Workouts for Men (and Women)

It’s generally assumed that men (and women for that matter) are different enough that their workouts should be significantly different. Yes, there are some anatomical differences and, yes, there are hormonal differences but, no, actually it’s not reason enough to approach exercises, stretches, and training differently.

For their part, women seem to avoid training hard with weights for fear of looking like men. Men, on the other hand, seemingly don’t want to be stigmatized by doing girly exercises.

Hormones

It is hormones that determine the masculine and feminine appearance of both men and women. Men usually have six to ten times more testosterone – the hormone responsible for male secondary sexual characteristics – than women do. It’s challenging enough for men to bulk up with muscle even with this hormonal advantage.

In my experience, rarely have I encountered women approaching their workouts in a manner to gain significant amounts of muscle. It takes months and even years of moderate and/or heavy weight training in conjunction with a proper diet to “bulk up.” Most women generally lift weights that are far too light to get big. It’s not because they can’t do more, they just don’t push themselves to discover their full capability. Without hardcore anabolics – like injecting synthetic versions of hormones normally produced in large quantities in the male body – women stand next to no chance of becoming too muscular.

The bottom line: men and women alike should give their weight training program their best, most serious effort.

Beach Muscle Exercises

Women typically focus on all the areas that, of course, women tend to worry about when they go to the beach – like butt, thighs, and stomach – but neglect the body as whole. Men are often no better in attentively working the entire body. Male workouts favor the muscles they feel are important to show off in the sand, such as the chest and biceps, while their back and legs remain skinny and weak.

The bottom line: both sexes should train all major muscle groups of the body, including the glutes, quadriceps, abdominals, pectorals, and more. Personally, I wouldn’t even consider neglecting my hips and thighs; I don’t know any decent powerlifter who would.

Cardio

It’s anything but uncommon to see women, shortly after entering the gym, go headlong into the cardiovascular (cardio) equipment section and step away, walk, or cycle for 30 minutes to 2 hours per workout with fleeting forays into the weight room for a fantasy session of spot reduction or muscle tune-up.

Men, on the other hand, dread being linked to the “cardio queens” and many times do no aerobic work when it is precisely what they need to help reduce the spare tire around their waste. Sorry fellas, by virtue on entering the weight room, fat isn’t going to melt off while being magically replaced by muscle.

The bottom line: cardio is beneficial for both men and women. The appropriate amount of cardio is a function not of gender, but of body type and training objective.

Spot Reduction

Exercises for a specific body part will not predominantly reduce excess body fat stored in that area. To lose a proportional amount of fat in any particular spot requires a reduction in total body fat.

Men and women alike are always looking to target stomach fat with endless repetitions of sit-ups, crunches, etc. Movements such as the sit-up simply don’t burn enough calories to promote large scale fat loss. At the end of the day, you may end up with some really strong abs under a persistent layer of fat. Well, if you do a thousand reps in 2 hours, it will burn a lot of calories; but, 15 minutes of jogging will too!

The bottom line: men and women are wasting their time pursuing dedicated abdominal, thigh, and butt workouts hoping to reduce fat in those areas. Regularly combining cardio and weight training with a proper diet is the way to shed unwanted pounds in the stomach, hips, and elsewhere.

The Bottom Line

With very limited exception applicable only to expert weight trainers in competitive bodybuilding or strength sports, there is no workout advice for men that doesn’t hold true for women. We are of the same species and more or less the same physiologically (i.e., how our organs and cells and bio-chemicals do all that they do).

[stextbox id=”grey” caption=”About the Author”]Michael Chapdelaine is a professional writer and a drug free, health-conscious athlete. He is both an equipped and a raw powerlifter who has competed in the American Powerlifting Federation (APF), United States Powerlifting Federation (USPF), and with USA Powerlifting (USAPL). Michael has qualified for and competed in national and international events such as the 2010 Raw Nationals, the 2011 Arnold Raw Challenge, and the 2011 State Games of America.[/stextbox]

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  1. Brett Vance March 25, 2012
  2. Rita Chappell March 25, 2012
  3. Terry Crews Diet June 20, 2012
  4. Greg Plitt Diet June 21, 2012

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