Strength Training for Female Athletes: A Review of Selected Aspects

Jean Barrett Holloway, Thomas R. Baechle

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Women and men respond to strength training in very similar ways from their individual pretraining baselines. Women on the average have smaller bodies than men, have less absolute muscle mass and smaller individual muscle fibers, and display approximately two-thirds of the absolute overall strength and power of men. In addition, children are enculturated to view strength as masculine, an outlook which has depressed the pursuit and performance of strength activities by women. However, unit for unit, female muscle tissue is similar in force output to male muscle tissue, and there is some evidence to support similar, proportional increases for the sexes in strength performance and hypertrophy of muscle fibre relative to pretraining status. Strength training can also provide beneficial alterations in bone, body fat and self-concept in women. There is no evidence that women should train differently than men, and training programmes should be tailored for each individual.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)216-228
Number of pages13
JournalSports Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1990

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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