Girls Vs Boys (strength)

Why is that? I never saw tennis as a strength sport. Is it about speed? I am no tennis fan tho, it might be about strength.

I noticed you said you were told these things in university lectures. I would demand my money back if I were paying to attend. What you were listening to was propaganda. Every day of our lives we have feedback from our surroundings that confirms that men are on average stronger and larger than women. I am completely agnostic as to whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. It just is.

Had they told you that the sky was pink would you have believed them? Sometimes it is pink but the vast majority of the time it is blue. For them to make a statement that women are stronger or as strong without any caveats would be something that you should have rejected out of hand short of very strong evidence to the contrary because what they were trying to argue is contradicted by our everyday experience. Scientific studies are easy to find as well. This one finds women to be 50-60% as strong as men.

Not as an offer of proof but as a perhaps interesting aside I tried to match what Saje said she can do. I am a male who has not lifted a weight in anger for close to 30 years and I live a completely unhealthy and sedentary life. Most of my life I was small and had trouble putting on weight until I got my middle age spread. I was able to beat every benchmark she mentioned except for the push-ups. I am sure she is healthier than I am, and I admire her will and determination, but we are about the same age and biology has made up the entire difference in training between us. I take no solace in the fact that men on average die earlier so maybe we can at least be allowed to enjoy a modest strength advantage in the interim.

It would have been interesting though for you to ask the lecturers for the scientific basis for their statements.

Note that this is specific to upper body strength. The strength differential between men and women in the lower body is a bit smaller.

what’s so darn special in the ability to do 20 pushups in a row? Or is it unusual specifically amongst preteens?

Yeah, 20 pushups seems pretty easy. And I’m far from an athelete.

At a guess, I’d say the power in a serve is pretty important.

Hitting the ball in general - men’s greater upper body strength means they can generate more power and move the ball faster.

Cite for service, but it is the same for the other strokes.


The point is that “strength” is not a one dimensional, single figure measurement, and the distribution of physical strength between genders overlaps. To say that “women are just as strong as men” is pretty much completely against most people’s every day common sense experience of the world, leading me to assume that the basis for the statement was based on some very circumscribed definition of “strength” where things like leverage, weight distribution, etc., are brought into the equation.

Most people’s intuitive definition of “strength” would be defined by what you can do with your body to manipulate foreign objects: to lift them, pull them, push them, throw them. Not to do push-ups or pull-ups, which activities depend on how heavy one’s own body is, and are used as conditioning exercises to maintain or increase one’s strength.

To manipulate foreign objects using only one’s body automatically depends on differences of leverage and weight distribution over the body, even between people of the same gender. For example, similar to the earlier example of lifting one’s forehead off the ground in a kneeling position with one’s hands behind the back, men typically cannot lift even a light folding or plastic lawn chair into the air while bent over it (like this), while women typically have no problems. But how often is it necessary in everyday life to lift objects while bent over them like that? Pretty much never.

On the other hand, men are, on average, much better at generating higher forces at things like punching or throwing objects, and at dead lifting weights. Certainly at the elite level, top men in boxing, baseball pitchers and weightlifters clearly and by far outdo what is attainable by equally top women in the same activities. There is also a reason why the East German doping programs in these types of activities involved giving young women male sex hormones.

But with Olympic athletes, both the male and female cohorts have spent their entire lives developing their strength and athleticism. Take it as given that girls are normally more discouraged than boys from developing strength and athleticism. Even in that case, though, the Olympic female athletes were the girls that completely ignored that discouragement. They’re not girls that spent their childhood playing a handful of not-very-serious sports who then decided to start training seriously at age 20.

I can see what you’re getting at, but I can’t see how you could possibly end up with the observed discrepancy just by the fact that there are fewer female athletes.

I can! I can!

Those teachers are blithering idiots.

That said, can’t we all pretty much guess that the next Olympics won’t just involve men lifting heavier weights and throwing javelins farther, but also involve various men pushing their bodies through water a heck of a lot faster while other men are pole-vaulting their bodies a heck of a lot higher, and so on? Won’t men with impressive leg muscles wind up running faster over every distance than the women trying to do likewise?

I agree also. I just wanted to ensure that I was indeed not crazy. I have learned to take a lot of what i hear with a grain of salt regardless of who I hear it from.

And Raindog, I do agree sometimes!


I tried this, and it was simple to just straighten up and then stand up. Am I missing something?

I’m looking, but it’s widely known enough that Google brings up all sorts of non-scientific mentions of it (example) which makes it hard to find something really cite worthy.

IIRC one of the effects of elevated testosterone is that men can build muscle faster, not just more of it.

Yes, but not at that rate. The sort of progress that a novice lifter makes has much more to do with their nervous systems getting it together than actual muscular changes.

Thank you, Baracus!! I read the OP’s question and I simply thought about my kids as a possible reference to this subject. In writing it, I am **by no means **suggesting that women are arguably stronger than men. Also, the title “Girls vs Boys (strength)” is what particularly made me think of my two kids. I completely understand that – “Things like ability to do pushups and chin-ups have a lot to do with the weight that is being lifted.”

I shouldn’t have used the words “perfect example,” boy do I regret doing that. It really wasn’t an example…it was more a response in agreeance to Ambivalid’s post. Good god, mellow out guys. Yes, you are stronger! I find this subject pretty damn boring actually and will refrain from participating in these types of threads in the future. Happy now?

Look, I am not bragging about my kid if that’s what you are thinking. If I wanted to build them up as something extraordinary and special, I would pick something about them that is not as unimportant and boring as push-ups even is she is the only kid in her class that can do this.

Bolding mine. You just couldn’t resist, huh?

I didn’t think you were bragging about your kid; I didn’t even register the “kid” bit, just the “20 push ups” bit in the post “what’s so darn special in the ability to do 20 pushups in a row? Or is it unusual specifically amongst preteens?” (the one to which I replied and which did not mention your child).

I now find it weird (now I’m considering it in context of your post about your child, and not just in reply to the post I replied to) that nobody else could do 20 push-ups. 20 push-ups is very easy. As I said, I’m no athlete (I mean really - I am not what you’d call fit), and that’s very easy for me, and was when I was 8, 18, 28 and now 38. It seems incongruous to me that there’s a class of kids out there of which only one can do 20 push-ups.

Maybe kids these days really are as unfit and obese as the media says. Dunno; haven’t a clue. But sure as hell, when I was at school, everybody could do 20 push ups without breaking a sweat.

Oh indeed. And while the women’s world record for the marathon is impressive at 2h 15m, the men’s top time is 12 minutes less - which doesn’t sound a lot proportionately, but means that in a straight race between Patrick Makau and Paula Radcliffe at their respective bests, the winner would have time to cross the line, stroll over, pick up a pair of binoculars, and peer back down the track for a while before the runner-up came into view a good two miles behind.