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Sports Med. 1990 Apr;9(4):216-28.

Strength training for female athletes. A review of selected aspects.

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Department of Kinesiology, UCLA Extension.


Women and men respond to strength training in very similar ways from their individual pretraining baselines. Women on the average have smaller bodies than men, have less absolute muscle mass and smaller individual muscle fibers, and display approximately two-thirds of the absolute overall strength and power of men. In addition, children are enculturated to view strength as masculine, an outlook which has depressed the pursuit and performance of strength activities by women. However, unit for unit, female muscle tissue is similar in force output to male muscle tissue, and there is some evidence to support similar, proportional increases for the sexes in strength performance and hypertrophy of muscle fibre relative to pretraining status. Strength training can also provide beneficial alterations in bone, body fat and self-concept in women. There is no evidence that women should train differently than men, and training programmes should be tailored for each individual.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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