Should Men and Women Follow the Same Workout Plan?

Exercising with a partner is a great way to keep yourself accountable and stick to your routine. But have you considered how that routine might be affected if your workout partner is a member of the opposite sex? You should! There are actually some key differences between the types of exercises best for men and women. Keep them in mind when you and your partner hit the gym for your next workout so that you both benefit from your time exercising and neither gets discouraged.

man and women running
Photo credit: Sangudo

Men get stronger faster. Men can increase how much they can lift quickly, so women shouldn’t be as focused on upping the weight every time. This is because men produce more testosterone, so it’s naturally easier for them to build muscle than women. Women, on the other hand, start off with less muscle and may have to work harder to build it.

Women benefit more from interval training. While men have the upper hand in terms of lung capacity and are better able to handle endurance-related exercises like long runs, women may gain more from interval training.  Women may work harder during the repetitions, reaching closer to their maximum target heart rate, and may recover more quickly during intervals between repetitions.

Women are typically more flexible. Women tend to be more flexible than men, both biologically and as a result of higher participation in activities like yoga. Don’t be surprised if your male workout partner needs to spend a little extra time loosening up before and after working out. To help improve this area of weakness, encourage your partner to join you at your next class—yoga is a great low-intensity workout for both men and women!

Proper form means different things for men and women. Due to physical differences, men and women may also need to have different form for certain physical activities. For lower body exercises, like squats and lunges, women may need to alter their form due to naturally wider hips. And paying attention to proper form is even more important for women, as some studies show they are at increased risk for injuries related to poor form.

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