MUSCULAR STRENGTH IN WOMEN COMPARED TO MEN
By Terry Williams, August 6, 2011
~ as featured in Livestrong.com
It is widely known that, on average, men are stronger than women. A big part of the difference is based on the amount of muscle each gender has in their bodies. That is, men are stronger simply because they are typically larger; most of the reason for greater strength is larger muscles. Pound for pound, there is a much smaller difference in strength between genders than most would assume.
The Size-to-Strength Relationship
According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association, women generally produce about two-thirds the amount of total strength and applied force that men produce. Women are also physically built so that they generally carry two-thirds as much muscle mass as men. This proves that there is, in fact, a difference in strength, that men are typically stronger, and that most of the difference is based on body size and muscle cross-sectional area alone.
Functional Differences Between Men and Women
As sure as power lifting and other muscle building sports and exercise programs are more challenging for women, many flexibility-related movements are more challenging for men. Because muscles are essential in the flexibility equation, it must be credited to women that they have the muscular strength advantage in certain areas. While men are taller and broader, built to carry and lift, women are more inclined to use muscular strength for tasks related to flexibility, coordination and balance. It has been proven that although men typically have better performances in sports such as sprinting, distance running and swimming, given the proportional difference in height and muscle area, women are actually stronger in these events. In the absence of external-weighted load, women can be considered to be the supreme sex in sports reliant on rhythmic use of muscular coordination.
National Strength and Conditioning Association; “Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, 3rd edition”; Baechle, et al; 2008
“Strength Training Anatomy, 2nd edition”; Delavier; 2006