Should women train the same way as men do?
Should women train the same way as men do?”
By Daniel Rocha
CMI and SUNM Graduate
Let's answer this using physiology and my experience training both sexes.
The short answer is yes, but there are many key characteristics to consider when writing a training program for a female. Here are some observations to optimize your strength training program, ladies:
More training frequency but utilize less volume per training unit due to the lower endogenous levels of androgens. The volume per training unit should be smaller in sets and exercises. Most females achieve part of their hypertrophy in the first year of training. It then plateaus dramatically. Improvements in strength are achieved through neural adaptations.
Hypertrophy is more challenging to attain for females due to lower androgen endogenous levels but also because women only have 60% of the number of nuclei per muscle fiber than males. This renders them less prone to muscular hypertrophy than males of the same age with equivalent training experience. Strength is an equalizer because the more powerful a female gets, her training should look like her male counterparts. The upper/lower body ratio is uneven for females. Pound for pound, females will have more muscular legs than males. This is due to reproductive reasons, protecting unborn children in the womb.
Knowledge of resistance training protocols is more helpful than educating women on the physical and psychological health benefits of resistance training. Many universities offer wellness programming for students and require wellness education for all students. These courses target applied resistance training knowledge, not just for those specific to strength and conditioning but also for other physical activity or personal fitness courses such as walking, running, yoga, aerobics, and swimming.
As a coach, in my opinion, women are easier to coach because female clients don’t let their egos spoil the methodology and follow instructions better than males. So ladies, don't be afraid to train hard and heavy. But never sacrifice bad form for increased weight. If you cannot feel the muscle contract, then you have not achieved training that muscle.
For coaching inquires
@drocbody on IG and Twitter
Hurley, K. S., Flippin, K. J., Blom, L. C., Bolin, J. E., Hoover, D. L., & Judge, L. W. (2018, May 1). Practices, perceived benefits, and barriers to resistance training among women enrolled in college. International journal of exercise science. Retrieved August 15, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5955292/