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Women and Strength Training PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Women and Strength Training. Purpose. Examine gender differences and issues concerning women and resistance training. Educate female athletes about balance of training components. Misconceptions.

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Women and Strength Training

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Women and Strength Training


  • Examine gender differences and issues concerning women and resistance training.

  • Educate female athletes about balance of training components


  • Certain misconceptions about women and resistance training have limited the benefits for women due to the creation of inadequate training programs.

Common Myths

  • Women can’t get strong

  • Strength training causes women to become larger and heavier.

  • Women should use different training methods than men.

  • Women should avoid high intensity or high load training.

  • With the right exercise, you can get rid of trouble spots

  • If you don’t lose weight, there’s no point in exercising

Gender Differences

  • Does resistance training produce the same effects in women as it does men?????

  • Body Composition

  • Muscle Hypertrophy

  • Hormonal Response

  • Strength and Power

Body Composition

  • Both genders increased FFM and lowered body fat % at the same rate in a short term resistance training program (8-20 weeks).

  • Males generally have higher FFM than females

Muscle Hypertrophy

  • DEFINITION: An increase in muscle mass and cross sectional area.

  • Average male has greater muscle cross sectional area and more muscle fibers.

  • The average women’s muscles do not hypertrophy excessively.

  • Encouraging and discouraging for women

  • After a 10, 12, and 20 week study results showed no change or small changes in body circumferences in women.

Muscle Hypertrophy

  • Because muscle tissue is denser than adipose tissue, an increase in muscle mass accompanied by an decrease in adipose tissue equaling the gain in muscle mass will result in a slight decrease in body circumference.

Hormonal Response

  • Testosterone

  • At rest men have 10 to 20 times more serum testosterone than women.

  • This is why there are gender differences observed in BW and composition. It increases PRO synthesis, which induces hypertrophy.

Serum Testosterone Concentrations (pre, mid, post) Workout


Strength and Power

  • Avg. woman’s maximal mean total body strength is 60% of the avg. man’s

  • Avg. Upper body strength is 25-55% of man’s

  • Lower body strength is 70-75% of man’s

  • Muscle’s rate of force development is slower for the avg. woman than for the avg. man.

  • Thus training for explosive strength is vital in order to enhance RFD and improve power performances.

More gender differences

  • Males muscle fibers from greatest area to smallest are Type IIA-I-IIB

  • Women are I-IIA-IIB

  • Explains strength and power output differences

  • Women plateau earlier in training but see greater initial strength gains.

What does this tell us?

  • Women are at a disadvantage physiologically than men when it comes to strength and power.

  • In order to reap the benefits of RT a woman has to activate her muscle tissue by lifting heavy weights (<60% 1RM).

Benefits of RT

  • Decrease body fat percentage

  • Increase in strength

  • Increase in muscular tone, shape, and definition

  • Better muscular control

  • Improved bone mass

  • Increased resting metabolic rate

  • Improved self esteem and confidence

Outside the Norm

Larger than average increases in FFM and limb circumferences in some women are probably related to several factors…

  • Greater than normal resting testosterone, GH, or other hormone concentrations

  • Greater hormonal response than normal to RT

  • Lower than normal estrogen testosterone ratio

  • Genetic disposition to develop large muscle mass

Other Factors

  • Nutrition

  • Cardiovascular Exercise

  • Sport Specific Needs

Top 10 Reasons to Strength Train

  • Muscle is more compact than fat, so you’ll get leaner

  • Strength training fortifies your bones and improves flexibility, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and injury

  • You can reap benefits just from doing a 25 minute workout 2X a week

  • Research shows that the stronger you get, the more energetic and active you become. This change helps with weight control too.

  • Strength training raises your metabolism by as much as 15 percent, so you can eat more.

Top 10 Reasons to Strength Train

  • Studies indicate that it reverses age related muscle loss, dec. risk of heart disease and may cut the risk of breast, and colon cancer.

  • It reduces stress and anxiety

  • You fall asleep more quickly, sleep longer and more deeply

  • It improves balance, so you’ll play better

  • You feel stronger, which boosts confidence.

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