Woke up to a question. “Why do you and Gina do the same exercises?”
Haven’t really thought about this since there’s tons of information supporting the fact that she can train the same way as I with the same results. She obviously does movements I don't do because of her reason for lifting (I don't want to look good in a bikini but she does). For the most part however, we do the same movements and we're basically on the same program.
After further research and an awesome article just written in 2018 I learned science is actually on team Gina.. Women seem to be smarter AND stronger than men. It made sense to me that women might progress just as fast but men would always have the advantage because of testosterone, their size and the fact that they start with more overall muscle.
Women! If you’ve ever worried about getting “too big”, too manly or just think it’s for the dudes, you’re sitting on some beautiful potential in the weight room. There seems to be two popular ideas to this question. One thinks women should avoid lifting all together because it’ll make them too muscular or “manly” the second camp and the camp I was a part of seams to suggest women should lift weights however men will always see slightly better results because of hormones and basic physiology.
Gina has been lifting with me for a year and a half. She’s gained practically no bodyweight with an 80% strength increase in the squat, bench and deadlift. Also obviously tons of gorgeous, feminine muscle mass. She also consistently recovers a lot faster than I and can usually finish the same relative volume in each session a lot faster than I. I’ve blamed this on her “beginner gains” but after lifting consistently for over a year, she’s probably starting to rely on her physiology now.
There’s been over over 70 studies in the last 44 years trying to answer this question. In 2018, Greg Knuckols did the first Meta-Analysis on the subject. A meta-analysis is one of the highest forms of scientific evidence and takes into consideration a pool of relative studies to create comparison and more context. Usually only takes about a dozen studies to form a meta-analysis so this one is long over due.
Results were depressing for men.. Knuckols found 72 relevant studies to compare 3,811 test subjects. This isn’t just an animal study, anecdotal study on one self or a group of student experiments. It’s a look at all the research that currently exists.
I learned that relative strength gains are larger in women in the short term especially in the upper half of the body and women under 30
Long term muscle mass and strength gains are equal for men and women but relative to their starting point. Women will gain more over time but men start with a lot more muscle. First time we pick up a barbell we’re already miles ahead of women (at least after puberty)
I also learned that women aren’t just smaller versions of men without a penis (in-fact we’re more like big little girls). There’s key differences between men and women that impact training and recovery
James Kreiger had an analysis done on testosterone and learned we give it a little too much credit. Testosterone dramatically increases the starting point but there’s actually no impact on relative rates of muscle growth after initiation. Also, estrogen has more benefits in the weight room than ever thought before. Besides the fact estrogen holds on to fat easier (healthier fat in women’s case), it actually may exert a protective effect on muscle limiting damage and possibly aiding repair.
Women also have more type 1 muscle fibers which are far more fatigue resistant than the type 2 muscle fibers in men. We have more potential for power and explosiveness where women have more endurance. Thinking with some logic, more endurance will always win the volume race when compared to power. Volume is king and women have more capacity. Simple as that
Lastly women have to deal with the menstrual cycle.. I thought this would throw a point toward team John but during the beginning stage or the Follicular stage, women see better results in the gym. Progress starts to diminish toward the end of the luteal phase where the article says it’s a good time to de-load (we de-load once a month)
So what do we do with this knowledge? I’d always suggest using any training knowledge to form new habits that’ll automize the plan. Here’s some 4 tactical rules though 👇🏽
1. Don’t tell a lady she has to focus on ladies and only the way ladies train. Get information on basic human development rather than stressing about sexes
2. Know where women are obviously better and use it in your training program. Higher reps, less power (or more if training for inefficiencies), faster recovery etc.
3. Make sure it’s tackling her own goals because most of the time, women want to grow different areas than men. Don’t put her on your program just because you want to lift together, she’ll probably want to do movements that’ll grow your ass faster than your squat 😬 Nightmare
4. Stop assessing yourself every day. If you train enough to look “manly” you have probably been training so long it was intentional (this is completely excluding synthetic hormones or any performance enhancing drugs). In the rare case you hate the development, it’s as simple as pulling volume away from the “manly muscles” and aiming it toward your goal physique. You won’t wake up with an Adams Apple and massive traps, takes time. Actually for naturals it’s like watching grass grow so learn to love the process.
In summary; women see better results than men in the gym. Visually it makes no sense and it’s extremely relative to percentage of one rep max, starting point and goal of the athlete. Know that estrogen isn’t holding you back (in-fact men have estrogen receptors that are beneficial in weight training and recovery). Rates of progress between sexes are going to be pretty similar. If not, favoring females
So let’s try this out. I challenge women watching this video to pick up a barbell. If you see any negative outcomes, please share them. I’d especially love it if you shared the benefits as I’m confident it’ll help the next generation of women.
Everyone should strength train. Especially women. It’s extremely empowering proved through my experience with Gina, it builds a ton of self esteem and reduces the risk of osteoporosis later in life. Nothing else trains systems we use every day like lifting weights. I push, pull, squat and deadlift outside the gym every day! Can’t say the same for tennis, cycling, basketball, sumba or any other form of exercise.
Lifting allows us to tactically train for our lifelong needs or anticipated needs rather than training for a competition, sport specific skill or social acceptance. It also allows an incredible “out” without drugs or alcohol. Multiple “feel good” hormones are released such as endorphins, dopamine and serotonin; common ingredients in the most addicting drugs.
Iron does not discriminate. It feeds the young, old, all sexes and every color of our species.
“No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical fitness” - Socrates
(Funny cuz apparently Socrates was a really chubby philosopher 😂)