Men vs. Women in the Gym

Because of differences in our bodies, exercising is not gender-neutral.

Men and women march together, but should they work out together? Not always.

Men can gain muscle more easily and at a faster rate. Women also normally have more fat on our bodies. These physical differences can make it discouraging to train and work out together.

Different Progressions

As a man shows progress more quickly, his female workout partner may get discouraged and give up her regimen altogether, which is unfortunate and unnecessary.

On the other hand, if you’re a woman who finds that you need a bit more of a push to work out, sometimes working out with a male counterpart can provide that—you see where you’re headed before you get there.

Some women may wish to train with other women. You will progress at the same rate. You will see similar results, and there is not such a vast difference in the amount of muscle mass you are able to achieve in the same period of time.

Upper Body

While most people believe that men have vastly more upper body strength than women, this idea simply isn’t true. Typically, women are simply more underdeveloped in this area. As women tend to be smaller than men, the amount of mass that we are able to lift and carry is less but can definitely be proportional. It depends on the woman and the amount of time she’s spent building her upper body.

Ladies: Pushups are not a bad thing. Even doing them with your knees bent will benefit you—start there and work up to a full plank position.

Center of Gravity

A man’s center of gravity is located at the center of his chest at his sternum while a woman’s center of gravity is located approximately in the center of her pelvis.

Because of this makeup, combined with his ability to increase his upper body strength at a quicker pace, a man will be able to invert more easily. A woman’s body is naturally more grounded while a man is more easily able to fly. For example, handstands are a bit easier for a man, while a woman can more generally sense the ground and use it as her base of support.

When training, it is good to know where you are naturally, but there is no need to get caught up in male-female differences. Know where you fall in the spectrum and move on and work out— either together or separately.

As always, consult with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and be mindful of injuries, sprains and strains.

About the Author

After dancing since the age of 3, Haley Greenwald-Gonella thought it was time to try a new art. In elementary school, she began playing the flute and was in the marching band in middle school and for the first two years of high school. She also played the bassoon during concert season. Dance drew Haley back while in high school.

She graduated from the University of California, Irvine, with degrees in dance and English. She recently graduated from the University of Southern California with a master’s degree in Specialized Journalism (The Arts).

Haley is also a certified registered yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance. She draws upon her dance and yoga training when it comes to all things fitness and the arts.