Should men and women train the same?

By: Flex Fitness Equipment   Published: 10 October 2017 

How can you achieve max results for your hard work? Does gender matter at the gym? If you're serious about results, you can't ignore the science that wants you to succeed.

Most of us have heard women can achieve the same muscle gain rate as men. Lab tests show the rate of muscle gain is the same between women and men if they follow the same general workout (details here, here and here).

Until we saw those results, most us guessed men build muscle faster because of their high testosterone. Now, we're learning there's more going on. Women don't need testosterone to build muscle because they use other hormones to get strong. That's how women can achieve the same growth rate as men, even without men's naturally high testosterone.

The next headline gets even more interesting. Science suggests women should train differently to men, to achieve the same muscle gain rate. But only a little bit differently. Remember, most of what we know about strength training is still excellent advice for both sexes.

Menno Henselmans is a lifter, fitness model, published scientist and physique coach at Bayesian Bodybuilding. He says women (and anyone who trains women) can make simple changes to improve their results. 'Most women are intuitively aware of their strengths in the gym', Henselmans says, 'but they are often told to train like men. As a result, they don’t fulfill their athletic potential'.

The great news about men's and women's training

The great news here is that none of us need to reinvent the wheel. The big rules of training remain the same for men and women. For, that's welcome news for lifters and trainers alike.

(Of course, you totally remember all the commonsense modifications for female biomechanics, don't you?)

This new science shows us women who enjoy resistance training can benefit if they make just  three simple changes. Here are the things you can start doing today.

Women can do more reps per exercise

For each exercise, women can perform more repetitions than men before they reach exhaustion. To make the most of her training, a woman should generally do more reps.

Women can take shorter rests between sets

Are you  already wondering how a busy woman is going to find the time to fit in those extra reps? Here's your answer. Women recover faster, meaning after each set they don't need as much rest time as men. How convenient is that? A general guide is about one minute rest between each set.  After that, she should keep lifting.

Women's nutrition is slightly different

For best performance, the ideal proportion of protein, fat and carbs is different for women. Women's total calorie intake should include a higher percentage of fat, and a lower percentage of carbs and protein, compared to a man. (By the way: for women who love to lift, but their first priority is fat loss, here are your practical tips to successfully combine fat loss results with truly demanding, hunger-inducing workouts.)

Are you ready to see better results?

If you're a women who trains, why wouldn't you take advantage of your natural strengths? All you need to do is tweak your habits a little. And, you've already seen it's simple and easy.

For men who lift, science is reminding you to make the most of your natural advantages. They are high testosterone, strong stable joints, a larger cortex and men's natural aptitude for fast and powerful (explosive) movements (thanks to Menno for the link). Plus, let’s not forget that men lift about 50% more than women, even after adjusting for body size.

To all the PTs and trainers out there, how will you use these tips to help your own clients? Can you evolve your mixed classes so both groups can reach their full potential?

How do YOU train to your natural strengths? Here at Flex Fitness Equipment, we love to know what you think. Use our easy web form to comment below.  And, while you're here, don't forget to browse our online store. We recently slashed our shipping fees by up to 65%!

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