ArticlePDF Available

Sex difference in muscular strength in equally-trained men and women

Authors:

Abstract

Sumario: The purposes of the present study were: (1) to determine the magnitude of the sex difference in upper and lower-body strenght in groups of men and women with similar physical activity backgrounds and (2) to determine the extent to which the sex difference in strenght is explained by differences in FFW and FFCSA. By deduction, the portion of the sex difference in strength not acounted for by FFW and FFCSA could be attributed to neuromuscular and/or other factors
... As expected, women had lower absolute strength compared with men, particularly on bench press. It is well known that women's upperbody maximal strength is 50-60% that of men (8,21) and as low as 32% (1) based on 1RM bench press. In this study, women tended to train bench press slightly less per week (2.3 6 0.8) compared with men (2.7 6 1.0). ...
... However, the final heavy sessions for back squat and deadlift were trained further out from competition (7-10 days) compared with bench press (,7 days). These data coincide with reports for the final heavy session performed for back squat, bench press, and deadlift from interviews with New Zealand powerlifters (8,7, and 11 days, respectively) and Croatian powerlifters (7, 6, and 8 days, respectively) (11,33). In addition, the final deadlift session with any load was performed further out from competition (;6 days) compared with the final back squat and bench press sessions (;4 days). ...
Article
Full-text available
Travis, SK, Pritchard, HJ, Mujika, I, Gentles, JA, Stone, MH, and Bazyler, CD. Characterizing the tapering practices of United States and Canadian raw powerlifters. J Strength Cond Res 35(12S): S26-S35, 2021-The purpose of this study was to characterize the tapering practices used by North American powerlifters. A total of 364 powerlifters completed a 41-item survey encompassing demographics, general training, general tapering, and specific tapering practices. Nonparametric statistics were used to assess sex (male and female), competition level (regional/provincial, national, and international), and competition lift (squat, bench press, and deadlift). The highest training volume most frequently took place 5-8 weeks before competition, whereas the highest training intensity was completed 2 weeks before competition. A step taper was primarily used over 7-10 days while decreasing the training volume by 41-50% with varied intensity. The final heavy (>85% 1 repetition maximum [1RM]) back squat and deadlift sessions were completed 7-10 days before competition, whereas the final heavy bench press session was completed <7 days before competition. Final heavy lifts were completed at 90.0-92.5% 1RM but reduced to 75-80% 1RM for back squat and bench press and 70-75% for deadlift during the final training session of each lift. Set and repetition schemes during the taper varied between lifts with most frequent reports of 3 × 2, 3 × 3, and 3 × 1 for back squat, bench press, and deadlift, respectively. Training cessation durations before competition varied between deadlift (5.8 ± 2.5 days), back squat (4.1 ± 1.9 days), and bench press (3.9 ± 1.8 days). Complete training cessation was implemented 2.8 ± 1.1 days before competition and varied between sex and competition level. These findings provide novel insights into the tapering practices of North American powerlifters and can be used to inform powerlifting coaches and athlete's tapering decisions.
... Greater understanding of how factors such as height and body mass could influence the essential policing task of a body drag is important, given the diversity in body size present in law enforcement personnel (30). This research could take on more importance for law enforcement agencies looking to recruit more women (13, 55, 59), who will typically be shorter and weigh less than men (4,16,23). ...
... Most of the females in this sample were placed in the bottom two groups (i.e., the lower 50%) of the sample for both height (95/101 females, or 94% of the sample) and body mass (97/101 females, or 96% of the sample). Females do tend to be smaller than males in both height and body mass (4,16,23), and the results from this study indicate the challenges they may encounter during tasks that require the movement of an absolute load such as during a body drag. This is an important consideration given that many police departments would like to increase the number of women officers hired (13, 55,59). ...
Article
Full-text available
California law enforcement recruits must perform a body drag before they graduate academy. While this task may be challenging for smaller recruits, no research has analyzed height and body mass relationships with the body drag. Data from 643 recruits (542 males, 101 females) who completed the drag in the final weeks of academy were analyzed. The recruits lifted a 74.84-kg, 1.73-m tall dummy and dragged it 9.75 m as quickly as possible. Independent samples t-tests compared the sexes; partial correlations controlling for sex detailed relationships between height and body mass with drag time. Recruits were split into quartile groups (based on sample size) for height and body mass (Group 1: shortest, lightest; Group 4: tallest, heaviest). A one-way MANOVA, with sex as a covariate, and Bonferroni post hoc, compared the groups. Male recruits were taller, heavier, and completed the drag faster than females (p < 0.001). There were small relationships between height (r = -0.255) and body mass (r = -0.211) with drag time. When split into height groups, the shortest recruits (Group 1) completed the drag 23-37% slower than all groups (p ≤ 0.031). When split into body mass groups, the lightest recruits (Group 1) were 23-35% slower than all groups (p ≤ 0.007). Most females (94-96%) were placed in Groups 1 or 2. Height and body mass could influence drag performance. Taller recruits may be able to lift the dummy off the ground, reducing friction, while heavier recruits may produce more force. Female and smaller male recruits should complete strength and power training to mitigate body size limitations.
... Might be difference in gender in muscle strength is accounted for difference in muscle size. [18] Abdominal muscle endurance did not show significant differences (P = 0.6516) between sexes. Men performed twice as many push-ups as women indicates that, when designing training program for women, attention should be turned toward strengthening exercises of the upper body. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background: In a nationwide survey conducted in the Indian Council of Medical Research- INdia DIABetes study (Phase-1) 2014 on physical activity and inactivity patterns, overall, 392 million individuals in India are physically inactive. Physically active medical students tend to recommend physical activity for patients or at-risk individuals in their future practice. Exercise is a subset of physical activity that is planned, structured, and repetitive which helps in achieving physical fitness. Aim and Objectives: The aim of the study was to assess the prevalence of physical activity (PA) and physical fitness among medical students and to correlate both. Materials and Methods: This is a cross-sectional study, in which physical activity level was assessed using Global Physical Activity Questionnaire. Physical fitness using Harvard step test, hand grip dynamometer, sit-up and push-up test, shoulder – flexibility test, body mass index, and body adiposity index was assessed among 150 medical students in a tertiary care hospital. Results: Physical activity level when analyzed, 16% of students performed low PA, 74% belonged to moderate PA Group, and 10% in high PA group. When mean metabolic equivalent of task min/week attained by study population in three domains of physical activity (work/travel/recreation) was analyzed, results showed no significant difference between males and females in different domains of physical activity. Conclusion: Although the students met the recommended physical activity as per the World Health Organization, physical fitness was not achieved up to the desired level. No correlation was noted between physical activity and physical fitness among medical students.
... Physical strength is sexually dimorphic due to the influences of androgenic hormones and fat-free body mass, suggesting that this trait has been elaborated through sexual selection (Gallup & Fink, 2018). Men are typically taller than women (Gray & Wolfe, 1980) and have more muscle mass (Bishop, Cureton, & Collins, 1987), especially in the upper body (Lassek & Gaulin, 2009). They tend to be physically stronger than women (Butovskaya et al., 2018, for the Maasai;Guenther, Buerger, Rickert, Crispin, & Schulz, 2008, for Germany), also after controlling for the influences of body height and weight (Miller, Mac-Dougall, Tarnopolsky, & Sale, 1993;Musselman & Brouwer, 2005). ...
Article
Full-text available
Male physical formidability may reflect capacities to provision and protect, resource holding potential, and social status. Handgrip strength (HGS) is a robust measure of overall muscular strength and function that correlates positively with ratings of male facial attractiveness and dominance. Here, we examine strength, attractiveness, and aggressiveness assessments as a function of facial cues to HGS in a sample of male Maasai of Northern Tanzania. Adult Maasai (56 women, 40 men) rated three strength-calibrated facial morphs of Maasai men. These morphs were constructed by performing a geometric morphometric shape regression on HGS using digital images of 54 men (20–29 years). Participants judged facial morphs calibrated to greater HGS higher on strength and attractiveness, but lower on aggressiveness. The accurate assessment of male Maasai physical strength from facial cues and the corresponding attractiveness assessments of strength cues are consistent with evolutionary predictions and previous research. The situation is less clear for the association of facial strength cues with the assessment of aggression. Future research should consider the possibility of a (feature-based) perceptual overgeneralization, especially in the interpretation of facial aggressiveness judgments, in addition to population-specific influences, and distinguish them from facial cues that indicate behavioral dispositions. Collectively, the findings of the present study corroborate the suggestion that the Maasai are sensitive to facial cues of strength and use these cues in social assessments.
Article
The aim of this study was to explore the match and technical indicators between winning and losing women's teams in the Olympics and World Championships (2016–2021) depending on the final score of the matches and to compare the winners’ technical indicators in 3-set matches to those of men in the respective competitions. A total of 281 volleyball matches were analyzed from the Women's Olympics (2016 and 2021) and World Championships (2014 and 2018). Discriminant function analysis determined which skill(s) contributed significantly to winning matches in every type of score. This study showed that the teams that won 3-0 and 3-1 matches had better performance in all scoring skills (serve, attack, block, and opponent errors) compared to their opponents, while the opponents’ errors did not affect the result. In 5-set matches, block points were the main predictor of a team's success. In conclusion, the results of the women's teams at the highest level of volleyball matches, show that different performance indicators determine the match outcome. The attack is not the only skill that increases the probability of winning a match, since block and serve to contribute equally significantly. Furthermore, in 5-set matches, blocking is the technical skill that differentiates the winning from the losing teams. Finally, in 3-set matches, it seems that the performance indicators differ between women and men in attack efficiency, block, and opponent error points.
Article
Full-text available
The ACSM/CESP push-up test exemplifies the limiting nature of the gender binary in fitness. Males perform the standard push-up (from toes) while females perform the modified push-up (from knees), even if capable of multiple standard push-ups. Differences in upper body strength are used to justify the test protocol. Though the load difference between modified and standard positions is substantially less than the gender strength gap. Additionally, current fitness ratings are over 30 years old. The purpose of this study was to develop a new standard push-up rating scale for college-age females. Cis-female college students (n = 72) were recruited to perform maximal repetitions in the modified and standard positions. Health history and physical activity information was gathered prior to the test. Trained research assistants provided standardized warm-up, modelled correct form, and administered the tests. Order of the tests was randomized and there was at least 48 hours between test days. Mean push-ups in the standard position was 9 (8.87) and 17.5 (11.76) in the modified position. Participants who resistance train did significantly more repetitions of each. Linear regression was used to develop an equation to predict standard push-up repetitions from modified repetitions. The equation was applied to the current repetition ranges for each fitness category, and a new standard scale was developed. The new scale ratings are similar to the Revised Push-up but lower than the Fitnessgram® Healthy Zone. The modified or “girl” push-up contributes to gender stereotypes about muscular fitness. Providing females with the option to be graded on the standard push-up is a step to reducing gender bias in fitness. Future research is needed to validate this scale.
Article
This study investigated how sex modifies postural discomfort perception during a sagittally-symmetric, seated static posture holding (SPH) task. Ten male and 10 female participants performed SPH and conducted subjective discomfort ratings in a total of 108 task conditions. A regression analysis found that the impacts of the body joint reactive moments on perceived discomfort were larger for the female group than the male whereas that of the shoulder joint angle was more pronounced for the male than the female. Also, some of the 108 task conditions were found to be more uncomfortable for the male group, while some others, for the female. The observed sex impacts are thought to be due to the sex differences in physical work capacities (muscular strength and joint flexibility). The results suggest that new posture analysis tools allowing sex-specific analyses are needed as they would improve the accuracy and precision of ergonomics posture analyses.Practitioner summary: This study empirically investigated how sex modifies postural discomfort perception during a seated posture holding (SPH) task. Sex was found to modify the impacts of joint reactive moments and the shoulder joint angle. The study results seem to reflect the sex differences in muscular strength and joint flexibility.
Article
Background Civilians are often first-line responders in hemorrhage control; however, windlass tourniquets are not intuitive. Untrained users reading enclosed instructions failed in 38.2% of tourniquet applications. This prospective follow-up study replicated testing following Stop the Bleed (STB) training. Materials and Methods One and six months following STB, first-year medical students were randomly assigned a windlass tourniquet with enclosed instructions. Each was given one minute to read instructions and two minutes to apply the windlass tourniquet on the TraumaFX HEMO trainer. Demographics, time to read instructions and stop bleeding, blood loss, and simulation success were analyzed. Results 100 students received STB training. 31 and 34 students completed tourniquet testing at one month and six months, respectively. At both intervals, 38% of students were unable to control hemorrhage (P = 0.97). When compared to the pilot study without STB training (median 48 sec, IQR 33–60 sec), the time taken to read the instructions was shorter one month following STB (P <0.001), but there was no difference at 6 months (P = 0.1). Incorrect placement was noted for 19.4% and 23.5% of attempts at 1 and 6 months. Male participants were more successful in effective placement at one month (93.3% versus 31.3%, P = 0.004) and at six months (77.8% versus 43.8%, p = 0.04). Conclusions Skills decay for tourniquet application was observed between 1 and 6 months following STB. Instruction review and STB produced the same hemorrhage control rates as reading enclosed instructions without prior training. Training efforts must continue; but an intuitive tourniquet relying less on mechanical advantage is needed.
Article
Sex differences in exercise physiology, such as substrate metabolism and skeletal muscle fatigability, stem from inherent biological factors, including endogenous hormones and genetics. Studies investigating exercise physiology frequently include only males or do not take sex differences into consideration. Although there is still an under‐representation of female participants in exercise research, existing studies have identified sex differences in physiological and molecular responses to exercise training. The observed sex differences in exercise physiology are underpinned by the sex chromosome complement, sex hormones, and on a molecular level, the epigenome and transcriptome. Future research in the field should aim to include both sexes, control for menstrual cycle factors, conduct large‐scale and ethnically diverse studies, conduct meta‐analyses to consolidate findings from various studies, leverage unique cohorts (such as post‐menopausal, transgender, and those with sex chromosome abnormalities), as well as integrate tissue and cell‐specific –omics data. This knowledge is essential for developing deeper insight into sex‐specific physiological responses to exercise training, thus directing future exercise physiology studies and practical application. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
Article
Clinical and medical data findings have traditionally been more representative of male than female subjects, and when combined, have not clearly differentiated between the groups. In this study there were no research questions initially contemplated, as the data were obtained from an educational setting, where participants completed tasks as part of a pedagogical program of preparation. The nature of the post-hoc analysis renders the study as a hypothesis-generating type rather than a hypothesis-testing one. It began as a cross-sectional quantitative analysis of performance on a task to explore the relationship between hand grip and three independent physiological variables. The data collected from all subjects were randomized since the total group of participants contained a disproportionate number of females as compared to males, this being a result of a demographic predominance of female students in a program of teacher preparation. Graphical analysis with the slope taken as a measure of hand grip dependence on three independent variables, and the correlation value used as a measure of association between variables yielded discernible differences. The grip strength dependence on the hand size as well as the wrist thickness show consistently significant differences for females only, with t test of significance (p < .001), and large effect size differences based on Cohen’s d values of 3.08 and 1.92, respectively. The significance of the finding that female grip strength depends the most on wrist thickness has implications for rehabilitative and therapeutic settings.
Article
Full-text available
The relationship between maximum voluntary concentric strength, muscle fibre type distribution and muscle cross-sectional areas were examined in 23 subjects (7 female and 11 male phys. ed. students as well as 5 male bodybuilders). Maximal knee and elbow extension as well as elbow flexion torque at the angular velocities 30, 90 and 180 degrees per second was measured. Muscle biopsies were taken from vastus lateralis and m. triceps brachii. The muscle cross-sectional area of the thigh and upper arm was measured with computed tomography scanning. The maximal torque correlated strongly to the muscle cross-sectional area times an approximative measure on the lever arm (body height). Maximal tension developed per unit of muscle cross-sectional area did not correlate significantly with per cent type I fibre area and did not differ between the female and male students or bodybuilders. Neither did the relative decrease in torque with increasing contraction velocity show any significant relationship to the per cent type I fibre area. The total number of muscle fibres was estimated by dividing the muscle cross-sectional area with the mean fibre area of m. triceps brachii. The number of fibres did not seem to differ between the sexes.
Article
Thirteen measures of static strength, 13 body-size measurements, and the somatotypes of 77 male subjects were obtained and the interrelationships among these measures were investigated. Summary descriptive statistics are given for the 29 variables studied. Simple and selected partial correlations were calculated and the results interpreted at the 0.05 level of significance. The zero-order correlations revealed that body weight, lean body mass and mesomorphy yielded the highest correlations with mean total strength. Stature, skinfold measurements and the length of the lever arms of the body were not related to mean total strength; however, the relationship between the strength and length of specific torso and arm linkages while weak is definitely indicated. The first-order partial correlations (weight held constant) between body size measures, lean-body mass and strength measures were about the same as the identical zero-order correlations; however, with weight held constant the skinfold measurements yielded many significant correlations with muscle strength. By holding the effects of stature constant the somatotype. components produced several significant correlations with the static-strength measures. The second-order partial correlations (weight and stature held constant) revealed that the subscapular and suprailiac skinfolds are more of a factor in the exertion of static strength than the triceps skinfold. It would appear that the measures of body size, typology and composition used in this analysis were not effective predictors of muscle strength as measured by the static-contraction method. (C)1969The American College of Sports Medicine
Article
This description of some of the present knowledge on skeletal muscle fibers, their metabolic potentials, and their interplay with the degree of physical activity has revealed that skeletal muscle of man has a very large capacity for adaptation. Moreover, this adaptability appears to be of utmost importance for the metabolic response as well as for performance. Although all this is true, it should not distract us from the fact that we are lacking the most important information. The questions that need to be answered are: What triggers the changes to take place? Which are the regulatory mechanisms?
Article
The present study was designed to investigate the isokinetic peak torque at the highest speed of muscle shortening (210 degrees/second) related to age, sex, and physical performance. The subjects were 569 normal boys and girls, 13 to 17 years of age, and 35 swimmers, 11 to 21 years of age. Peak torque of knee extensor muscles increased linearly with age for boys from 13 to 17 years, while it remained relatively constant for girls 14 to 17 years of age. The relationship (boys r = .688, p < .001; girls r = .373, p < .01) between peak torque of knee extensors and mean speed in meters per second of 50 meters maximal run was significant. Significant correlations (boys r = .728, p < .001; girls r = .515, p < .05) were also obtained between peak torque of arm pull muscles and the best record in time of 100 meters free style swimming.
Article
In conclusion, there still appear to be basic physiological differences between the male and female, although this review would suggest that these differences aren't as great as one might expect from data collected from 'normal' populations. With further training, better coaching, better equipment and facilities, and a greater emphasis on women in sport, the gap between the sexes should close. evidence suggests that those differences reported for normal individuals in previous studies are largely the result of the female becoming sedentary with the approach of menarche. Whether this gap can be completely closed will have to await further study of a longitudinal nature.
Article
Upper arm strength, right and left grip strength, and several anthropometric measures were recorded during a comprehensive medical examination in an epidemiological study in Tecumseh, Michigan. In the present analysis the relationship between muscular strength and body size was determined to facilitate comparisons of strength among individuals irrespective of differences in size, and more generally to derive sex, age and size specific standards for evaluating results of strength tests. Preliminary regressions of arm strength and summed grip strength on age and twelve size variables were performed. Most of the explained variation in strength variables was accounted for by five size variables, height, weight, biacromial diameter, arm girth, and triceps skinfold thickness. A canonical analysis was performed on the three strength variables and the five selected size variables, age and sex specific. After comparison of the relative weighting of strength variables in the subgroups, the unweighted sum of strength measures was adopted as a strength index. The regressions of the index on the five size variables provide age, sex and size specific means for use as a standard. Comparison of the multiple correlation coefficients from the regressions with the corresponding canonical correlation coefficients indicates the nearly optimal character of the index.
Article
The results from nine separate studies reporting comparable static and dynamic muscle strength measurements between men and women have been reviewed. The statistical data from these studies are presented in graphical and tabular form illustrating, when appropriate, the mean ± 1 S.D., and the mean percentage difference between men and women for the given measurement. The following differences in strength measurements were observed: upper extremity strength measurements in women were found to range from 35 to 79% of men's, averaging 55.8%; lower extremity strength measurements in women ranged from 57 to 86% of men's, averaging 71.9%; trunk strength for women ranged from 37 to 70% of men's averaging 63.8%; and dynamic strength indicators revealed that women were from 59 to 84% as strong as men, with an average of 68.6%. In view of the wide range of mean percentage differences in muscle strength measurements between men and women, the author stresses the importance of exercising extreme care in making extrapolations from such data and recommends a method for making such extrapolations when the absence of direct measurements makes this necessary.
Article
An ergonomic study was designed and conducted to determine maximum weights and work loads acceptable to female workers. The study was identical to an earlier study conducted with male industrial workers. Sixteen housewives and 15 female workers from local industry performed 3 lifting, 3 lowering, 4 pushing, 1 pulling, 1 walking, and 6 carrying tasks in a controlled environment of 70F and 45% relative humidity. Each task was performed for 40 min at each of 3 different rates of work. A psychophysical methodology was used whereby subjects controlled their own work load by adjusting the weight of the object. Forty two measurements of body size were obtained from each subject prior to the test, and measurements of heart rate were continuously recorded during the test. The results are used to predict the maximum weights and work loads that are acceptable to various percentages of the female population. Comparison of the results with earlier studies shows that the average weight handled by industrial men was significantly greater than the average weight handled by industrial women, which in turn was significantly greater than the average weight handled by housewives. However, there was considerable overlap among the 3 groups. Women exhibited less variation in adjusting object weight; consequently, the differences between the sexes are less for weights and work loads acceptable to 90% of the population, that for weights and work loads acceptable to 50% of the population. The sex differences in object weight were greater for the lifting lowering, and carrying tasks, than they were for the pushing, pulling and walking tasks. Sex differences in object weight were also greater at low rates of work than at high rates of work. Although women handled significantly less weight than men, they experienced similar or significantly higher heart rates.
Article
Summary By means of the ultrasonic photography of the cross-section of the acting muscle bundle, together with the measurement of the muscle strength developed by the subject with maximum effort, the strength per unit area of the muscle was calculated in 245 healthy human subjects, including 119 male and 126 female.The result was summarized as the following:1. The ultrasonic method used in this work was possibly admitted as the best way to calculate the cross-sectional area of the muscle. 2. The arm strength was fairly proportional to the cross-sectional area of the flexor of the upper arm regardless of age and sex. 3. The strength per unit cross-sectional area of flexor of the upper arm was 6.3 kg/cm2 in the average, standard deviation of 0.81 kg/cm2. When cross-sectional area of muscle was measured at extensive position of the forearm the strength per unit area was calculated to be 4.7 kg/cm2 at flexed position of the forearm. 4. As to the individual variation, the strength per unit area was distributed in a range from 4 kg/cm2 to 8 kg/cm2. 5. The strength per unit cross-sectional area was almost the same in male and female regardless of age. In addition to that, there was not found any significant difference in ordinary and trained adult.