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Sigma Nutrition Radio

Nov 7, 2023


About This Episode:

The field of research exploring sex differences in exercise response has yielded intriguing findings, shedding light on the complex interplay between biology, physiology, and training adaptations.

One of the fundamental areas of investigation pertains to sex disparities in strength, power, and hypertrophy. Historically, it’s been well-established that males, on average, exhibit greater absolute strength and muscle mass compared to females. This discrepancy often traces its roots back to inherent physiological distinctions.

However, when it comes to responses to strength and hypertrophy training, the narrative becomes more nuanced. Research indicates that, when individuals of both sexes follow matched resistance training protocols, the relative improvements in strength and hypertrophy are quite similar.

So, do women need to be trained differently than men? The answer, it appears, is not as much as one might assume. The principles of progressive overload, specificity, and other training fundamentals remain constant. While individualization is key, the idea of drastically distinct training guidelines based on sex lacks compelling empirical support.

The guest in this episode, Dr. David Nolan, is a researcher in the area of sex differences in exercise response, and has looked at the influences of menstrual cycle and hormonal contraceptive use in female athletes on their performance.

In this episode, we discuss the research to date, and what this means practically for athletes and coaches.