Do Men and Women Really Need to Work Out Differently? Should Men Do Different Exercises than Women?

March 31, 2011

by Mike Geary, Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Specialist

This is one of my biggest pet peeves in the fitness industry… So many men and women “think” they need to work out drastically different from one another.

For example, many women think they need to do 20 or 30 reps per set of every exercise with little pink 3 or 5 lb barbie weights, because if they actually lift heavier weights, they falsely believe they will “bulk up”.

Also, many men think they need to do 1-rep maxes to build muscle… this is simply not true… overall training volume and a caloric surplus builds more muscle than does 1-rep maxes… although I’m not saying there isn’t a time and place for 1-rep maxes.

One of my biggest frustrations over the years when I was training lots of females and I would show them the workout I wanted to take them through… they would say something like…

“I don’t want to do those exercises. That looks like a man’s workout!”

And they would go back to their little pink 5 lb dumbbells and endless cardio routines and keep getting NO RESULTS at all for months or years.

However, the females I trained that were open-minded enough to trust me that if they used heavier weights they would not “bulk up” (as long as their caloric intake was in the correct range), always got tremendous results.

As a matter of fact, some of the leanest females I’ve trained over the years were the ones that actually trained with the heaviest weights. I had a few female athletes that could deadlift 175 lbs and they were VERY lean, and NOT overly-muscular. In fact, they had very feminine, but lean bodies.

Another example is that almost every female I ever trained thought they couldn’t use more than 5 or 8 lb dumbbells for an overhead dumbbell press or a dumbbell chest press. However, when they were open-minded enough to actually try to train their body under more resistance (and thereby create a REAL stimulis for change), most women were almost always able to press 20 or 30 lb dumbbells instead of the 5’s or 8’s they were used to using.

So my rant in this article is for us all to please stop with the insanity of thinking that we all need to train so radically different whether we’re a man or a woman, but rather realize that we are all HUMAN BEINGS.

I don’t care if you’re a man or a woman… the laws of exercise physiology will always show that variations of squats, lunges, deadlifts, presses, and rows are some of the best exercises for humans, regardless of gender.

And this applies whether your goal is fat loss or muscle building!

Yes, even if your goal is just fat loss and not muscle building, you still need to train your body under progressively heavier resistance (relative to your current strength) to stimulate your body to actually want to change over time.

*Note – when I say “heavy training”, I mean heavy resistance in relation to your individual strength level. For example, a heavy resistance in a particular exercise such as a deadlift or squat may be 300 lbs for one person, and only 70 lbs for another person. All that matters is if the weight that you use is challenging for you.

Now I will concede that I use slightly different styles of training whether the goal is fat loss or muscle building (notice I said different styles, not different exercises), but the bigger factor is actually your caloric balance…

Creating a caloric deficit for fat loss or creating a caloric surplus for muscle gain, while still training intensely for either goal.

So I say let’s all stop training like men or training like women, and let’s all start training like human beings in order to get RESULTS!

>> Click here to download the Training & Nutrition Insider Secrets for a Lean Body free ebook


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