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Posts tagged ‘women’

Women ~ A Special Group? A Training Enigma?

It’s common to separate our general healthy population into what is called special populations.  The special populations are children, older adults and women.  While there are valid age considerations, it’s sometimes a bit ridiculous to call females a special group.  You see, human cells are human cells.  Muscle cells are not sex specific.  So, women are not “special” when considering training groups.  There is a difference in hormones between men and women, specifically Testosterone, and Estrogen, and hormones will be considered.  But, there is also a difference in the amount of hormones even among different men.  Now being sensitive to one of the common fears of some women of waking up one morning to find themselves looking manly big (and hairy!)  This isn’t going to happen, to a woman or a man.  Progression and muscle growth is slow.   At any point you decide you’re happy with your results, adjust your program respectively.

A nutritional consideration for males but, sometimes ignored by females, is adequate protein intake.  Often females, unlike males, will eat plenty of vegetables while skipping the protein rich foods (perhaps due to higher calories).   Protein is necessary for recovery and repair for general health and is even more important to an athlete.

Developing a base strength through bench presses, squats and, dead lifts, is important to women, and men.  But, men are stronger, right?  Well, relative to lean mass, there is less of a difference between men and women.  This means that once only muscle mass (muscle weight) is considered, women are much closer in strength (more so lower body than upper) to men.  Something to consider however is that women are more prone to knee injury.  It is theorized that due to joint flexibility, hip joint (femur angle to knee) women experience more injuries.  This should direct workouts to pay attention on strengthening the quads, hamstrings, adductors and abductors on women.  Essentially, calling for a 360 degree primary exercise focus on ensuring the supporting structures are strong for female athletes and therefore less likely to be injured.  A female working within their bodyweight during all exercises is generally a good idea.  There are exceptions of course and mostly due to thorough training and training experience.  But bodyweight is a good place to start.  This brings up another common criticized action called “partials”.  A partial is performing an exercise in less than the exercise’s full range of motion.  Performing partials are okay.  The goal is to reach full range of motion however.

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