Should men & women train differently?

Men and women's fitness training, Buckinghamshire

In short no, but let me explain why and the differences between men and women's training and nutrition.

For years women have avoided weight training for fear of becoming bulky.  As mentioned in my previous blog, this can not happen for many reasons but one of the main reasons is the testosterone in men and women varies greatly.  Women do not have as much and, therefore, can not build muscle like men (without supplementation).

So guys want to look bigger and get ripped, and girls want a bikini body to die for! The fact is you cannot get either of these without lifting weights! As women don’t produce as much testosterone as men, they pretty much need to train harder to get muscle gains.

Generically men have a much stronger upper body than women, but women will tend to gain more leg and hip muscle quicker than men. So, yes, women should absolutely train the same as men.  What needs adjusting to suit your goals is the amount of reps and sets.

Historically women pick up a 2kg weight and lift it 100 times and wonder why they are not changing shape.  The weight that is lifted needs to be heavy enough to stimulate muscle growth. Then the weight needs to continuously go up and rep ranges changed to accommodate for plateau.

In addition, more weight exercise variations need to be included into the programme. An example of this would be to programme for a deadlift for the first 6-8 weeks, and then change the deadlift to a sumo deadlift. This will target different muscles in the legs and butt, keep the body guessing and improve results in a shorter space of time.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with attending classes like Zumba and body conditioning but what normally happens is they go to the same class year in, year out and do not get sustained results. Its my belief that classes like this should and could be used for recovery work.  Getting 2-3 strength sessions into your training schedule will get you changing shape and burning a lot more calories without even thinking about it!