective at burning fat. It was once thought that just using a treadmill could be more effective at reducing weight or altering body composition. Although this can improve cardiovascular endurance it will not dramatically reduce weight. Weight training seems to be more efficient in this regard. If all of the participants were either exercising using treadmills, weights, or a combination of both this also may distort results. The six week duration seems like enough time to witness significant change and thus should not be changed in another attempt. Multiple factors matter when conducting a scientific inquiry. The first step would be to get a large sample of women then make detailed observations of progress.

There may be different results depending on a person’s genetic body type. The only way to know for sure would be to document the changes in women with endomorphic and ectomorphic body types. If changes can be seen in them it is at least moderately effective. If there is a change in women of high physical fitness level, then it can be said this is highly useful supplement. Bergia concluded: “Although more research is needed to specifically assess the effects of varying states of energy sufficiency and exercise training, the overall findings support that consuming whey protein supplements may aid women seeking to modestly improve body composition, especially when they are reducing energy intake to lose body weight.”

          Whey can work on women. The question remains can women “bulk up” from it. The term bulking up in  a colloquial and inaccurate term. The process of building muscle is muscular hypertrophy. The previous statement from  Wayne Campbell may be premature. Changes related to the body depend on several factors. Genetics has a powerful influence relative to body type. Women who are naturally mesomorphic will have more potential for muscular hypertrophy. Exercise and training method are also pivotal in this equation. Women who are either using solely a treadmill will not get as strong compared to a woman lifting weights. Fitness goals are also a factor. Some women may merely want to burn fat, rather than build muscle mass gains. Sex has an impact relative to endocrine function. Seeing as women produce more estrogen and progesterone this means they will always have a higher body fat percentage. Hypothetically it is possible for a woman to make muscle mass gains if she does heavy resistance training, supplements with Whey, and eats a specific diet. This regimen must be consistent to produce a changes in muscular strength and size. Male and female muscle does not differ at a cellular level. The difference is in total mass. Supplements are not just for men. Women could probably benefit more from supplements. Whey may not be the sole protein supplement that is best, but this study could encourage more research into female athletic potential.

 

Whey Protein Supplements and Exercise Help Women Improve Body Composition

The Best Bet For Boosting Women’s Brawn Is Traditional Strength Training

Boosting Women’s Brawn

A study conducted by the University of Ohio performed an experiment about what was the best method for women seeking to build muscular strength and endurance. What was confirmed in this 2008 experiment was that traditional strength training was the best method. To many women athletes and consistent gym goers this is not a surprise. Normally, exercise physiology experiments are conducted on male athletes. This one was different, because it wanted to see specifically the changes in women’s bodies and how they react to training stimuli. Low velocity routines may not be as effective as strength training. A total of 34 women who were of college age were examined. Over a period of six weeks they were to perform a training program. It was once though that the female body was not designed for strength. As exercise physiology progresses, the frailty myth has been proven false through scientific evidence. Doing studies that take into account women’s physiological and anatomical differences can best allow for a more efficient training regimen to improve athletic performance. The study was published Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research .

         Sharon Rana associate professor of exercise physiology  with her colleagues conducted the experiment with a particular approach.  The traditional strength training group lifted heavier loads with fewer repetitions. The low velocity group was to lifted lighter weights with more repetitions. Professor Rana stated “what made the research a little different is that we put the various methods of resistance training all in one study and added a control group, which hadn’t been done before. The endurance group also hadn’t really been studied in conjunction with low velocity type training,”  This allows for a through examination of changes over a period.

Participants performed a number of exercises including leg presses, back squats, and knee extensions. The traditional strength training  group was able to lift 499 lbs for leg presses and 121 lbs  for squats. There was a 117 lbs for leg extensions. Compared to the traditional endurance group the lifts were lower. Their maximum lifts were 341 lbs for leg presses, 64 lbs for squats, and 48 lbs for knee extensions. The low velocity group produced 365 lbs for leg presses, 79 lbs for squats, and 55 lbs knee extensions. The subjects did three sets of each exercise during the session. A rest period for a total of five minutes was given between each set and exercise.

The women had their absolute strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance, and body composition measured. What the experiment demonstrated was that the traditional strength training group gained the most physical strength. The data showed the traditional strength group increased to 61.8 % in total strength for the leg press. The low velocity group saw a 26.9 % increase and the endurance group was at 23.4%. However the traditional strength training group did not see a dramatic change in the squat exercise total. The traditional strength training group saw did see a 51.3 % increase in the knee extensions.

       There should be some considerations for possible factors that effected the outcomes of the experiment. The first is the physical fitness level of women who participated. If the women who participated were either athletes or had experience with weight training exercise, this would effect the outcomes. Women with high fitness level my make the strength gains larger or more exaggerated. The only aspect about the subjects is that they were all devoid of serious health problems. A mix of ectomorphic, endomorphic, and mesomorphic body types would produce different results. The best subjects would be women with the lowest physical fitness levels to document the effectiveness of training.

Women with more natural strength prior to the study could have caused some distortion in data. There would be a clear difference between the average woman and physically fit woman. Both would be able to gain strength, but to what extent depends on genetics and somatotype.

        The experiment showed a small decrease in body fat. This was not as significant in number compared to physical fitness improvements in muscular endurance and strength. Body composition would not dramatically change mainly due to endocrinology. Women produce more estrogen and progesterone which allows for more fat. Women need a certain level of fat to ovulate.

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Fat does not contribute to strength or muscle power. This has implications on physical fitness between men and women. The reason men have more absolute strength is due to higher free testosterone production in the testes. This hormone allows for greater protein synthesis. The thinnest woman or the most muscular woman would still carry more body fat  percentage compared to a man of similar physical fitness level. The difference in body composition means women have less total muscle mass.

Gonadal differentiation happens to developing fetuses. They appear by the sixth week not defined. The change happens by the seventh weeks when the gonads are either testes or ovaries. While this does not have an influence over the physical fitness capacity of boys and girls the shift happens during puberty. The change in endocrinology does not give women a strength spurt compared to males. Knowing this means women would have to train harder to build significant strength. This may take longer compared to men who are following a similar regimen. An approach tailored to women’s  physiology and anatomy will be the most effective training regimen.

        The experiment also demonstrated that cardiovascular endurance  did not increase significantly.  Neither group saw an increase. Professor Rana  stated her reason for focusing on this element of physical fitness : “we tested cardiovascular endurance because a lot of the lay literature, the articles you might read in magazines, said it would improve.” The experiment revealed that such claims may not be accurate. Merely lifting weights would not improve cardiovascular endurance. While strength gains would improve the power of the leg muscles, running involves the heart and lungs. This means cardio exercise would be a better method for aerobic endurance. The comparison can be seen with sprinters and marathon runners. Sprinters have more power compared to the higher endurance of the marathon runner.

Large muscles do not automatically mean a person can be skilled at any sport. This depends on the nature of physical activity and specific biomechanics involved. Kinseology is critical to understanding movements of the body and essential to developing effective training programs. It seems this assessment is correct that traditional weight training would not improve cardiovascular endurance. Although to be sure an experiment would have to be conducted to further verify. One control group could just do cardiovascular exercise, while the other engages in traditional strength training. They will then run a specific distance and the times will be recorded. The marathon results will show which group was had the most endurance. The obvious prediction is that  the subjects that did the cardiovascular exercise would have the best times.

      Low velocity training is not a pointless activity. It builds better muscular endurance. Low velocity training does provide strength gain, but it is limited compared to traditional strength training. The question depends on whether the goal is to build more strength or endurance. Sports that depend on strength like powerlifting, weightlifting,  or shotput traditional strength training would most likely be the best.

Low velocity training could have better application to endurance sports like ultramarathon or Olympic marathon  events. The selection of method depends on the particular sport. The experiment made this conclusion by Professor Rana : the low velocity training obviously helps you,” Rana said. “You can gain some strength and muscle endurance, but the traditional methods are going to do a slightly better job for those two things.” This does not only apply to the athlete trying to improve their performance. It can be beneficial to the average person. Any amount of exercise can be good for physical health. A sedentary life style can have negative effects on the circulatory system. Muscle mass gradually declines with age. Being at least moderately active can reverse some of these changes associated with aging. Women can gain more benefits from building strength. With more exercise physiology studies focused on women, female athletes can have a means to enhance their performance in their sport of choice.

The Best Bet For Boosting Women’s Brawn Is Traditional Strength Training

New Research on the Muscles of Elite Athletes: When Quality is Better Than Quantity

Quality versus Quantity

A study conducted by the University of Southern Denmark in 2016 revealed interesting information about athletes’ muscles at the cellular level. Endurance athletes showed a change in mitochondria. Athletes who participate in soccer or skiing demonstrate that muscle quality could be better compare to mass quantity. Larger muscles do not equate to a better athlete. The mitochondria provide energy to the cell and allow people to engage in long periods of exercise . Exercise physiology has reached the conclusion that the more endurance exercise done the more mitochondria increase in the muscles. This may explain why endurance athletes have more compared to non-athletes. Muscle fatigue happens after physical activity. The study also shows that endurance is not only determined by the number of mitochondria, but their structure. Such a discovery can contribute to making more efficient training programs and possible medical applications.

      The study conducted by the Swedish and Danish team found that the mitochondria of athletes was structured to generate more energy. The human body seems to adjust to various demands depending on a particular stimuli. It was stated by  Joachim Nielsen professor of muscle physiology : ”  our measurements have shown us that these mitochondria can generate around 25% more energy.”  This provides an advantage to marathon runners, cross country skiers, and soccer players.

The involved comparing non-athletes to athletes. A muscle biopsy was then conducted. Biopsy is a procedure in which tissue is removed from the body for examination, normally for the purpose of detecting a disease. The sample size included 15 elite athletes and 29 non-athletes. While it would help that the sample size was bigger, there was no indication of sex distribution. Women are now serious athletes, however many times the biological and physiological differences are not accounted for in    training and exercise physiology studies. This still should hold the same for women, seeing as there is no difference in mitochondria between the sexes. The muscles tissue between the sexes do not differ either. Muscle cells are the same between the sexes, the only difference is in the amount and particular fiber type. Men have more type II muscle fibers compared to women having more type I.

Women can build muscle. Sex should not have an effect on the outcome if this study was only done with female athletes. When the muscle tissues was viewed through a microscope, changes could be observed.

        Research indicates that such an endurance advantage may not be inherited. There is no substantial evidence to suggest that a mitochondrial athletic advantage can be passed through generations. There could be an indication that longer periods of exercise could change the mitochondrial structure for the extended term. According to   Joachim Nielsen : “we took detailed measurements of each muscle fibre and saw that those muscle fibres that are typically most active during extended periods of physical activity are also those with the most significant changes in mitochondrial structure. ” This may also suggest that these changes may be more so epigenetic changes. The DNA sequence would not be altered like that of a mutation. Athletes are changing themselves through training. The only way to know for sure is to observe how their offspring would be like.

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It seems the cellular function in relation to sports performance is more complex than previously imagined. Training will certainly become more sophisticated and scientifically based in the coming decades. Many times training took a more trial and error approach to methods. Pure science mainly focused on observation, which in many regards athletes used that system in their training methods. There now seems to be a framework to follow based on a scientific method.Long term exercise may induce some form of permanent change at the cellular level  if done for decades. If this was to be made it into an experiment it would be difficult to test for. If mitochondrial advantage is inherited it is probably a combination of genes. The misconception is that it is one gene responsible for various traits. The function and actions of gene expression operate more intricately. Then environment can also influence how such genes are expressed. An athlete may have genetic advantage , but a poor training method could hinder their full potential.

This would require a longer study of athletes to see if there was a genuine genetic  athletic connection. Science is far away from engineering a superhuman athlete, but it appears to be getting closer.

       Such studies also offer other applications in biomedical fields. There are diseases that harm mitochondria which can result in impaired muscular and metabolic function. This may also hold the key to improving the lives of people with metabolic disorders. There are  a number of mitochondrial diseases that people can have. Normally such diseases are genetically inherited. Not all mitochondrial disease is inherited. Some can be classified as chronic. Other disease can induce mitochondrial dysfunction. Severe mitochondrial disease has particular symptoms. This could include muscle weakness, exercise intolerance, poor growth, Respiratory problems, Thyroid problems, Nervous system or brain disorders, heart, liver, and kidney health issues. The symptons depend on the cells effected. Mitochondria is very important to human health and the body. If disease can be understood at a cellular level, the possibility of cures become that much greater. Rather than just having medical treatments, particular mitochondrial issues can be eliminated through genetic engineering.

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Research has suggested that major diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, forms of cancer, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, and various autoimmune diseases have a link to damage of the mitochondria. If Mitochondria fails to produce energy, this will have deleterious effects on human health. The lack of critical energy harms metabolic function.  This may explain the cause of obesity or diabetes in some individuals. It has been theorized that exercise can protect the mitochondria. Free radicals if produced in a large number can create oxidative stress. The mitochondria have antioxidants, which focus on reducing damage to the cells. It is possible that antioxidants decline as a person ages. Having a diet in which the require minerals and vitamins could improve cell health.

If this is scientific fact, then there could be a means of reversing the aging process by means of manipulating the mitochondria. If immortality was to be achieved this would generate much bioethical controversy.  The secret of life is hidden in the genetics and organelles of cells. Cells and organelles can also reveal much about the history of human evolution. People inherit their mitochondrial DNA from their mother. This is why biologists and  paleoantropologists are able to trace human evolution millions of year ago. The body is like a puzzle and each part fits somewhere. Mitochondrial function may be the holy grail of biomedical advancement.

       The only way to fully grasp the significance of the study is to have an understanding of mitochondria’s structure and function. The mitochondrion has an inner membrane folded shaped like shelves with incomplete partitions. This allows for an increased surface area so that fats and sugars can be released. The outer membrane of a mitochondrion is smooth with limited features. Mitochondria can be found in most eukaryotic cells. The Mitochondria must generate energy in the form of adensosine triphosphate. The number of mitochondria vary depending on the type of  cell. Muscle and liver cells can have to thousands of mitochondria. Red blood cells do not have mitochondria. The outer mitochondrial membrane is permeable  to transport small molecules with particular channels for moving  large molecules. The inner membrane is less permeable only allowing small molecules to enter the matrix. The matrix has the DNA of the mitochondrial genome and enzymes associated with the tricarboxylic cycle. This will then metabolize nutrients into by product for the purpose of energy production. The conversion happens in the inner membrane.   Cristae  house the protein components. The electron transport chain induces a series oxidation reduction reactions which move electrons from one protein to the next. The free energy produced enables the  phosphorylation  of  adenosine diphosphate to ATP. The final result is the powering of cells through  chemiosmotic coupling of oxidative phosphorylation, which allows for the fueling of various cellular activities. This also include the generation of muscular movement. Mitochondria and its properties may hold a key to more efficient athletic training.

New Research on the Muscles of Elite Athletes: When Quality is Better Than Quantity

Introduction to Sport Psychology

Sport psychology is a field that uses the study of the mind to improve athletic performance. Athletic performance is not just physical; it is also mental. With the rise of numerous professional sports many teams have sports psychologists on their staff. The role of the sports psychologist is to get athletes motivated, contributing to practice sessions, and learning to control emotional states under extreme pressure. This is essential to any athlete competing at the highest levels in professional sports. Psychology is the scientific disciple that examines the human mind. This should not be confused with psychiatry, which is a medical field of study. Psychiatry takes the perspective that people can be treated for mental diseases and it can be cured. Psychiatrists hold medical degrees meaning they can be licensed to prescribe medicines and perform medical procedures. Both psychiatrists and some psychologists treat mental disorders. That is the only aspect of similarity. Psychology has a wider field of study which encompasses behavior and mental processes. Sports psychology is an example of applied science. This means it goes beyond mere research and is used to solve particular problems.

      Sport psychologists could be involved in numerous elements. They could be examining and developing techniques to improve participation satisfaction or performance enhancement. This could also involve sharpening mental skills. Athletes may require counseling or clinical issues assistance. Athletes may deal with stress or negative emotions, which could effect how they play. A sports psychologist can help them manage issues or tribulations that might emerge. Sport psychologists can also assist in organizational elements of sports counseling. Sport psychologists may also study the social and developmental issues regarding sports participation. The sports psychologist applies their specialized knowledge  to training and competition.

Sports psychologist must also know the technical elements of competition and have an understanding of sports organizations’ rules. Sport psychology thus becomes an important tool for coaches. Anxiety and stress are major hindrances to overall performance. This requires a set of mental skills and techniques to manage such emotions. They cannot be eliminated, but controlled for the period of competition. Coaching style and philosophy of game play can make a difference. Sports psychology employs a number of methods to solve rapid changes in emotional states.

          There are methods that are used by sport psychology to increase performance. Cognitive skills and behavioral training are utilized in sessions. This includes goal setting. imagery, and performance planning. Goal setting is establishing what performance target an athlete wants to accomplish. Imagery and performance planning is the process and actions involved in reaching a particular objective. These techniques put emphasis on a pathway to success and the actions required to reach it. Cognitive and behavioral skills training also involves improvement of concentration. Having attention and a high level of alertness contributes to athlete awareness as well as response.

There are also confidence and esteem building techniques to deal with feelings of nervousness and self doubt. There is an emphasis on emotion regulation as well as developing sportsmanship and leadership skills. Competence building is also another aspect related to the behavioral- cognitive skills building. Counseling and clinical intervention is another part of sport psychology. Athletes may suffer from depression or phobia and require guidance. Then there are points in which burnout can arise or extreme lack of motivation. People who lose enthusiasm for something they are passionate about is not abnormal. This happens to writers, artists, filmmakers, or anyone with a high level of talent. Counseling can help with reminding individuals like these why they should continue and be dedicated to their passion. Counseling and clinical intervention also assists with injury and rehabilitation. When play sports professionally the risk of injury is high. Sport psychologists can help an  athlete cope with returning to a  healthy state. Medical professionals now understand that there is a mind and body link, which is important to overall health.

Counseling can assist athletes when transitioning to other careers. Major changes in life will take sometime in terms of acclimation. Athletes who choose another sport to compete in benefit from  counseling to make such transitions less cumbersome. Athletes can suffer from the same mental illness that effects the majority of the population. A strong support system and attentive coaching can prevent mental distress. Sport psychologists also use consulting and training as a procedural technique. Team building becomes critical when working with multiple athletes. Team sports require cooperation and coordination on higher scales. This requires an understanding of group psychology and how to get individuals to function as one unit. A soccer team or a basketball team will not successful if all the players either are suspicious of one another or have difficulty collaborating.

20110703000329291611-minihighres The best teams are one that can function as a single unit and helping one another to success. Sports organizations also seek the advice of sports psychologists. Psychology has become interdisciplinary. Sports psychology also uses other academic fields such as kinseology, physiology, and biomechanics. The sciences are more connected to one another than previously thought. Neuroscience, biology, and anatomy contribute to psychology. As more is discovered about the human brain this requires multiple disciplines to decipher and interpret. Sport psychology has been applied to how youth sports are played and function. There are systems of intervention for both families and youth. Psychologically people change as they age and during youth it is a time of rapid development. Youth development follows in stages according to some psychological theories.

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abigail_2Children do not just go through physical maturation, but a cognitive one. Jean Piaget (1896-1980) was the psychologist who pioneered the study of childhood cognitive development. According to development happens in developmental stages. The sensorimotor stage is the point in which an infant becomes acclimated to their five senses. This lasts to about age two. The next stage is the preoperational in which language is being learned and used. Children at this stage between the ages of two to six have not mastered logic or the understanding of other perspectives.   The concrete operational stage between six and eleven years of age children gain the ability to reason. The last operational stage happens at age twelve results in abstract thinking. Piaget’s theories can be questioned however it seems that his model does accurately describe the cognitive development of children. A sport psychologist must take that into account when designing programs for youth sports. Coaches also may consult sport psychologists in methods and techniques in regards to motivating a team or developing talent of the athletes.  Such methods make building an athletic team more sophisticated compared to the past.

        Psychology has multiple branches and perspectives. Although it is a fairly recent science, psychology may have ancient roots. Philosophy was the first system of thought to investigate questions of the mind. Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates debated what was consciousness and the mind. African and Asian civilizations also investigated such questions. Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilization were exploring concepts of medicine  and the mind. Further east Buddhism and Yoga philosophies focused on consciousness and techniques of mastering the mind through meditation.  African civilizations developed a folk psychology in which shamans would use certain therapies for various aliments that were both of mind and body.

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Modern psychology gradually developed from ancient and modern philosophy. The sciences can trace its birth to philosophy. Many scientists of the past were known as natural philosophers. The rise of the scientific method and more advance mathematics gave birth to modern science. Rene Descartes (1596-1650) proposed the notion that the spiritual mind and the body were two distinct entities. Reflexes and sensations were not products of supernatural forces. Such activities were based on the nervous system. Psychology as the public knows it did not come into existence until the 19th century. Wilhelm Wundt working at the the University of Leipzig was the harbinger of experimental psychology. These early experiments into psychology conducted in 1879 studied perception, sensation, learning,consciousness, and memory. Since then psychology has expanded these elements.

The perspectives of psychology have different explanations for human behavior. The biological perspective seeks to uncover the mind by the study of genes, the nervous system, and endocrine system. Evolutionary perspectives normally fall under this category, but it can be paced under a separate classification.   The cognitive perspective puts emphasis on mental processes such as learning,memory, perception and thinking. The psychodynamic explores the function of the unconscious. The behavioral perspective examines the role learned responses and the nature of human behavior. The developmental perspective realizes that an individual will change throughout a lifespan. The whole person perspective seeks to examine mental health and human potential. Trait and temperament are a focus which explores the attributes of personality and individual differences. The sociocultural perspective realizes that various groups behave in different ways based on the societies in which they live. While some theories have credibility, other can be questioned. The human mind and brain . is more complex than previously thought.

         When discussing sports motivation and emotion are important to an athlete’s performance.  The brain serves a major role in emotion. The amygdala a structure of the limbic system is responsible for a wide range of emotions. Athletes even are going through numerous emotions prior to and during competition. Emotions could fluctuate between joy, anxiety, or trepidation. The brain responds to external stimuli. The barin even reacts to different facial expressions. The physical reactions to emotions happen when the automatic nervous system activates. The energy level of the body can increase or decrease depending on the intensity level.

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when discussing emotions this raises another question. Do people have the same emotions? There are obviously varieties of emotions . This depends on the environment, situation, and temperament of the person. Human populations either experience happiness, trepidation, or sorrow. These feelings are universal, which indicate that emotions and social behavior are evolutionary survival mechanisms.

Emotions and complex social behavior was probably a means of our early hominid ancestors adopting to dangerous environments of the prehistoric past. This may explain why humanity is also capable of nonverbal communication. Psychology also explores motivation and how it relates to behavior. The reason some may perform better during competition has to do in some manner with degree of motivation. Sports competition could either be defined as intrinsic motivation or extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is doing an activity for the enjoyment it produces. The reward or accomplishment is not the ultimate goal. Many athletes get a great satisfaction by simply just playing their sport and being active. Winning almost becomes an afterthought. This does not mean the competitive drive disappears. Extrinsic motivation is reward based. A person can be motivated more when a reward is possible for accomplishment. An athlete could be motivated by money, fame, and an enduring legacy in the sports world. Psychological motive is defined as the internal mechanism that selects and dictates behavior. Drive is separate entity because it is biologically based. Sport psychology does contribute to understanding the mental elements of performance, but it is still unclear how effective it is. More research and exploration is needed to reach full verification.

 

References

Zimbardo, Phillip. Psychology Core Concepts.  New York : Pearson, 2009.

Cherry, Kandra. Essentials of Psychology. New York : Fall River Press, 2010.

Hunt, Morgan. The Story of Psychology. New York : Anchor Books , 2007.

“Sport Psychology.” American Psychological Association, American Psychological Association, http://www.apa.org/ed/graduate/specialize/sports.aspx.
Introduction to Sport Psychology

Exactly How Strong Are Female Bodybuilders Compared To Men?

Exactly How Strong Are Female Bodybuilders Compared To Men?

Female bodybuilders train for muscular hypertrophy and aesthetics. The present an image of strength, yet the question  is what is their strength compared to men. This article from Spot Me Girl attempts to answer this question. There are women could can be stronger than men, however their is a different outcome if both men and women are on the same fitness program. The reason is due to sexual dimorphism which is shown in size, weight, and body composition. Potential between both sexes in terms of fitness capacity can vary vastly depending on health, somatotype, genetics, and method of training. There is a range of strength levels that can be documented. While physical strength is not the goal of the female bodybuilder, the development of more type II muscle fibers may result in them gaining strength. Microtrauma occurs in the muscle causing hypertrophy. This process happens to women who engage in serious weight training for such a sport. The difference is in degree and extent. The average woman could gain some strength,  who trains on a regular basis. The female bodybuilder who trains for years or decades could reach a strength level either equal to or slightly above the average man. The untrained man probably would not depending on their weight or height be as strong as a woman who trains regularly for strength. Other exercises are useful, but some are more effective at amassing strength. A Female bodybuilder would probably not reach the same level of mass or strength as a male bodybuilder. This does not mean there cannot be overlap, but this is an exception unique to a woman’s individual physiology and physical fitness capacity. Female bodybuilders would thus be stronger than average men, but would have less compared to their fellow male competitors.

         It should be clarified that endocrinology as plays a role in sports performance. The text states that testosterone does not play as big a function in muscle building as one would presume. This contradicts the following statements about initial strength. The reason that this natural strength disparity is present is due to the difference in testosterone. Prior to puberty there is no difference in physical strength between the sexes. Boys and girls have roughly the same physical fitness capacity. Girls will grow faster and end their growth spurts sooner. Boys are slower to grow having two stages. The first growth spurt could happen as early as 10 to 11 years old. The major change comes around age 13 when testosterone production increases and the testis become larger. Between these two growth spurts, males will have a strength spurt. The spurt in strength is the result in increase testosterone production. Estrogen creates more fat storage on the female body when the ovaries produce it. Sex hormones also effect the bones, ligaments, and tendons which also contribute to body strength.  A majority of girls reach their adult height by age 15, while men continue to gain more. Women do not gain a strength spurt form puberty due to the endocrinological changes related to estrogen and progesterone. However estrogen does have benefits. It can contribute to muscule repair, protects joints as well as bones, stops muscle loss, and aids in metabolism. Testosterone aids in protein synthesis which changes the rate of how muscle reacts to exercise. It also effects growth factors. This explains why it would be harder for women to build strength and muscle when starting a training regimen.

The image above shows children and at this stage in life, there is limited physical capacity difference. The adults on the right would show the aftermath of the physical changes from puberty. The athletes at the bottom have to work harder to achieve these physiques. 

It should be understood that it is not the total amount of testosterone that produces greater strength . The amount of free unbounded testosterone in the body makes part of the determination.The majority of testosterone in the body is either bound to proteins or sex  hormone binding globlin. Endocrine function does have a significant fact in strength, yet it is not the only one. There are also considerations at the beginning that has to do with a woman’s body structure.

        The upper body region differs for males and females in terms of structure. Men have broader shoulders meaning a larger frame to store more muscle on. Women can have an estimated 40 % to 70 % upper body strength level compared to a man. When men train they can add more upper body strength. A female bodybuilder’s shoulders would not increase in size. The muscle would develop relative to her frame and size. The skeletal structure including  clavicle, scapula and the rib cage would be denser in the male body. That means an average man would have an upper body advantage over the untrained woman. Assuming the female bodybuilder had enough muscle for forceful recruitment and contraction her upper body strength could be close to or equal the average male, even if the bone density was not equivalent. There would not be a way for her to challenge a male bodybuilder because the bone and muscle mass is greater.

The female bodybuilder compared to the male bodybuilder would not reach his level of strength and mass. The less muscular women would not have the same strength as the men they are next to. The average man at the bottom would not be in the same strength range as the female bodybuilder. 

Tendon and ligaments have to be factored in when discussing functional strength. Women have looser joints, which allow for greater flexibility, but this comes with the added problem of possible injuries.The lower body women tend to be closer to men in body strength. This is probably easier for women to build up compared to the upper body. These estimates in body strength can be represented in estimated percentages. Women are 27% weaker in the lower body and 63% weaker in the upper body in terms of averages. Greater upper body strength can be essential to sports like weightlifting or boxing. The difference in upper body strength only gets more pronounced with training. If women were to match the upper body strength of men it would require more bone mass and broader shoulders. Narrow shoulders mean that there is a decreased articular surface. Before considering other biological and physical factors to answer the question, there has to be a precise method of measuring physical strength.

         There are ways of measuring strength. There are methods that are more precise than others. Hand grip measure would not be the most precise measure. The chart used in the article only used women hand ball players and judo martial artists. The study conducted by The Journal of Applied Physiology . They used a total number of 1,645 men and only 533 women. This data could be distorted considering women’s numbers were small in the sample. While hand grip strength can be an indicator of manual lifting and the ability to carry loads this does not give a full assessment of absolute strength. The subjects they used were not training for physical strength, like weightlifters. Only with precise measures can a determination be made. Looking at men and women’s weight lifting and powerlifting records shows more.

Weightlifting World Records (men and women)

Powerlifting World Records (IPF)

The records demonstrated the difference in  absolute strength between men and women . The difference calculated in weightlifting is 120kg  compared to 327.kg in powerlifting. There still remains a difference in absolute strength. Bodybuilders do not train the exact way as powerlifters or weightlifters. So, if one wants to get specific about strength levels it would be best to collect data on some of the lifting records of individual athletes. When Kristy Hawkins competed in bodybuilding her lifting stats were 205 lbs (92.9 kg) for incline bench, 315 lbs (142.8 kg ) for squats, and deadlift. She could also do 245 lbs (111.13 kg) barbell rows. When she became a powerlifter her lifts became significantly larger. She broke records with a deadlift of 650 kg and a 225 kg squat.  Kristy had strength as a bodybuilder,but gained more of it through powerlifting techniques.

A person can gain some strength from bodybuilding, yet powerlifting and weightlifting provide a greater potential in terms of absolute strength gains. The goal of bodybuilding is not too bench the most, but to present a physique that has definition, shape, symmetry, size and conditioning. It is rare that women reach the strongest trained male range.The comparison of how strong a female bodybuilder is also depends on the man she is being compared to in terms of strength capacity. The average male lifter can roughly squat  125 lbs (56.7 kg), benchpress 135 lbs (61.2 kg), and deadlift 155 lbs ( 70.3 kg). Compared to Kristy Hawkins the average man would not be as strong. This is based of the Lon Kilgore strength standard. Another comparison could be made with Desiree Ellis during her career. She was able to perform 225 lbs( 102 kg ) bench press and 315 lbs squats (142.8 kg ).

The average novice male  lifters weighing 198 89 kg) pounds with several months of training could reach a 230 lbs (104.3 kg) squat, a 175 lbs (79.4 kg)  bench press. These gains are modest, but still not in the range of a female bodybuilder. Several years a male could reach the intermediate level which could see a 215 lbs (97 kg ) bench press and (129.3 kg) 285 lbs for squats. The intermediate level range of male strength is normally were women reach their maximal strength. Advanced male lifters can reach 290 lbs (131  kg ) for bench press and 390 lbs( 176.9 kg) for squats. Kristy Hawkins deadlift is higher compared to advance male lifters, but this is a notable and rare exception.

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This comes down to body size. women weigh less than men and on average are smaller. Examining deadlift data from a small sample of athletes show the difference in body weight. The smallest males weigh in  at  is 114 lbs (51 kg ) compared to the smallest woman at 97 lbs (43 kg). The largest woman would only reach 199 lbs (90 kg )compared to the male 320 lbs (145 kg )  and over. Female bodybuilders often seem bigger than they actually are. One of the biggest female bodybuilders to compete was Lesa Lewis who competed at 193 lbs (88 kg). Phil Heath the 2015 Mr.Olympia weighed about 240 lbs (108 kg). The biggest  women are comparatively small to their male counterparts.Other female bodybuilders may even weigh less than an average man when in competition. The average weight of the American man over the age of 20  is at least 191 pounds. Female bodybuilders rarely reach this weight even during the off season.

These weightlifting statistics are more precise than a basic hand grip study. While lifting any amount of weight can induce change there is a training technique that is more efficient in building strength. Strength increase can happen from bodybuilding,but powerlifting and weighlifting can increase strength even more.

       Another factor is body composition and somatotype. This is an estimation of possible muscular strength gains that can be made. Many female bodybuilders have a mesomorphic body type prior to starting their sport. Having that base can enhance the body further through training. For people with ectomorphic and endomorphic body types this poses more of a challenge. Muscular gain would be more difficult for naturally thin or larger people. When related to body fat percentages it makes a difference. A thin man would still have less fat compared to a thin woman. Fat does not add to strength, rather it can add to mass. Although from basic kinematics the more mass the more force can be generated, having more fat does not correlate to more functional strength. This explains why a the weakest man would still have more strength than the weakest woman. The male body has more muscle composition compared to the higher fat composition in women’s bodies. Muscle fibers generate more force compared to fat.

Both the men and women in these photos are very strong. However, the women are carrying more body fat compared to the men. It is hard to tell my just looking. 

Normally a female bodybuilder can reach at least 8% body fat. Men can reach as low as 3%. These low body fat levels are only done for a contest. Keeping the body under such conditions could be harmful. Body fat levels need to be low enough to show definition . Fat is necessary for the cell membranes. The recommended body fat levels for men are around 15% compared to women’s 21%. Seeing as athletes are pushing their bodies to a limit, they would actually have more physical strain during contest time. This is tougher for women, because if body fat levels become to low it can disturb the menstrual cycle. This can be avoided as long as there is recovery during the off season. Body composition also has a role in strength.

         Another consideration is muscle fiber type. Simply having large muscles does not equate to more strength. There are weightlifters and crossfit competitors that lift more compared to some female bodybuilders. The reason is based on type II muscle fiber distribution. This muscle fiber type is designed for more explosive power. Type II muscle fibers can either be classified as moderate IIa  or fast twitch IIb. If one is looking to increase strength and muscle mass these fibers are essential to the body. A bodybuilder may have large muscles, but depending on their type II to type I ratio a smaller person could be stronger.

At first this can be confusing. it only becomes clear when comprehended from the perspective of full muscle recruitment. Each of the muscle fibers must contribute to the physical task at hand. Men tend to have more type II muscle fiber, while women contain more type I fiber. Although such type I muscle fiber is not as strong, it is more fatigue resistant. The amount of muscle fiber type can vary among individuals, yet it is clear that sex is a factor in muscle fiber expression, which results in distribution.

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The general muscle fiber classification demonstrates power and energy levels.
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The type IIa muscle fiber expression in hindlimbs of a man and a woman.

Type II muscle fiber has the ability to contract rapidly. There are case when both type I and type II are used during physical activity. Type I muscle fibers are used first and when they reach their limit there is a switch to type II. The muscle fiber types act as an auxiliary support for the body under physical activity. Men and women have the same muscular system. The difference is that men have a grater amount concentrated in the upper body. The more fibers available in that area means the greater chance for more force from recruitment.

Blood supply is also different for certain muscle fiber. Slow twitch muscle fiber has more blood supply compared to fast twitch. A large blood supply enables more oxygen. As a result their work out put can last longer due to the blood difference. Fast twitch muscle has a lack of blood, which means less oxygen delivery to the tissue. Fast twitch muscle fiber has less mitochandria. Mitochandria is responsible for energy production by means of adenosine triphosphate. This explains the secret to type I muscle fiber’s endurance it utilizes blood supply and adenosine triphosphate more efficiently. Type II muscle fiber has a bigger diameter compared to type I fiber.

Strength can come in various sizes and body types. 

The challenge for type II muscle fiber is the lactic threshold. ATP uses glucose as a fuel source when under physical activity and work. Activity that goes from a range of 10 seconds to three minutes ATP is formed from incomplete breakdown of stored glucose known as glycogen. Lactic acid is produced as a result. Lifting weights requires energy faster than the body can deliver oxygen to the tissues. During this process glucose can be metabolized into  pyruvate. Pyruvate will then be converted into lactate for energy production to continue. The lactic threshold almost acts as a defense mechanism telling our bodies to stop strenuous activity. Lactic acid is not responsible for muscle soreness after work outs. Metabolites have been thought to cause such soreness, but it is unclear which ones. This explains why an athlete cannot exercise non-stop.

During exercise intensity levels are a factor in fatigue and lactic acid build up. Slow twitch fibers are reliant on a mixture of fat and glucose. Women who have a higher fat percentage can use some of that for energy. When intensity levels rise for slow twitch fibers fat metabolism will subside, while the carbohydrate metabolism increases. This induces assistance from fast twitch fiber.

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The muscle cell types
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Basic muscle fiber structure

What can be extrapolated is that not all muscle fibers are the same. The muscle cells also differ.  The three types include cardiac, smooth, and skeletal muscle. It is skeletal muscle that contributes more to strength and type II fibers that make it physiologically possible. The motor neurons are bigger in type II muscle fiber. The difference relative to size means that more fibers are activated during muscular contraction. Sarcomere length also contributes to maximal force of the muscle. Filament length if too short or too long will not produce the highest amount of force. Sarcomeres are the smallest units of contractile sections of muscle. The thin and thick filaments overlap one another when producing action. There is an estimated 600 muscles in the human body which requires the myocardium, voluntary, and involuntary muscles to collaborate. Women contain the same anatomical structure, however the difference is in body composition and total muscle fiber type.

       The nervous system is a factor in strength. Neural activity and its function translate into motor skill movement.The nervous system transmits impulses to the muscles. The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord. Strength level can be effected by the total number of motor neuron units and the rate of activation. This process is known as rate coding. When an athlete reaches a high level of rate coding they reach a classification known as explosive.

Motor neurons
The motor neuron and muscle fiber link as displayed anatomically.

There are certain methods employed to increase strength training wise. Lifting heavy weights can cause a change or lifting light weights at fast intervals. There are also factors of coordination and synchronization. Inter-muscular coordination refers to how efficiently multiple muscle work together to perform a task. Intra-muscular coordination requires the firing patterns of individual muscle fibers for a particular physical task. The process functions similar to gears working together in a clock. The gears will move to get the hands of the clock to move. This collaboration in action results in a synchronization. Motor neuron units will fire in accordance to the training load. Synchronization describes how particular muscle fibers are used depending on the physical task. Neural adaptation also is just as important as muscle fiber type. Technically, if a female bodybuilder has mastered this neuromuscular efficiency she could have considerable strength.

Some bodybuilders actually do have powerlifting backgrounds that contributed to their success. Bev Francis was a powerlifter before competing in bodybuilding. Her training in that sport gave her a great base to compete. Her maximum lifts were 335 lbs bench press 501 lbs deadlift and 500 lbs squat. Becca Swanson has been considered by many to be the strongest woman who ever lived. Her statistics include a 600 lbs bench press, 683 lbs deadlift, and 854 lbs squat.  Jill Mills also competed in bodybuilding before becoming a World’s Strongest Woman competitor.

If there were to be a comparison of strength levels, they would probably be stronger competing as powerlifters than when they were bodybuilders. That is due to the fact that the nervous system, just like the muscular system is responding to stimuli. The neural adaptation develops new pathways for the purpose of functional movement. This indicates that lifting higher loads would be more effective than lighter ones. If  any one wants to gain strength weighlifting would be the best method to reach that physical fitness target. Bodybuilders do lift weights, but the intent is not to gain the most strength. It is designed for body sculpting.

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The nerves and neurons serve many functions in the human body. Voluntary movement would not be possible without the effort of the motor cortex. The nervous system is a network of nerves and sensory receptors working to provide the brain with information. The nervous system is divided into two parts : the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. The central nervous system contains the brain and the spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system consists of the nerves responsible that transport impulses from to and from the nervous system. During exercise or sporting competition the nervous system is diligently working with other organ systems. The muscular system, endocrine system,and nervous system contribute to physical strength, but it goes beyond that. Physical strength can also come from the genes.

          There are genes that are linked to physical strength. The genes that are responsible for muscular strength ACTG 1, STY 1, PEX 14, and TGFA. Genes are just units of deoxyribonucleic acid. ACTG 1 provides instructions for the formation of gamma y actin proteins. There are six types of actin and four of them are present in the muscle cells. This contributes to muscular contraction. TGFA also has involvement in protein coding.Genes can be expressed in different ways depending on various factors. There are multitudes of genes that influence body structure and their is a possibility that there are more. Actin alpha 3 and ACE influence muscle fiber type and even endurance. Alpha actin 3 is found in mostly fast twitch muscle fiber. This protein is essential to the fast twitch muscle fiber. ACE instructs the production of angiotensin-converting enzyme. Angiotensin I becomes Angiotensin I I, which may contribute in some manner to skeletal muscle structure. The ACE gene can have variation resulting in the ACE I/D polymorphism. Having two copies of this version of the gene could result in the D allele. This may result in a greater portion of fast twitch muscle fibers in the body.

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Genes and environment can influence an individual’s physical capabilities. While it is true genes are important, this should not mean that genes determine everything. Training method is important. A woman who spends more time doing cardiovascular exercise or aerobics probably would not see a dramatic increase in strength compared to a woman doing weight training. The physical fitness potential could vary immensely among individuals.

        There is an exact answer to this question if approached from a perspective of biology, physiology, and anatomy. Then one must have precise measurement. If one wants to be exact, this is an essential part of the experiment. The use of the hand grip measure was not as precise as weightlifting or powerlifting measures.  The conclusion that can be reached is that men are stronger than women, however a physically fit woman has a strength level either equal to or beyond average men. The Spot Me Girl  article does come to an incorrect conclusion. It states “even if we are biologically the weaker sex regarding muscle, at least we have some pretty good conditions for lifting because of our physical resilience!” There is no such thing as a biologically weaker sex in regards to muscle. The real difference is in maximum physical fitness capacity. Men’s fitness levels are just higher due to differences in genetics, anatomy, biology, and physiology.

    What can be  gathered from this information is a rough estimate of strength levels. An untrained woman would have less strength than an untrained man. A female bodybuilder would be stronger than both an untrained man or untrained woman. However, the female bodybuilder would not have a similar physical fitness capacity of a male on her same training regimen.

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The depiction of strength levels from weakest to strongest going from left to right. 

These women have achieved considerable strength that clearly would surpass a man less active.  

The article is correct in the fact that women require less time for recovery and have an advantage in endurance. The full extent of women’s physical capability may not be known. A majority of exercise physiology research focuses on male athletes. Thus women may not be training in the most efficient manner tailored to their biology and physiology. This makes questions such as these more difficult to answer. A prediction which may be correct can be made. The exact answer could be that female bodybuilders could be stronger than many men depending on the man’s weight, size, health, and physical fitness level.  The female bodybuilder is stronger than the average man, but the weightlifters and powerlifters could achieve strength levels much higher. While men’s physiology allows for greater physical fitness capacity, this does not automatically make them better athletes. Skills, training, and experience can make the difference in athletic competition. Female bodybuilders can be very strong depending on their genetics, training method, and diet.

Exactly How Strong Are Female Bodybuilders Compared To Men?