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Women and Men are Different - The Facts on Neuromuscular Efficiency

Mark Rippetoe | May 03, 2019

https://youtu.be/lsI9XgpzXkY | Convert video-to-text with the best AI technology by Sonix.ai

Thank you, Mark Wulfe. Welcome back to the podcast. And Starting Strength Radio marches on. We are going to talk about some stuff we discussed last week, not long though, just a few little things. I'm actually more surprised that people were not showing up in defense of my indictment of the bottom three percent of you idiots that post on YouTube comments. Everybody jumped to the defense of transgender athletes but nobody took up for the bottom 3 percent.

That surprised me.

I mean I understand why you didn't. Because it's transparently obvious that we're dealing here with the bottom 3 percent. If you post on YouTube comments. But you know it. I just. Your lack of compassion shocks me really. It does.

Got some comments about my little drawing last week said that it was what they say crayon that was said crayons are done with crayons? It was done with this green highlighter. So I fixed it for you. OK. I hope that clears things up now.

So let's let's get all this over with. We were talking about trans women in women's sports last week and it was...actually the thing was surprisingly well received. I was I was shocked that I didn't get a single death threat. And you know, I was kind of hoping for a death threat. You know everybody else...people in New York City and California are all disturbed when they get death threats. I think it'd be cool to get a death threat, you know.

How many, Nick, just out of curiosity how many how many handguns are in this room right now with us? Four...four handguns in the room. 13 knives? I've got three knives on me right now. Look motherfucker, if you get to me. I had it coming. Okay, but I'll get you first. Go ahead and threaten my ass. That'll be fun. All right.

Now here's some things that were turned in this week that have that that happened since the last podcast or that occurred that I was not aware of. Since we we videoed this thing last time. There was...just in no particular order...there was an evolutionary biologist speaking at Portland State University -- some of you may have seen this -- where several of the students got up and walked out of the deal. Which is, you know, no doubt a tragic loss to the quality of the subsequent conversation, when this man had the temerity to say that there were physical differences between men and women. And that's the that's I mean, and these people were dressed up as...one I was dressed as a pirate, the other one is a is a Russian deckhand, one of them looked like a serial killer. Some guy was trying to act like he was a Vietnam vet and all of of this other shit. It was just just absolutely amazing. For suggesting (that), he was a Nazi and a fascist. They actually said Nazi and fascist.

The biologist was a woman. Yes. Yes. The evolutionary biologist was a woman.

How do you call a woman a Nazi to begin with? They're the fair, gentle sex, right? Well, they had female Nazis. I've seen movies about Nazi prisons and women and stuff. There's a whole genre of porn about that, I believe, isn't it? It seems like I've seen something like that.

Calling her a Nazi and a fascist for stating that men and women are different.

Well my first observation would be that if men and women are not different then why do you want to change? Someone will have to clear that up for me. And if you were all the same. Why change?

Right and then we had some people that were interested in once again me going on Joe Rogan's show. Look, I don't get to go on Joe Rogan's show you know just because he's had this suggested to him 10000 times. I'm not going on Joe Rogan. Just leave. Let it go. Quit bothering the man about this. Don't! Stop sending him shit on Twitter, stop sending him emails. Leave him alone. He's busy, right?

And then somebody suggested that I go before Congress and state this so utterly obvious truth. Well you don't get to just walk into Congress and state utterly obvious truths because if you do go before Congress and state an utterly obvious truth, they will kill you.

They don't want you to state utterly obvious truths in front of Congress. I believe that there is a hearing going on this afternoon even as we taped this thing where a man is going to state utterly obvious truths and he will be berated for it. He'll they will attempt to destroy his reputation and destroy his life and all of this other shit.

So you don't go in front of Congress and state utterly obvious truths. It's pointless because Congress, politicians, and the media are the people we talked about last week. And they are the ones that have caused all of this problem with respect to this rather simple issue. And the rather simple issue is that men and women have different physical baselines and those baselines come from in utero exposure to testosterone. We talked about this last week at length. Those of you that didn't see it last week we have separated out a clip of all of that information that is separated from the first 20. What was it 23 minutes? 28 minutes that was Starting Strength news. And then we we put up by itself, it's about 50 minutes long you need to go watch it. I thoroughly discussed the situation then and I don't feel the need to revisit any of this again.

And some of you are asking me questions on on YouTube. If you want to ask me questions, you need to come to startingstrength.com. There is a thread about this issue on my Q and A -- that's where I answer questions. I will not post about this on Facebook, on Twitter, or on YouTube comments, certainly not on YouTube comments. If you want to talk to me about it, then you need to come on our website where we answer questions. This is where the discussion takes place, at startingstrength.com. It's a moderated forum. So you come on my moderated forum and give me a death threat I'll just edit it out because that's just, you know, that kind of entertainment, we just don't have time for it. So talk to us there: startingstrength.com Forums, Mark Rippetoe Q&A. And we can deal with it at that level.

Now. We didn't really get a chance to review the literature on this and I know that for a lot of you scientist...scientis...scientism guys The Literature is the holy bastion of the truth. The literature, peer reviewed literature, is just as political as everything else in the world. And if you somehow think that the literature is sacrosanct then you don't know anything about the literature. All right.

Here is a paper, for example. This was published in 2017 it's a Springer publication like all of them are...Sports Medicine is the name of the journal. Actually it says it was published online in 2016, October 3rd, 2016. So it probably went into print in 2017.

This is the title of the paper: Sport and transgender people. A systematic review of the literature relating to sport participation... sport participation...and competitive sport policies. Note they are using these singular European version of the word and not "sports." This is more lofty. Obviously when you say "sport" when you mean "sports" you obviously are credible.

OK. Let me read you the conclusion from the abstract and this is this is just fascinating. I want you to reflect on the implications this has for the literature. Verbatim: "Conclusion. Currently there is no direct or consistent research suggesting transgender female individuals (or male individuals) have an athletic advantage at any stage of their transition (e.g. cross-sex hormones, gender-confirming surgery) and therefore competitive sport policies that place restrictions on transgender people need to be considered and potentially revised."

Now let me point out a couple of things about this astonishing conclusion.

"There is no direct or consistent research suggesting transgender female individuals or male individuals have an athletic advantage at any stage of their transition and therefore a competitive" policy blah blah blah. An advantage over who? Why that seems to be missing from this conclusion. An advantage over who? All right. And they're actually saying that female individuals or male individuals have an athletic advantage at any stage of their transition.

What if they're not transitioning? What if they're just males and females not in transition? Do we have any sports without a male and female division that the highly celebrated authors of this paper -- Bethany Alice Jones, Jon Arcelus, Walter Pierre Bouman, and Emma Haycraft, are not apparently not aware of the fact that there are men's and women's divisions in all sports. But here they're saying that female individuals or male individual...there's no direct evidence suggesting that they have an advantage over each other. Yet it exists.

And also they mentioned cross-sex hormones and gender-confirming surgery. Now by cross-sex hormones you don't happen to mean testosterone do you? Do Ms Jones, Mr Arcelus, Mr Bouman, and Ms Haycraft remain unaware of the fact that testosterone supplementation for sports is illegal and against the rules of all organized sports especially at the Olympic level? Do they not understand that there's a reason why these substances are banned? Banned substances are banned for a reason, testosterone being one of the banned substances, a cross-sex hormone?

Boys and Girls. This is why the literature is bullshit. Not all of the literature is bullshit. You know they're probably some good physics papers, but there's there's just you know exercise science literature is kind of like that. It just didn't make any sense.

Let's see. Oh yeah. Here this is. This is an interesting. This is an interesting thing here. USAPL [note: American Drug Free Powerlifting dba USA Powerlifting] has said that they're going to ban people who are transgender from competing. And I want to point out the fact that as I talked about last week, the United States Strengthlifting Federation has come up with a perfectly equitable way around this that doesn't ban anyone. It doesn't ban anyone.

USAPL since their inception has been about not PL [powerlifting] but about "drug free." Their primary emphasis since their inception has been opposing the use of drugs and this clouds their judgment because they're going to ban people on this basis and they do this all the time. USSF allows transgender people to compete in the Open division. It restricts the Women's division to congenital females but a congenital female can compete in the Women's division and anybody else can compete in a USSF meet -- without being banned -- in the Open division. Now I don't know how you get more fair than that. Ok.

If you have advantages with respect to male baseline performance or you are transitioning with the use of testosterone you can't lift in the Women's division because that's not fair, for all of the reasons we discussed last week. But you can lift in the Open division. Now why doesn't USAPL adopt a different policy for their divisions and save all of this heartache? We are leading the way here. United States Strengthlifting Federation leads the way. This is the only answer to this problem and I suggest that others need to follow this lead because it's it's going to save everybody a lot of trouble. If you want to maintain Women's sports. This is the only way to do it. So think about that, okay.

Now, I also note that CrossFit is going to start permitting trans women in the Women's division of the CrossFit games. Doesn't the CrossFit Games have a...have prize money? They do? There's gonna be a lawsuit, isn't there? Wonder when that'll happen. Well, it'll be interesting to see.

And then one more little thing before we move on here. I've got and we've been we well we'll put these links up somewhere. Where did we put those last time? End of the...or in the transcript. Link and the transcripts go on Starting Strength dot com under podcast. So you can...if you want this stuff I've got on the table here, printed out, the link to it will be available.

Here's a few things that came in over the week. Franklin Pierce University runner by the name of CeCe Telfer competed on the men's team in early 2018 before switching to the women's team fifteen months later. And since that switch Telfer has dominated the NCAA Division 2 competition, Division 2 competition, and led the women's team at Franklin Pierce University into the top twenty-five for the first time ever.

It's interesting...Telfer is one of the fastest runners in the NCAA women's track and field division, in any division. not just D2 but D1 as well. And you know the competition and this Telfer competed on Franklin Pierce's men's team as recently as January 2018 again. Fifteen months ago this individual was competing in the men's division and now the women's team that she is on is dominating the women's division.

But here's the interesting thing about this article and the primary reason I saved it for you. The NCAA in 2011 published what they call an "explainer." This is apparently like a position statement or something that is weighty, right. And they are generously explaining to us fools that it is not well-founded.."not well-founded" is the quote "to assume that being born with a male body automatically gives a transgender woman an unfair advantage when competing against non-transgender women." Quoting "transgender women display a great deal of physical variation just as there is a great deal of natural variation in physical size and ability among non-transgender women and men.".

Well now that's helpful, isn't it? So, a transgender woman is a male to female transition. And they've patiently explained to us that there is a great deal of natural variation in physical size and ability among humans. Both male and female humans.

Now I don't know about you, but I really appreciate the NCAA taking their time to explain to us that there are tall women and short women and tall men and short men and big men and small men and big women and small women and athletically-gifted women and athletically-gifted men. I really appreciate the patient explanation here because prior to that you and I would not have...you know...internalized that observation.

"A male to female transgender woman may be small and slight even if she's not on hormone blockers or taking estrogen. It is important not to overgeneralize. The assumption that all male-bodied people are taller, stronger, and more highly-skilled in a sport than all female- bodied people is not accurate." It continues.

And once again, what a wonderful clarification this is...for you know, me and you, right. Because if anyone has the moral authority to pontificate about athletics it would be the NCAA, wouldn't it?

Furthermore I want you guys to go look something up for me as an individual by the name of Hannah Mouncey...m-o-u-n-c-e-y...who plays for the Australian men's handball team, but is now playing for the Australian women's handball team and played Australian rules football between transitioning and switching to women's handball. So this individual now plays women's handball. There is a video of Hannah Mouncey on the field with the other women in the division. I want you to go look at that. It's very enlightening.

And our friend Rachel McKinnon the biologically-male college professor who identifies as a transgender woman and subsequently won a women's cycling world championship in October in the women's sprint 35 to 39 age bracket at the 2018 UCI Masters Track Cycling World Championships in Los Angeles.

Isn't that interesting. Cycling also starts Masters at 35. Masters at 35. Oh shit, Masters ought to be 50 as far as I'm concerned, Masters ought to be 50. It's 30 in jiu-jitsu...what in the hell?

Like the masters to after five masters nine. That's like belts. They got purple and blue and indigo and midnight blue and all these things so that everyone can win first place. Right? You could enter a powerlifting meet -- I don't know about now, but when I got mad, long time ago because you can enter a powerlifting meet in sub-masters, Men's, drug-free, raw, raw or geared, right? So what happened was I was announcing this meet and there were there were a hundred and twenty-five -- and I vaguely remember these numbers -- one hundred and twenty-five people in the meet and there were so many divisions that there were a hundred and four first place trophies.

Now I may be off a few here... a hundred and four first place trophies that I...but I was actually reading the results of this thing. Blah blah blah...First place...blah blah blah blah blah...First place blah blah blah blah blah...First place. At about seventy-five awards into the deal I said "Let me take a second here to point out the fact that if everyone wins first place, no one won first place." And they didn't ask me back. That was the last meet I announced in Texas. Oh God Almighty, but that was that was funny.

So anyway, Rachel McKinnon here was quoted in USA Today arguing against against requiring biological males to suppress testosterone as a requirement for competing against women. Now isn't that astonishing she's actually, well, Rachel is actually arguing against the requirements for biological males to suppress testosterone for competing against women. Let that soak in just a second kiddos. Quote "We cannot have a woman legally recognized as a trans woman in society and not be recognized that way in sports. Although she doesn't really mention her reasoning there. McKinnon told USA Today "Focusing on performance advantage is largely irrelevant because this is a rights issue. We shouldn't be worried about trans people taking over the Olympics. We should be worried about their fairness and human rights instead.".

I see you shaking your head. So let me read this again. This is just this is daft and...And see once here again, they are relying on to you to just nod your head in agreement because this is such lunacy. "Focusing on performance advantage is largely irrelevant because this is a rights issue. We shouldn't be worried about trans people taking over the Olympics we should be worried about their fairness and human rights instead."

In other words, why compete? Because that's what that means. Why would there be a competition? Why have a Women's division. And as I said last week, those of you who are interested in maintaining Women's sports competition had better arrive at the conclusion very soon. You're going to have to do this. We can't do it for you. You're going to have to be mad about it.

You're going to have to tell people that you don't think it's fair and that you're not going to go along with it and you're not going to sit down and shut up and be sweet and kind and nice while somebody else takes this away from you. You're not taking it away from me. They're taking it away from you and it's time to stand up on your hind legs and do something about it. Otherwise it's going away. There is no other...if Rachel McKinnon's analysis here is correct, you all are done. And this has to be dealt with now. Okay?

So that having been said, I thought what we would do today is dive in to the neuromuscular efficiency situation because it directly relates to what we've talked about before. Neuromuscular efficiency, very quickly, is the ability of the muscle, of the motor units of the muscle, the smallest components of the muscle of the neuromuscular system -- one motor neuron and all of the muscle fibers that neuron is attached, to that it innervates. Neuromuscular efficiency is the ability to call motor units into contraction rapidly. Right.

Let's say you have the ability to, in a very short period of time, call 30 percent of your motor units into contraction, in say, the space of a half second. That means you're not very explosive. In contrast, if you have the ability to call 65-70 percent of your motor units into contraction in that same very short period of time, then you are what we call explosive. And your neuromuscular efficiency is higher than that of a person with a lower, with a less efficient ability to cause motor units to enter into contraction, voluntarily, right now.

This test, the test called the standing vertical jump is a very reliable indicator of neuromuscular efficiency. And briefly, the standing vertical jump test is where you measure the distance -- and this is using a device called a vertex or it can be used by chalked hand on a wall. You're measuring the difference between the test subject's upraised hands standing flat-footed and the test subject's height of the upraised hand at the top of a jump, at the top of a rebound-initiated stretch-reflex jump up in the air. And the the test is valuable in that the downward path the eccentric component of a of a standing vertical job or any any stretch-reflex jump takes a little bit longer than the upward phase the concentric phase, the phase that produces the knee, hip, ankle extension and therefore the phase that accelerates your body's mass up off of the ground.

And the time in which this takes place is less than a half second. I don't have the actual data on it but my observations of people doing this for years indicates to me that it's probably 0.3 point, 0.35 seconds. The phase of the of the jump that actually is the part that accelerates the body's mass off of the ground. The downward part, a stretch-reflex (And try to jump up in the air without doing this. It's built into your nervous system into your DNA. This is just the way humans do this)...tThe downward phase which takes a little bit longer than that is...functions essentially as a signal for the more efficient recruitment of motor units into contraction during the concentric phase. So the downward stretch-reflex tells the muscles, tells the neuromuscular system, we're about to require a strong concentric contraction to jump up in the air. So you lower yourself, stretch the muscles out, and then shorten them violently and the distance that you are carried up into the air by your concentric contraction, that thing that takes place in point three seconds, third of a second maybe, is a direct measurement of how much of your muscle mass how -- another way to say how many of your motor units -- got recruited into contraction in that very, very short period of time. The more motor units you can recruit into contraction in a very short period of time the more explosive you are and you can see how this is true.

Explosive ability, as it turns out, is largely untrainable, Standing vertical jumps improve by 10 to 15 percent most of the time. Exceptionally good strength and conditioning programs might generate a 20 percent increase in standing vertical jump, but no one doubles their ability to standing vertical jump. That only happens on the Internet and it doesn't occur in real life.

0.3 seconds is not a very long period of time and if you are able to generate enough force in point three seconds worth of concentric contraction to carry your body's own mass up into the air a distance measured at the top of the upraised hand of thirty-six inches, then you are a freak. You are an exceptional-talented athlete. That ability cannot be trained and it cannot be modified as it turns out much by anabolic steroids and testosterone either. All right. This is one of the things that happens in utero. This is part of that baseline that males acquire that females don't. Because neuromuscular efficiency is a function of early exposure in the womb to testosterone. It changes more than just little boys' and little girls' tee-tees. It changes their neuromuscular machinery and makes men inherently more explosive.

Now there are overlaps, right. Where'd my new drawing go, right? See there's overlap. See the overlap? We understand there's overlap. There are exceptional women. There are less than exceptional men. But by and large the generalized difference in neuromuscular efficiency between men and women is quite profound. And this is evidenced by the average men's and average women's vertical jump. Average men's vertical jump is 22 inches, average women's is 14. Likewise the men's records are forty-six and 30 respectively, forty-six and thirty. Thirty being the women's vertical jump, standing vertical jump record. It's quite a bit of difference. And it's proportional to the average difference you might notice. In other words, the best woman that's ever been tested only jumped 30 inches compared to the best man who's ever been tested who jumped forty-six. Now I don't know what else you need to know, okay, to make the point that neuromuscular efficiency is bequeathed to a person through things that are not their own efforts.

All right you can't train a standing vertical jump very much. And they'll probably somebody posting on the YouTube comments about you wanting to visit their website where they can take you from an 18 to a 36. If you don't have anything to do right now go ahead and go to the website and you'll find that you're not talking about a standing vertical jump, a counter-movement jump with no step. We're not talking about jumping up on a box, we're not talking about jumping over a car on a dead run, we're not talking about any of these other things. We're talking about the largely untrainable, largely unpracticeable standing vertical jump.

So there are differences between men and women. You kinda knew that, all right, and there are going to be people that insist that there aren't and these people are fools. Fools. And they're liars.

If they really know what's going on and they continue to say that, they're liars.

Skipping ahead, we know that there are differences between men and women's physical performance capacities as a result of that. And what are those differences and what do they have to do with training? Training men and training women, by and large, are two completely different things. All right.

Now if you're trying to compare a 65-year-old man with an 18-year-old college scholarship female athlete that is not the kind of thing that we're talking about here. Because once again the overlap map that I just modified for you with my green highlighter and not a crayon, shows that there are in fact overlaps. We're not saying there's not any overlap. Given the fact that we're talking about averages here, when people walk in your gym, if a 28-year-old woman walks in your gym and a 28-year-old man walks in your gym what do you do differently between the two? Because this has to be addressed if you're going to be an effective coach of strength for these two people. They're not the same. They can't be treated the same.

Women -- and the reason for this is neuromuscular efficiency -- as a general rule, women can produce a higher percentage set of five of their 1 rep max than men. As a general rule, in fact it's so general a rule that it's essentially always the case that a female will be able to do a five rep max within perhaps three percent of her 1 rep max. In other words, if a 28-year-old woman comes in the gym and she's benching one hundred and five pounds for a for a max single...slow, grindey, max single. You can get her to do one. She will be able to do a set of five with 100 pounds, maybe a hundred and one, maybe a hundred and two pounds. And this is just what happens.

I've been in this business for 42 years and I'm telling you that this is what occurs. This is not speculation. This is the this is the phenomenon that we see and those of you women know this. You've observed it about your own training. You might have wondered why this is the case since your husband if he's benching three fifty he can only do maybe 305 for a triple. It's a it's a different thing entirely.

The fact that he's doing 300 and you're doing 100 ought to tell you something. But just in case it doesn't, measure the difference between your 1 rep max and your set of 5 and his. All right, if he's doing 350 I'd say his set of 5 is probably no more than, oh maybe 275..280...285 at the most. His triple will be 315..310. Maybe 310 on a set of on a on a single at 350. Yours on the other hand would never look like that. It will never get that way with training either. You will always be able to do a higher percentage of your 1 rep max for set of 5 and the reason for this is that a 1 rep max for a woman and a 1 rep max for a man are two different neuromuscular events. A 1 rep max for a male is probably about a ninety-seven, ninety-eight, possibly ninety ninety-eight percen...ninety-six to ninety-eight percent neuromuscular recruitment event, motor unit recruitment event. A man might be able to to recruit ninety-seven percent of all of his motor units into a 1 rep max effort whereas for a female it's probably somewhere between 85 and 90 and that is all.

They're profoundly different events and this has to be taken into account because this also means that a heavy set of five for a male and a heavy set of five for a female are also...there also two different neuromuscular events. And they have different training effects on the person doing the lifting. So a heavy set of five for a male, three heavy sets of five across, represents the training of more motor units than three sets of five across for a female.

This is a material fact that cannot be ignored. Now what typically we will do is keep men on sets of five all the way through their novice linear progression, but after a couple of months when things start to slow down for females what we will do is switch to triples. We will go from three sets of five to five sets of three because sets of three represent for her probably the equivalent or close enough to it motor unit recruitment event that a set of five does for a male.

And that may not even be true, but we have found through practice that going to sets of three gets us further along in the novice linear progression, adding a little weight every workout three days a week, than it does to leave her at sets of five. She'll get stuck in sets of five whereas she won't get stuck at sets of three. So we one of the one of the important things that we'll do different is move over to sets of three. This allows us to more effectively train the people who are paying us to train them.

We are responsible for knowing this. And if you don't understand this you're not going to be an effective coach. OK this has, so this has this kind of thing has ramifications all throughout women's training. Three sets of five for a guy when it's heavy is a hell of a bunch work. All right. Even five sets of three for a female is not quite as much work. Now this has some interesting implications for rest between sets.

Now why do we need to change numbers of reps. Let's think about this clearly -- sets of five are not as hard for women as they are for men. Sets are five for women are in fact not hard enough to continue driving a stress-recovery-adaptation cycle for much longer than a couple of months. When we first start out it's just fine, but soon we need to maintain the efficiency of the stress-recovery-adaptation cycle and that's facilitated by going up in intensity. By going from fives to threes, which are heavier than fives, and maintaining the same amount of volume by going to five sets as well.

And I mentioned rest time between these sets...when you have, say a late-stage strong novice man doing 405 for three sets of five across, his rest time between those sets might be 10 or 15 minutes. There are probably not any instances of women requiring any more than five minutes at most between those work sets. Maybe probably three minutes is a closer a closer estimate because of the fact that even a set of three is not as fatiguing an event as a set of five for a male. They're not lifting as much weight, the weight they are lifting is not as big a percentage of their 1 rep max it's just not as taxing, and as a result of this women should not rest as long between sets as men must do.

This also has some implications for how frequently women can train. Women can probably train more frequently than men if they need to. And in terms of training the deadlift we usually recommend that especially in the novice phase that that men only do one heavy set of five deadlifts because for men the deadlift is such a fatiguing event that more than one set of deadlifts is not productive for people in that phase of their training, that phase of their level of training advancement.

Women on the other hand can always do sets across deadlifts, 2...3 sets across does not represent the same kind of a killer stress that it would for men because once again women are not recruiting as many motor units into any contraction as men are and this is a terribly important thing to keep in mind. So there are very very important reasons why women must be trained differently than men.

Now here's another ramification of this thing and I had to learn this the hard way a long time ago. When you are taking...you're coaching a woman at a power meet or a strengthlifting meet or even an Olympic weightlifting meet, you have to understand that since she can do a higher percentage of her 1RM for a set of five that this means quite plainly that her first attempt and her third attempt will be much closer together than will a man's. A male's first attempt in general should be a weight that he can triple. A male's second attempt should be a weight that he knows he can single easily and the third attempt should be, if if conditions permit that day, an attempt at a 1RM PR. All right. Or at least should be the max 1RM he thinks he can do that day.

For a female competitor things are or quite a bit different. I took a lady to a meet a long time ago and we'd been our training had been going pretty well and I didn't know this at the time. I was young and dumb and I did not understand the important things I'm telling you right now. She opened her deadlift at 100 kilos, 220, and just blew it off the floor, just absolutely exploded the thing up off the floor. And I thought, Oh God Almighty, she's going to do 242 today. So I took her up to 237, 107.5, kilos because at the time powerlifting was still mired in the two and a half kilo jump thing. And I don't know are there any federations that have gotten enough sense to use a one kilo rule in powerlifting? I don't think so. You guys listen carefully to this because that's stupid. All right. I took her up to one of seven and a half for her second attempt and that thing was stapled to the floor. Wouldn't move. Got one deadlift for the day and that's my fault. That was my fault for not understanding that if there's a two and a half kilo rule that women go two and a half kilo jumps only. You don't do seven and a half kilo jumps. That's stupid. Two thirty one might possibly. Probably not. Probably would not and probably would go on for, for a second attempt. But 237 would have never gone that day. She would have ended up with a second attempt at two thirty one and that was my fault. We should have gone 220, should have gone 100 kilos 102 and 105. That's all we should have done. And I learned that that day something was different.

I had a another woman training in the gym with me all along about the same time as I was waking up to this effect and I wanted to see how many incline benches she could do. So we loaded, oh something like eighty-five pounds on the bar, she's pretty strong. Because I had noticed that men would reach failure at a set of five and that and that that after that you could give that same male a forced rep or two. And a forced rep is where you help them up...with the negative and allow them to control that eccentric back down.

And I found, and still hold the position that that most men with a max set of five can control the eccentric descent of a sixth rep pretty well, but that the seventh rep is going to crash on them. Because they are fatigued and they're used up.

I put eighty-five on the bar for her. She...I knew this was going to be all she could do for a set of five. She did five reps, tried to give her the sixth, tried a sixth, I had to help her up with the sixth. I helped her with the concentric phase of thirteen more reps and she easily controlled the descent on all 13 of those reps. And I finally just got tired of standing there and I put the bar in the rack. She controlled 13 reps on the way down where a male could have done two. This is a direct effect a direct look into the neuromuscular efficiency of the reps that had preceded in that set of five. None of them were very hard whereas for him they would have been enough to completely fatigue the system so that two forced reps would be all he could have done.

So keep all these facts in mind. If you are training women, you have to understand the profound differences in physical capacity between men and women, you have to understand the effect that these variables play with respect to your programming for them for sets and reps, for rest times and for ultimate PRs and the way you're going to plan for new PRs and the way that all of training is is arranged. It is...these things are extremely important and it all goes back to the to the primary observation that men and women respond differently to physical stress and adapt differently to physical stress because they all have they have different baseline levels of neuromuscular efficiency and that that is not a function of current levels of testosterone, it's a function of in utero levels of testosterone.

So yes, the IOC is wrong. Yes, the NCAA is wrong. Yes, all of these bodies that are pandering to politicians and activists are wrong. Some things are just the way they are. The sun comes up in the East, not the West, not even the Northeast. It comes up in the East, depending on your latitude. of course. And you must. You are responsible for all of this stuff because the facts are the facts and playing games with yourself and lying to yourself and lying to other people is not productive.

So that's podcast number two. Hope you got something out of it. We're planning on these every week and we would like for you to join us. Look at the links below. There's an audio download. You can listen to this in the car, you can watch it here. And as always, if you've got any suggestions for questions you'd like addressed. And I'm not talking about "Ask Rip" questions, I'm talking about real questions not like my movies, you know, favorite color and shit like that, but actual questions. Turn them in to us and we'll eventually get around to it. Thanks for watching this. We'll see you next time.

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Mark Rippetoe, author of Starting Strength, goes in depth on the differences between men and women in terms of neuromuscular efficiency and its effect on sports performance and training for women.

  • 00:00 - Welcome
  • 02:50 - A review of new items related to last week's podcast
    • 08:32 - Peering into The Literature
    • 13:57 - Some notes on fair competition
  • 28:08 - Neuromuscular efficiency
  • 38:46 - Programming and coaching men vs women

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