Physiological comparison of females and male athletes. The increase of females participating in all levels of sport continues to grow. The need for endurance coaches and medical providers to understand what constitutes optimal training for the female athlete. Do we train train female athletes in the same manner as male athletes? what is the best approach? The answer to this question is still unknown, but as a fact that there are physiologic/anatomic differences between the male and female.

Physiological comparison of females and male athletes – The Aerobic Capacity in Female athletes is around 10% lower than the male counterpart. Lower aerobic capacity in women mean smaller lung volume, less blood volume, smaller hearts, less red blood cells and lower hemoglobin. Although for marathon and triathlons the performance is narrowing down, but may never equalize due to differences in body composition and their aerobic capacity.

Females have a much lower Maximal anaerobic threshold than the male counterpart, due to differences in muscle mass and/or training differences.

Physiological comparison of females and male athletes

 

Physiological comparison of females and male athletes – On average the men are taller and have wider shoulders and narrower pelvises. A wider pelvis in women contributes to an increased carrying angle at the elbows while women have shorter limbs with a lower center of gravity, which offers improved balance over the male.

Physiological comparison of females and males athletes
Physical characteristic
Aerobic capacity (VO2max) M > F
Blood volume M > F
Body fat percent F > M
Bone mineral density M > F
Flexibility F > M
Muscle strength M > F
Thermoregulation F = M

Body Fat

Physiological comparison of females and male athletes – Women have a greater body fat percentage, which is due to a higher proportion of essential fat. This consists of specific fat found in the breasts, buttocks and thighs. Although storage fat is similar in both men and women.

Muscular strength

Physiological comparison of females and male athletes – Total muscle mass in a women is around 25% of the body, compared to 40% in males. While women have smaller muscle fibers and have a similar proportion of slow and fast twitch muscle fibers, for which they make similar gains in relative muscle strength in weight training. While Testosterone effects cause greater muscle hypertrophy in men.