The men at the gym might be packing more muscle than us, but bigger isn’t always better. According to new research, it seems that women have much greater muscle endurance than men.
What does this mean? While your male friend may be lifting more than you, you are more likely to out lift him when it comes to reps. Researchers in the School of Health and Exercise Sciences found that women were considerably less exhausted after natural, dynamic muscle exercises than men with similar athletic ability.
“We’ve known for some time that women are less fatigable than men during isometric muscle tests, but we wanted to find out if that’s true during more dynamic and practical everyday movements,” says Assistant Professor Brian Dalton. “And the answer is pretty definitive: women can outlast men by a wide margin.”
Eight men and nine women at a similar level of physical fitness were recruited and asked to flex their foot against sensors 200 times as fast as they could. The sensors recorded the speed, power and torque of their movements and electrical activity of their muscles.
“What we found is that males were faster and more powerful at first but became more fatigued much faster than females,” said Dalton.
The foot movements were chosen for the experiment as the calf muscles are used and they are essential for everyday tasks, such as walking and standing.
“We know from previous research that for events like ultra-trail running, males may complete them faster but females are considerably less tired by the end,” he adds.
Although you might be ready to start gloating, Dalton doesn’t believe his results are only about competition, but that they can help design exercise programs or adapt work environments to help minimize work-related fatigue.
“Both sexes have valuable physical abilities and it only makes sense that we study and develop the tools to afford them the best advantage,” says Dalton.
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