There is quite a bit of opinion about just how we should train our bodies. Part of this opinion relates to gender. There seems to be some amount of perception that men and women should have different programs simply because of their gender difference.
Nothing could be further from the truth……
In my 30+ years of training clients, I have had a good mix of both men and women…with women actually being a bit in the majority for whatever reason.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
Personally, I have never found a valid reason to treat them differently. After all, shoulders are shoulders, arms are arms, legs are legs. We both have the same physical structure, yet there are certainly some things to keep in mind.
There is no reason to think a good exercise movement for a man wouldn’t also be a good exercise movement for a woman…and basically that is true.
Where our differences come in to play is in the areas of:
Women have less testosterone yet carry a bit more body fat than men. This means they have perhaps smaller versions of muscles than men. This dictates proper resistance loads. They will tend to have “shape” rather than “bulk”.
Their center of gravity and balance position(s) may be slightly different. These are simply adjustment factors which do not change whether or not a good movement works for both genders.
Women are born to bear children. Their hip width might tend to be wider than that of a man. This might change the degree of overall body stability, particularly on unilateral, one-leg movements.
Range of motion can perhaps be different or look different but, again, this doesn’t change the effectiveness of a good exercise movement.
Women tend to have a more pronounced “femoral notch” at the lower end of that thigh bone. The strength/coordination setup from the thigh down through the knee has been suggested as slightly more challenging in women.
We see the knees dip inward into a more “valgus” (a bit toward “knock-kneed”) position. This combination means women are more likely to damage the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) inside the knee joint.
Simply put, this means we trainers need to be more aware of leg flexion, rotation, and knee position in order to maximize joint safety during exercise. Again, just safety protocol which once again does not diminish the effectiveness of a movement.
I have observed that men tend to train for strength and women tend more toward cardio training. We need to both reverse that and simply do both.
When it comes down to skeleton, muscle structure, adaptive responses, and basic physiology, we are pretty much the same, so let’s train accordingly. What is good for one is also good for the other….with only some minor adjustments necessary.
** (this article has been properly reviewed and cautiously approved by my wife!)