Up until the age of 12 to 14 (approximately the stage of puberty) boys and girls do not differ significantly in height, weight, girth, bone width, or skinfold thickness.

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PHYSIOLOGICAL RESPONSE TO ACUTE EXERCISE

Neuromuscular responses

Females:

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  • 40-60% weaker in the upper body
  • 25-30% weaker in the lower body
  • 5-15% weaker in lower body strength relative to body weight
  • no difference in lower body strength relative to fat free mass
  • significantly weaker in upper body strength relative to body weight
  • significantly weaker in upper body strength relative to fat free mass

Why?

Females:

  • use their lower bodies more often
  • have a higher percentage of fat free mass below the waist
  • for the same amount of muscle, have the same strength as males
  • possess smaller muscle fibre cross-sectional areas
  • have less muscle mass in general

Cardiovascular responses

Females:

  • have a higher heart rate response to submaximal exercise
  • have the same maximum heart rates
  • have the same cardiac output for absolute submaximal power output
  • have a smaller stroke volume
READ:
Sex Psychology: Sexual Response, Sexual Behavior, Sex Differences

Why?

Females:

  • have smaller hearts which means smaller left ventricles
  • have lower testosterone concentrations
  • have smaller blood volumes
  • are less aerobically active which means less conditioned
  • have a lower a-vO2diff which means a lower hemoglobin content and therefore a reduced muscle oxidative potential

Respiratory responses

Females:

  • work at a higher percentage of their VO2max
  • have a higher breathing rate

Why?

Females:

  • have a smaller body size

Metabolic responses

  • remember VO2 = Q    x    a-vO2diff

Females:

  • have their peak VO2max between 12-15 years of age compared to 17-21 years of age for males

Why?

  • extra body fat
  • lower hemoglobin levels which means lower O2 content in the arterial blood

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