Gender Differences

Under a microscope, there is no physiological difference between women's muscle and men's. By the same token, men and women's muscle respond similarly to training. When placed on the same training program, women respond as well if not better than men do (84-86). Women can gain muscle in the same fashion as male trainees do, just not to the same levels typically seen in males (12,19).

The largest difference between male and female trainees is in the ultimate level of muscular development which can occur. The majority of this difference in trainability is due to differences in testosterone levels. Women have lower levels of testosterone at rest (65,86) and do not show the same increase from training as men (1,69).

There is preliminary data that women should be trained differently during the different phases of the menstrual cycle. However, this requires more research (87). For the time being, there is no evidence that men and women should follow different training programs (84).

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