You might have visited your local gym and listened to the ambiance of the gym sounds.
You might hear that guy who’s sucking air with everything he’s got after a particularly heavy set, and you might hear other high-intensity sounds that just get you in the mood to pump some weights.
Auditory senses aside, you’ve probably noticed that when you go to the gym, you sometimes see women do set after set, workout after workout, seemingly unaffected by the heavy atmosphere of the gym. It’s as if they never get tired!
You might see them doing 5 sets of front lunges, 5 rear lunges, 5 side lunges, followed by 5 sets of squats, and they keep going on and on without any rest in between. And then you look back at that one guy sprawled on the wall enjoying the ability to rapidly breathe!
This inevitably brings the question…Does one gender prevail over the other in the weight room? And if so, what are the different training methods employed by each gender?
The Difference in Fatigue Resistance Between Genders
Numerous studies have looked into what’s called “fatigue resistance” in both genders. That’s how many reps you can perform at any given intensity, as well as how fast you can recover between sets.
They’ve taken men and women and had them do their one rep max, seeing how many reps they could do, and how quickly they recovered afterwards. The results? Women wiped the floor with men in a lot of these studies.
Turns out, women are more fatigue resistant and can handle higher amounts of volume to their exercise. Remember that volume does not equal load! One reason for that is that women have a greater reliance on their aerobic pathways, as in they are more aerobic and less anaerobic than men.
Another reason is that men tend to have larger muscle bellies than women. No, we don’t just mean that their muscles are bigger. When looking at the arteries and veins sitting between your muscles, you’ll notice that when the man lifts, it will cut off circulation to those veins and arteries, essentially cutting off oxygen and depleting the muscle blood supply faster. So men can’t always get as much volume in their workouts, and they need to rest for longer periods of time to recover.
Secondly, estrogen may have a protective impact on muscle, as in it can help recover muscle damage. This helps women perform more frequently than men and recover much faster.
However, men took the cake when it came to lifting heavy loads. In one study in which both genders trained at 80% of their 1rm in sets of 5, men beat the women on recovery, and were more recovered the next day. In other words, it seems that when men lift heavy they recover faster than women.
So women have a tendency to make up for their inability to lift heavier loads on a consistent basis with higher frequency; for instance, they have no problem with training their glutes and making gains 5-6 days a week, while men excel in heavy training with higher frequency.
Now, this doesn’t mean that women shouldn’t enjoy heavy lifting, they absolutely should! However, we recommend the ratio be lower than what a male would typically lift.
Please keep in mind that while this article does highlight the strengths of both genders, it in no way prohibits any gender from sculpting their body however they want!
We hope this article helped you understand how to optimize the training between both genders!