Hows it going ladies and gents! Today we have a guest blog post by Jason Tremblay. Jason is the co-founder for The Strength Guys. WE have a great deal of respect for Jason and TSG as they are one of the great teams that are bridging the gap between science and application. So, ladies drop the pink dumbbells and read what Jason has to say about females and strength training. Also, guys, not a bad idea to read this and educate yourselves.
By: Jason Tremblay, PFT Certificate, Co-Founder of The Strength Guys
Every day we are knowingly and unknowingly exposed to large amounts of information regarding our health. Whether it is through the internet, social media, television, newspapers, or friends; we are constantly subjected to endless streams of information on the do’s and don’ts of living a healthy lifestyle. With all of this information crossing our paths on a daily basis, how do we know what we are hearing is correct? Most of what we are exposed to by the media can be classified as training and dietary methods. A method can be defined as a means or manner of procedure, especially a regular and systematic way of accomplishing something. People want to be told the easiest and most efficient ways to get results as soon as possible. This is why training methods have grown in popularity and the principles of training have fallen by the wayside in media coverage. In order to understand if there is an optimal training method for female athletes, one must first identify the differences in musculature between females and males.
The differences between male and female musculature at a physiological level is miniscule, the primary difference is quantitative, females simply don’t have as many muscle fibers as males do. However, this is not to say that the female athlete can not make progress. The female athlete has similar trainability to the male athlete:
- The percentage increase in muscle fiber hypertrophy is relatively similar between males and females.
- Differences in strength levels may be due to differences in testosterone between genders.
Female Training Considerations:
- Since muscle quality does not differentiate between sexes, there is no need to differentiate training between sexes.
- The only difference between a female program and a male program is the relative strength levels.
- Female lower body strength is more comparable to males than upper body strength levels.
- Prioritize upper body strength in women.
- Research shows a higher occurrence of ACL injuries in female sport due to increased joint laxity, therefore programs should prioritize eccentric hamstring strength.
What is the Best Training Method for Females?
The best training method for females is also the best training method for males. The best training method has consistently been backed in the scientific literature. A progressive and properly periodized training program will give female and male athletes the best results. Gender specific training is foolish and the entire idea is misguided. There is no optimal or specific method for females or males to train under, there are only principles, and as Ralph Emerson once said “As to the methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles is sure to have trouble”.
I would like to thank Chris and Eric Martinez for allowing me to write an article for their October newsletter. I am the co-founder of The Strength Guys, a social media group that has rapidly gained popularity since its start in October of 2011. I have a background in hypertrophy and strength training with a focus on core strength and its transferability to sport. I am currently studying for my Bachelors of Physical Education at Mount Royal University with a focus on pedagogy and the development of physical literacy.
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1. Souster, Michael. (2011). Considerations for Age and Gender. Retrieved from the Mount Royal University Blackboard Website.
2. A. E. J. Miller, J. D. MacDougall, M. A. Tarnopolsky and D. G. Sale (1993). Gender differences in strength and muscle fiber characteristics. Retrieved September 10th, 2012 from https://springerlink3.metapress.com/content/l47235487q162675/resource-secured/?target=fulltext.pdf&sid=r2y5wx5tcpe0ubo4nzawsfbj&sh=www.springerlink.com
3. Park SK, Stefanyshyn DJ, Ramage B, Hart DA, Ronsky JL. Alternations in Knee Joint Laxity During the Menstrual Cycle in Healthy Women Leads to Increase in Joint Loads during Selected Athletic Movements. Am J Sports Med 37(6): 1169-77, 2009