Should men and women exercise differently? This question came across my mind when my female friend wants to know what kind of strength exercises would be suitable for women to perform. My answer to her in short was……the same as for men.
I shall elaborate further. I believe that the same exercise should be performed similiarly regardless of gender. I use push-up which is a bodyweight strength exercise as an example. There is no female or man’s version of a push-up. A standard push-up (knees off the floor) should be done in the same way between a guy and girl if they have the same ability etc. However, the type of push-up and its required form should be performed according to the individual’s ability, objective and/or body conditions; and not based merely on gender differences. Generally most women do the knee-assisted push-ups while most men perform the standard push-ups (knees off the floor). However, there are guys who can only do knee-assisted push-ups while some girls can perform standard push-ups or even tougher kinds just as well (think of Demi Moore in the movie “GI Jane”) through regular and serious training.
Conclusion: The same exercise should be done the same way unless you have some inhibiting conditions that don’t allow that such as a bad shoulder or elbow in the case of my push-up example. Everyone should try to use good form and choose appropriate exercises to suit their individual objective and ability.
One of the best and most common way to test for muscular power is the vertical jump test. The NFL uses the vertical jump test to test potential NFL drafts on their muscular power.
You can measure and record the best of 3 attempts on your stationary and maximum vertical jump.
To gauge on how good these results are, you can use the vertical jump calculator on http://www.exrx.net/Calculators/VerticalJump.html
Or alternatively, you may refer to this website for information
The following table is extracted from the above mentioned website for adult athletes (20+)
Resistance Training for Children and Youth:
A Position Stand from the Australian Strength and Conditioning Association (ASCA) 2007
The paper discusses about the use of resistance training by children (6-12 years old) and youth (13-18 years old) and gives its position stands.
Recommendation of training loading intensities and exercise selection strategies
Level 1: 6-9 years of age
- Modified bodyweight exercises and light resistance (brooms and bands etc.)
- Perform in the range of >15 reps
Level 2: 9-12 years of age
- Simple joint exercises with dumbbells and appropriate machine exercises for children
- Perform in the range of 10-15 reps
Level 3: 12-15 years of age
- Include more free weight exercises. Complex lifts such as cleans, snatches, deadlifts and squats should be done only if properly taught by a competent strength coach
- Perform in the range of 8-15 reps
Level 4: 15-18 years of age
- Moving towards an advanced adult programme involving split routines with appropriate and complex multi-joint movements, provided sound technique has been developed by a competent strength coach
- Perform in the range of 6-16 reps
This paper provides sound arguments and useful information & advice on this hotly debated topic. I strongly encourage readers to download and read through it.
One advice that the paper mentions is the use of Repetition Method (RM) instead of 1 RM testing to determine appropriate training loads or to monitor training progresses. Personally, I use the RM method in my trainings as well. 1 RM method may be confusing and not as effective for young beginners as they may be unable to find their true 1 RM in the test. Causes may be lack of experience and unable to push to their limits (stopping before they reach temporary muscular fatigue) etc.
If you are performing a straight set, for example, 3 sets of 10 reps, find a load that you can perform for only 10 reps and perform 3 sets of the same load. Progressively increase the load in subsequent sessions
For pyramid set training, for example, 3 sets of 15, 10 and 8 reps, adjust the load accordingly for the given number of reps. Lower reps = higher loads
All these can be done through trial and error till you become proficient and experienced enough to accurately estimate the load required for a particular rep range.
Website of the Australia Strength and Conditioning Association (ASCA)
Website of Australian Sports Conditioning
All information presented on this site is meant for general purposes. It is not meant to replace health and medical advice from healthcare professionals.