Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 18

Thread: Male vs Female numbers: does it matter? page

  1. #1
    Anivair's Avatar
    Anivair is offline Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio
    Posts
    61

    Male vs Female numbers: does it matter?

    In a lot of fitness resources i see a delineation between what a man is expected to be capable of and what a woman is expected to be capable of (even in terms of body weight percentages on a lift, for example). This happens even in the Primal Blueprint by our own Mark Sisson. Often the male numbers on things like bodyweight pull ups or push ups are higher than female numbers. Pullups are the best example, since at the primal movement level the female numbers are less than half the male numbers.

    I know we live in a world where the reality is that women are generally less strong and often that woman are less interested in getting strong because they fear muscle bulk.

    I also know that we are smarter than that and that we recognize that women can be strong and lean and not bulky and, in fact, that it happens all the time.

    But what about those numbers? Is there any legit reason for a woman to be doing less reps on upper body work, when we're comparing BW exercises? Is she not already, on average, moving less weight? Are less reps required? Based on what I know, if anything the female anatomy is better at multiple reps than the male anatomy (and most of the differences really are cosmetic when you get past that).

    I'm designing a workout program for local use and I'm trying to set goals, but mark's numbers scare me. Am I going to be accused of being sexist? Am I being sexist? Or am I being unrealistic in assuming that women should be doing the same number of reps as men?

    Ladies? Do any of you strong grok chicks have experience here? I'd love some support.

  2. #2
    iniQuity's Avatar
    iniQuity is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Northern NJ
    Posts
    5,718
    I can't directly answer your question but for what it's worth, I was watching the CrossFit games and the female/male heats were identical as far as # of reps, but weight was less.

    One event was 5 rounds of: 5 ring muscle ups, 10 deadlifts, "long" crunches (forget how many reps) and sprints that got longer into the later rounds. The only difference in this even was the males had to do more weight on deadlifts. It didn't seem like the CF games made too much of a distinction here.

  3. #3
    Anivair's Avatar
    Anivair is offline Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio
    Posts
    61
    I saw that and it's part of what lead me to this. In a bodyweight exercise, by and large, a woman is moving less bodyweight (because on average, they weigh less than the men do). This is what concerns me. i guess at worst, I'll run with baseline numbers and adjust them for reality as needed.

  4. #4
    Coach Palfrey's Avatar
    Coach Palfrey is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    1,140
    This is an issue of strength - be it bodyweight or external weight related. The reason for the general delineation is one of empirical evidence. It's not that women cannot achieve this but that it is less likely in the general population. Your example of pull ups is a good one - I would imagine a poll of male and female members on here would show a distinct difference in the number of reps each sex can do, irrespective of bodyweight.

  5. #5
    Anivair's Avatar
    Anivair is offline Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio
    Posts
    61
    Okay, so let's say (because it's true) that I'm creating a workout plan with carious fitness "levels" for people. Do i set the female numbers lower? Or do I just accept that many women will fall into a lower level than their male counterparts? I can accept either, but it's a matter of being fair.

    What I want is a system that will walk the line between providing you with merit based advancement and providing you with sweat equity based advancement, even though those are not the same. (ie: a woman and a man might start at the same level, do the same amount of work, and the man might be doing more pushups in the same time. Are they now at the same "level"? or are they at two different levels?)

    i want to be even handed but also fair in regards to my expectations. And like I said, it's hard for me to separate the reality of this with teh social expectations and what not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Coach Palfrey View Post
    This is an issue of strength - be it bodyweight or external weight related. The reason for the general delineation is one of empirical evidence. It's not that women cannot achieve this but that it is less likely in the general population. Your example of pull ups is a good one - I would imagine a poll of male and female members on here would show a distinct difference in the number of reps each sex can do, irrespective of bodyweight.

  6. #6
    adamm's Avatar
    adamm is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    323
    Well, I don't think you need to worry bout being sexist. Men and women are different - it does not mean one is "better" or "superior" to the other, just different. Steak is yummie, and so is lobster. Neither is necessarily better, just different

    Physiologically, men are different. I read, I believe it was Rippetoe's Practical Programming for Strength (don't remember), that women's max strength is generally much less than men's in proportion to body weight, but that they can do significantly more reps of 85% 1MR than a man and have less fatigue afterwards. I wish this didn't sound so vague, but I can't remember where I read that.

    Nonetheless, yes, women and men most likely need different workout approaches. Yes, they both should LHT, but reps and numbers of sets may be significantly different. I don't really know, I'm a guy, and I'm not a wizard at lifting weights (or even close). But logic tells me that there must be differences.

    --Me

  7. #7
    Abu Reena's Avatar
    Abu Reena is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    605
    Women aren't as strong as men. Full stop. That's a generalization. It doesn't mean that there aren't women who can't do more pullups than me (there are plenty) or anything else, but on average, the generalization holds true. If you are doing a program for a group, you must take this into account. If you are doing individualized training, you can focus on the individual.

    Case in point: I've been lifting since April. I squat over 300 lbs and deadlifted 320. These aren't particularly huge numbers, but I'm a 40 year old male with no real prior lifting history. Those are near elite numbers for women. Am I a physical beast? No, but I'm a man.

    I outweigh my wife by about 60 lbs, but can do double the pullups she can. She's a better swimmer than I am and has much better endurance, but even pound for pound, I am simply stronger than she is. You have to look at the averages.

  8. #8
    elainevdw's Avatar
    elainevdw is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Nevada, USA
    Posts
    260
    Quote Originally Posted by Anivair View Post
    Okay, so let's say (because it's true) that I'm creating a workout plan with carious fitness "levels" for people. Do i set the female numbers lower? Or do I just accept that many women will fall into a lower level than their male counterparts? I can accept either, but it's a matter of being fair.

    What I want is a system that will walk the line between providing you with merit based advancement and providing you with sweat equity based advancement, even though those are not the same. (ie: a woman and a man might start at the same level, do the same amount of work, and the man might be doing more pushups in the same time. Are they now at the same "level"? or are they at two different levels?)

    i want to be even handed but also fair in regards to my expectations. And like I said, it's hard for me to separate the reality of this with teh social expectations and what not.
    First of all, I wouldn't go creating fitness plans for people until you have a lot of experience training people. You'll get a feel from clients on what men vs. women are truly capable of after you've pushed enough of them to their respective limits.

    That said, yes, women have less weight to move, but we're also hormonally destined to have less muscle mass than men, period. There's a good quote from Chris McDougal's TED talk about how he can throw a rock and hit a 15 year old who can outsprint a female elite; equality, when it comes to running, doesn't really happen until beyond marathon distance, when women's natural endurance kicks in to even out the playing field.

    I am a big believer that women's strength programs shouldn't be any different, reps-wise, than a men's training program though. The weights the ladies are moving just need to be appropriate to what they can achieve. How that corresponds to body weight exercises I'd love to find out. Maybe you shouldn't calculate it based on body weight, but lean body mass? That would account for the fact that women will have less lean mass than men (since we don't have all that natural testosterone, etc).

    You could always check out the fitness requirements for the military. They have different classes based on gender and age, and I'd assume they're probably pretty accurate as far as what each gender is capable of.
    ~elaine. twitter, primal journal.


    Quote Originally Posted by vontrapp View Post
    CoWorker: What? Cmon live a little.
    Me: No thanks, I'd rather live a lot.

  9. #9
    Abu Reena's Avatar
    Abu Reena is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    605
    Quote Originally Posted by elainevdw View Post
    First of all, I wouldn't go creating fitness plans for people until you have a lot of experience training people. You'll get a feel from clients on what men vs. women are truly capable of after you've pushed enough of them to their respective limits.
    This.

  10. #10
    Coach Palfrey's Avatar
    Coach Palfrey is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    1,140
    Primal Blueprint Expert Certification
    Quote Originally Posted by Anivair View Post
    Okay, so let's say (because it's true) that I'm creating a workout plan with carious fitness "levels" for people. Do i set the female numbers lower? Or do I just accept that many women will fall into a lower level than their male counterparts? I can accept either, but it's a matter of being fair.

    What I want is a system that will walk the line between providing you with merit based advancement and providing you with sweat equity based advancement, even though those are not the same. (ie: a woman and a man might start at the same level, do the same amount of work, and the man might be doing more pushups in the same time. Are they now at the same "level"? or are they at two different levels?)

    i want to be even handed but also fair in regards to my expectations. And like I said, it's hard for me to separate the reality of this with teh social expectations and what not.
    I wouldn't worry too much about the system per se but just focus on good quality training and a progressive approach. Whenever I've tried to apply systems to these types of things I've ended up having to adjust everything when people actually turned up.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •