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Pulling vs Pushing

A woman doing a pull up

In general women have struggled with pull-ups and chin-ups.  Examining the literature it has been found the typical healthy active woman’s pushing muscular is approximately 1.5 – 2.5 times stronger than the musculature involved for pulling.  Why this occurs tends to be cultural not physiological.

When comparing the strength levels between men and women studies show the female strength is comparable to males.  Men in general have greater absolute strength, but not when normalized to muscle mass.

PeerJ, an open access peer-reviewed journal published, “Comparison of upper body strength gains between men and women after 10 weeks of resistance training.”  They concluded “Despite the physiological and hormonal differences between sexes, women demonstrated the same relative strength gains compared to men in agreement with previous studies.  It appears there is presently no evidence of a need to design different RT (resistance training) protocols for men and women.”

The recommendation is that if pulling movements are lacking in the general population for the female athlete it should be addressed and emphasized when designing programs – to Get Strong.

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