Many misconceptions exist in the world of sports regarding how to train male and female athletes. Many female athletes (or parents) worry that weight training will produce large muscle mass and make them look like the cover of some muscle magazine. Women naturally don’t have the levels of testosterone necessary to develop the muscle structure of those who end up on magazine covers. In fact, due to lower testosterone levels and muscle mass, female athletes should have a strength component in all blocks of training – including peak competition. Not only is this critical to achieve maximum performance, it also greatly reduces risk of injury. As we have mentioned in other blogs, girls are six times more likely to tear an ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) than boys. Recent studies have also shown girls are more likely to incur concussive head injuries. These injuries have been linked to lack of muscle structure in areas where it is needed to prevent such injury. With proper training and structural development, the likelihood of these injuries can been greatly reduced.
When it comes to athletic performance many coaches and trainers believe girls should not do the same type of training as boys. The truth is, numerous studies have been done regarding physiologic differences between males and females. The majority of observed differences in athletic performance can be explained by muscle mass, structural differences of the body, body mass index (BMI) and even blood chemistry. When performance results are adjusted for body composition, the differences in those results go away. In other words, girls perform at the same level boys when adjusting for body composition. Therefore, functional training for spor,t for male and female athletes, can and should be done with similar methodology, while adjusting for the particular needs of the individual athlete.
CAMP, Building Better Athletes LLC