Best Bodyweight Exercises For Shoulders
Gender Differences in Muscular Strength Men are generally stronger than women because they typically have larger bodies and a larger proportion of their total body mass is made up of muscle. But when strength is expressed per unit of cross-sectional area of muscle tissue, men are only 1-2% stronger than women in the upper body and about equal to women in the lower body. Because of the larger proportion of muscle tissue in the upper male body, men can more easily build upper-body strength than women can. Individual muscle fibers are larger in men, but the metabolism of cells within those fibers is the same in both sexes. Two factors that help explain these disparities are testosterone levels and the speed of nervous control of muscle. Testosterone promotes the growth of muscle tissue in both males and females, but testosterone levels are 5-10 times higher in men than in women, allowing men to have larger muscles. Also, because the male nervous system can activate muscles faster, men tend to have more power.
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Women are often concerned that they will develop large muscles from strength training. Because of hormonal differences, however, most women do not develop big muscles unless they train intensely over many years or take anabolic steroids. Women do gain muscle and improve body composition through strength training, but they don’t develop bulky muscles or gain significant amounts of weight. A study of average women who weight trained two-three days per week for eight weeks found that they gained about 1.75 pounds of muscle and lost about 3.5 pounds of fat. Losing muscle over time is a much greater health concern for women than small gains in muscle weight, especially because any gains in muscle weight are typically more than offset by loss of fat weight. Both men and women lose muscle mass and power as they age, but because men start out with more muscle and don’t lose power as quickly, older women tend to have greater impairment of muscle function than older men.
This may partially account for the higher incidence of life-threatening falls in older women.
The bottom line is that both men and women can increase strength through strength training. Women may not be able to lift as much weight as men, but pound for pound of muscle, they have nearly the same capacity to gain strength as men.
Static (isometric) exercise Exercise causing a muscle contraction without a change in the muscle’s length or a joint’s angle.
Dynamic (isotonic) exercise Exercise causing a muscle contraction and a change in the muscle’s length.
Concentric muscle contraction A dynamic contraction in which the muscle gets shorter as it contracts.
Eccentric muscle contraction A dynamic contraction in which the muscle lengthens as it contracts; also called a pliometric contraction.
Constant resistance exercise A type of dynamic exercise that uses a constant load throughout a joint’s full range of motion.
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