The Differences in Muscular Strength Between Men And Women
You probably think that men are stronger than women. In fact, it depends on how you measure muscular strength. If you measure absolute strength, that is the total amount that an average man compared with an average woman can lift, then it is true. In measuring upper body strength in absolutes, a woman is about 55% as strong as a man. In lower body absolute strength, a woman is 75% as strong as a man. This difference is usually attributed to the similar daily usage of legs between men and women. Both walk and use our lower body muscles about the same. This is not the case in daily activities using upper body strength.
However, women and men are equally strong when relative strength is measured. Relative strength is the difference in muscular strength when taking into account the amount of muscle mass and the amount of fat mass. This measurement is expressed as “per fat free mass”. Then, for men and women, the lower body strength, as a percentage of the amount of fat and muscle, is nearly identical. Men and women have the same relative muscular strength.
Similarly, the ratio of strength between the upper body and the lower body of one individual is identical for both men and women, upper body strength is about 70% of that of the lower body. Again, our legs and buttock muscles are stronger than our arms and chest muscles at the same ratio regardless of gender.
The reason that absolute strength is greater in men is because following puberty, testosterone, the male reproductive hormone, increases. Prior to puberty, boys and girls have the same muscular strength and endurance. After puberty, women increase the production of estrogen and progesterone, the female productive hormones. Since the female hormones are not as anabolic (hormones that enhance muscle growth), muscle mass in the female is not greatly increased.
Research shows that both men and women achieve the same gains in muscular strength and endurance with strength training. Further, individuals lose muscle strength if they become sedentary, particularly after their peak muscle power periods that extend into their early twenties.
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