In Coaching, Exercises

March 01, 2011

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Do women require a different approach to strength training? Bill Starr doesn’t think so but offers a few tips for coaching female lifters.

I realize the origin of the idea that females are the weaker sex, but even at a young age, I knew it was false. I grew up in a farming community and observed that women did a great deal more work than the men and often helped with the milking, plowing, haying or any other task that needed to be done on the farm.

But the notion that females aren’t physically equipped to do manual labor or participate in grueling sports prevailed. Looking back, it seems rather absurd now, but that’s how things were until recent changes came about.

When I started training female athletes at the University of Hawaii in 1973, there was no information available on how to put together workouts for them. The routine that Tommy Suggs and I had devised and called the Big Three was created with males in mind. Yet I could not find a single reason why females shouldn’t do that same program.

The weight room at UH was small, with one pulling and squatting station, an incline bench, and two flat benches. So if an athlete wanted to join a group at, say, the squat station, she had to take her turn just like everyone else. I showed no favoritism one way of the other. I treated men and women alike and pushed them both equally hard, and they never grumbled or complained.



6 Comments on “Girls Ride Horses, Too ”


wrote …

I really enjoyed this article. It is too true that females were often, and still are, treated differently, even in sports.
I thought that I should point out one sport where this disparity still exists. Interestingly, at the Olympic level, marathoners are now allowed to be both sexes, but on the world stage, cross country skiers are still treated differently. Apparently females are unable to ski the longer distances that the males can. Now I can feel the storm rising up about female ski jumpers as well. There are some areas where the boundaries are imposed, and others where these boundaries existed, and have been dropped, but the people have not yet crossed. Female jumpers are allowed, but they also need to have the numbers to support a competition at the Olympic level.
Then again, who knows, maybe the boundaries for long distance female skiers have also been dropped. For some reason, I really do not think so.

Is there anyone that knows better/otherwise?

Cheers all.


wrote …

Women rock.


wrote …

Good article but the main points of the article - that strength training is beneficial for women and will not make them look muscly etc - is somewhat undermined by the accompanying pictures. I mean no offence to the lady in question, but she is clearly "chemically/hormonally enhanced" and is therefore not a great example of what the article is trying to promote. I say this from the perspective of being a drug-free competitive female powerlifter myself.


Adrienne Weintz wrote …

What a great article. I wish all coaches had this attitude and knowledge. After doing Crossfit for 2 years, I can appreciate your wisdom. Thank you and keep the good stuff coming.


wrote …

Moronic article. I understand the point and I think it was a pedestrian article. I believe in equality but asserting that women "...for the most part, are more intelligent" than men is slanderous and sexist. Sexism goes both ways please carefully tread the line towards equality.


wrote …

Couldn't agree more Jose. This may be the stupidest article I have ever read. Men and women are not different in a few physical ways, we are different in hundreds of thousends of ways. The structure, how we move, testosterone levels which vastly change recovery and muscle building patterns. The very function of muscle fiber works differently between men and women. Even with Hormone altering, women will never be physically at the same level as men in these areas. The problem is we somehow have placed the value of person on these atributes. Just because my wife will never be as strong as me does NOT make her less of a person.

What is so stupid is that this article is trying to use this argument to say why women should crossfit and lift heavy weights. Of course they should, but not because men and women are now somehow the same, that is so rediculous its laughable. Its because women will benefit from it to, you don't have to try and make some rediculous argument on physical sameness to promote the idea that women have an equal place in Crossfit.

Daniel, you wanted to point out 1 sport where men and women are still treated differently? How about pointing out every single sport on the planet, baring maybe your local co-ed softball team.

I saw an interview the other day of some WNBA players, and they were asked if the ultimate goal was to get women into the NBA. They acted somewhat insulted, rightfully so in my opinion, they said "no" that the goal was to have their league apreciated for what it was, because the men and the womens game was different, and they should be apreciated in their differences.

Are men and women equal as people, in value? Of course they are. Are we the same? Absolutely not. Our differences should be apreciated, cherished and respected. Its articles like this that set us back.

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