Personal strangth training


In the past, it was believed that strength training was unsuitable for women because they were 'incapable' of improving their strength. But more recent research has put paid to this theory.

10-weeks strength training
Professor Jack Wilmore from the University of Texas showed that after a 10-week training programme women showed a 29 per cent improvement on the bench press and 30 per cent improvement on the leg press, compared to a 17 per cent and 26 per cent improvement from men.

However, while the men showed hypertrophy (enlargement) in the leg and arm muscles, the women did not.

Muscle recruitment
Wilmore hypothesised that the reason for the increased strength in women must be due to an increased ability to recruit muscle fibres and coordinate the movements.

Later research has been equivocal - some has shown that women can increase muscle mass significantly, some has not. The tentative conclusion must be that in general most women find it more difficult to gain muscle mass.

General summaries
Recently an official summary of all the research regarding strength training for women was presented in the US by the Women's Committee of the National Strength and Conditioning Association. They reported that:

1. Women improve fitness, athletic performance and reduce injuries through strength training, just as men do
2. Physiological responses of males and females to the use of weight training and resistance exercise are similar
3. Women should train for strength using the same exercises and techniques as men
4. There is no significant difference between the sexes in the ability to generate force per unit of cross-sectional muscle. Men display greater absolute strength than women largely because they have a greater body size and higher lean-body-mass-to-fat ratio
5. Women do experience muscle hypertrophy in response to resistance exercise, but the absolute degree is smaller than in men.

The conclusion to be drawn is that women are equally as strength-trainable as men.



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All information on this website is for information only. offers no medical advice or information. Always consult your GP before undertaking any form of weight loss, fitness or exercise