STRENGTH TRAINING THE FEMALE
Position stands by the National Strength & Conditioning Association,
the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine, and the American
Academy of Pediatrics suggest that CHILDREN can benefit from participation
in a properly prescribed and supervised resistance training program.
What is a properly prescribed resistance training program for young
The following information will give you some guidelines.
First, let's identify the differences between males and females when
considering muscles. There are 4 main muscular differences which directly
affect training and sport.
# 1 Females demonstrate a lower Hamstring to Quadricep ratio. This means
females typically have weaker hamstrings compared to males.
#2 Females demonstrate different muscle activation patterns compared to
males. Females are typically Quadricep dominant athletes. This means
females use their strong Quadriceps muscles and do not use their weak
hamstrings. How does this affect Anterior Cruciate Knee injuries? The
hamstring muscle group act to protect the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL)
and the Quadricep muscle group places STRESS on the Anterior Cruciate
Ligament. Therefore, Quadricep dominant muscle work demonstrated by females
places excessive stress on the ACL.
# 3 Females demonstrate strength weakness comparing one leg to the other.
Studies show that 20-30% of female athletes have one leg significantly
weaker than the other leg. If a female has a muscle weakness of 15% or
greater from one leg to the other, they are 2.6 times more likely to suffer
a leg injury.
#4 Females demonstrate a slower speed of muscle contraction. The typical
female takes 3 tenths of a second longer to generate MAXIMUM contraction of
the hamstrings. This may seem insignificant, however realize that a
sprinter spends less than a tenth of a second balancing on one foot before
pushing off and landing on the other foot. If the hamstrings do not
contract fast enough the Anterior Cruciate Ligament may be in jeopardy.
| What Does Research
In 1996, Huston and Wojtys reported that female athletes
tend to fire their quadriceps in response to anterior tibial translation,
which can overload the ACL when the knee is at or near extension (men's
hamstrings fire instead).
Using these 4 differences lets formulate a plan! The plan must begin
emphasizing FUNCTIONAL STRENGTH TRAINING principles.
Functional strength training differs from traditional strength
Functional strength training attempts to closely mimic the sport or
activity the athlete is involved. Functional strength training emphasizes
training movement patterns, unlike traditional strength training which
emphasizes individual muscles.
Here is an example:
(knee extension machine picture here)
(hamstring curl machine picture here)
Traditional Quadricep Strengthening Traditional Hamstring
on the Knee Extension Machine. Strengthening on the
Hamstring Curl Machine.
These same two muscles, along with the core and many other lower leg
muscles can be trained using a FUNCTIONAL STRENGTH TRAINING exercise, the
2 - LEG SQUAT:
(2 leg squat picture here)