It’s quite commonplace to see workouts targeted specifically at males or females. If you know anything about marketing this isn’t surprising, as it’s a lot easier to target the normal desires and insecurities for each sex individually. What man doesn’t want sleeve hugging biceps and to replace that beer belly with a 6 pack? What woman doesn’t worry about a little cellulite or wouldn’t like a “toned” round butt?
However in the real world of actual results, is there any merit for women training differently to men?
Firstly will be the obvious goal differences. As alluded to in the intro, most female trainee have slightly different goals to your average male. If you have any specific areas you want to improve such as having wider shoulders, bigger arms or a bigger rounder butt, you’ll have to adjust your training accordingly to prioritise these areas.
Even if your goal is “toning”, this is simply the result of more muscle and less fat. Something desired by both men and women.
Beyond these goals women should train in a very similar fashion as men using a solid training plan, focusing on good form and making progressive overload from week to week. However there are still some small modifications that can be made for women.
Female differences and their implications:
1. Women have around 8-10x more estrogen. Which actually increases their ability to recover.
a. Increase volume
2. Women tend not to be able to recruit as many motor units, which can mean more volume is required to get the required stimulus.
a. Increase volume
3. Women tend to have better resistance to fatigue and ability to work at higher rep ranges with a given intensity.
a. Increase rep ranges slightly
b. Reduce rest periods
So if we merge the recommendations together in one list:
1. Increase volume slightly by adding a few reps, sets or an additional workout per week
2. Increase rep ranges (linked to 1.). Ex. instead of 8-10 use 10-12
3. Reduce rest periods slightly. Which will also allow more volume to be performed in the same time period. Ex. instead of 90 secs use 60 secs