Male Training Versus Female Training: The Key Differences

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Sean Wilson

Sean Wilson

The popularity of resistance training has increased among males and females, but what key considerations should be made when designing training plans for either gender?

Resistance training is something that should be seen as a vital part of your weekly routine. It builds strength, stability, mobility, and a better overall shape to your body, among other things. It is also something that is growing in popularity as information about its benefits reaches more people in modern society.

This information has also seen more women ditch the cardio equipment and focus more on resistance training exercises to build a better body shape. However, there can be the risk of following generic programmes that are designed for both males and females. And while any form of resistance training will give you improvements, it does not mean you will have the same rate of progress.

So, what are the differences between female and male training? What tweaks can you make to ensure that you get the best rate of progress?

Testosterone Levels

The main difference between males and females is the testosterone level. It’s a pretty big difference too, with males producing, after puberty, twenty times more testosterone than women, meaning their capacity to build muscle tissue and lift heavier in the gym is far greater. By contrast, females produce higher levels of the sex hormone estrogen. Therefore, this must be considered when programming your workout, as will be discussed further below.


Another key difference is the recovery time between each set of an exercise. Women tend to be able to recover quicker than males do, meaning that they are ready to jump into the next set after 40 seconds of rest. With male training, due to heavier weight being lifted and therefore more demands on the body, an extra 20-40 seconds of rest, depending on the exercise, is often required to deliver consistently quality sets. So, females can make their sessions more metabolic and increase their calorie output across a workout.

Strength And Volume

Despite the differences in sex hormones, and the ability to lift heavier, and build more muscle tissue, strength should still be a priority during your training sessions. Males should aim to focus slightly more on strength-focused compound exercises than females, due to the aforementioned reasons. Females would benefit further from slightly more volume in each exercise and from building up the lactic acid inside the muscle tissue. However, this will depend on the individual, their goals, and their experience.

Muscle Group Priorities

Due to the aforementioned differences between male and female training, the programme design for each sex will vary. Once again, the training is partly based on the goal of the individual, but there are also differences in the muscle groups that a female and male want to develop. For females, having a muscular back, toned shoulders, and firm quads and glutes are common goals, while guys often look to develop their chest and arms. So, the muscle groups you will train more frequently will change depending on common female and male body shape goals.


So, there are several differences when it comes to female and male resistance training. These include testosterone levels, recovery, strength and volume, and muscle group priorities. This does not mean that progress can’t be made on similar plans, but it should vary depending on your goals, strength levels, biomechanics, training experience, and mobility. Whether you are a female or a male, take these points into consideration when designing your own plan and you should see progress accelerate.

Photo Credits: Envato Elements

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