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Male vs. Female Training: Finding the Right Path to the Goal

Posted on Fri, 27 May 2011 04:02:00 -07:00

Male vs. Female Training: Finding the Right Path to the Goal

Male vs. Female Training:  Finding the Right Path to the Goal

The big assumption is that clients set goals that are realistic, healthy and will actually make them happy. But that may not be true. In fact, their goals may be unrealistic, dangerous and destined to make them miserable. But even if they are good, healthy goals, the way that many would pursue their goals can fall somewhere between sub-optimal and counter-productive.

“Focusing on ‘achieving your goals’ sounds good, but from a training perspective it can be inherently problematic,” says TRX Head of Human Performance, Chris Frankel. We met with Frankel in his office recently to discuss some of the most common foibles that men and women commit in the pursuit of their most typical goals.

Men: “I want to get big and strong”

Guys often want to get leaner while building bigger pecs and biceps so they hit the weights to melt fat and bench and curl over and over. In reality, Frankel explains, men need to spend more time on range of motion and overall joint mobility in order to optimize their foundational strength and durability. The durability factor is key, because they can’t get bigger and leaner if they’re missing workouts due to soreness and injury. Plus, guys will be able to sustain their workouts over a longer period of time.  Furthermore, says Frankel, stretching the muscles activates the blood flow which will allow them to use the muscles more effectively. So, to the guys, a bit of mobility and stretching work can play an important role in getting them stronger and bigger.

Women: “I want to get skinny and toned”

Women, on the other hand, can be wary of weight training because they don’t want to bulk up. They want to get thinner and more toned so they go to yoga, walk, run or do other long, slow exercises to reach their goals. In reality, Frankel points out, integrating strength training is a quicker and more effective path to that goal. As women train for strength to do pull-ups or multiple push-ups, they build muscles that in turn means greater calorie burn. Plus, it helps add that muscle definition that they’re after. What they may not realize is that there is little risk of bulking up due to the nature of the female hormone profile. So strong is the new skinny for women.

The bottom line, explains Frankel is that identifying the goal is only part of the equation. Once you have that, you must thoughtfully consider the path to that goal and the fact that many elements of human performance can work together for more effective results.

What’s Frankel’s goal? Since he’s been able to maintain his durability into his 50’s, he wants to compete in the Masters Track and Field at the national level in the 400M dash.

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