When we think of fitness, particularly strength training, most of us tend to think of men as having a natural capability to build more strength and power than women. After all, men have notably higher levels of testosterone, an anabolic hormone, so they can also gain more muscle mass.
Moreover, men are naturally stronger than women. This is particularly true in the upper body, where the average woman has about 52 percent of the strength of the average man. Similarly, women have about 66 percent of a man’s lower body strength. This means that a man will usually be able to lift considerably more weight than a woman who is of comparable height and weight.
That said, there are some areas where women actually have the advantage over men in the fitness world. Recent research has revealed that female muscular performance can be superior than that of a man of similar size. This is particularly true in the area of muscle endurance.
There is no argument that men have the advantage when it comes to the amount they can lift. In terms of weight, they can typically lift more. However, research has shown that women have greater muscle stamina and aren’t as likely to suffer from muscle fatigue as quickly as men.
For instance, a University of British Columbia study asked a group of men and women to flex their foot against a sensor group as rapidly as they could until they had done it 200 times. Throughout the test, the researchers kept a record of the power and speed of the foot presses while they monitored the muscular electrical activity.
What they determined was that while men started off performing with considerably greater power, the women were the ones who were less likely to become fatigued. They experienced less muscle fatigue by the end of the exercise when compared to their male counterparts. This was not the only study to record this type of occurrence. Other studies comparing male and female muscular performance have found that women are significantly more resistant to muscle fatigue and tend to be better at exercising over longer periods of time when the workout has to do with repeatedly flexing lower body muscles, such as in ultra marathon runs.
What this means is that in situations when muscular endurance is required, women appear to have a greater fitness advantage, even though they have a reduced level of brute strength.