Females Who Can Grind
By: Sabrina Schutter, Owner Catalyst Training Center
Women are able to sustain isometric contractions for a longer period of time than men at submaximal intensities, meaning their muscles are more resistant to fatigue (Cathe.com, 2011). What does this have to do with your training you may ask? Well, it is a good way to know what your assistance exercises should look like. As very clearly spelled out in the 10/20/Life book, speed work is not for everyone. In fact in many scenarios, it isn’t necessary at all. In most cases, the people that I work with day in and day out, they don’t need speed work, they need FORM work. If form work isn’t mastered (one of the 5 key principles of 10/20/Life) then moving a weight as fast as possible will serve no purpose. (buy the 10/20/Life 2nd Edition here: https://captainjacked.com/product/1020life-2nd-edition/).
In a study titled “Men Are More Fatigable Than Strength-Matched Women When Performing Intermittent Submaximal Contractions,” the participants were put to the test using heart rate, MAP (mean arterial pressure), RPE (rate of perceived exertion), percent decline in MVC (maximal voluntary contraction) torque, force under the elbow joint, and standard deviation of torque in the vertical and side-to-side directions in an attempt to show that men are more fatigable than strength-matched women when performing intermittent submaximal contractions. The time to task failure was longer for women compared with the men, despite both sexes achieving a similar target torque. The rates of increase in MAP, heart rate, and RPE were less for the women compared with the strength-matched men, but they had similar values at task failure (Hunter, 2004).
What this study does in our case of being able to pick appropriate assistance work, is to notice that in most cases, along with regular observances over the past 7 years of coaching, women are in fact GRINDERS. Women tend to be great at reps, can handle high volumes of assistance work, typically are hypermobile, and have higher endurance. These factors put them all in the category of benefitting from doing speed work.
Again, I reiterate, speed work is not done in conjunction or in place of form work. Form work is 50-60% of the lifters max and is done typically on a deload week. Speed work on the contrary may be 50% bar weight (no more) and sometimes up to 20% band or chain tension is added, but with 100% explosive effort. Speed work is not recovery or rehab and if form is not mastered, it is not beneficial. Speed work is also not done instead of your main lift work. It can be used as an accessory tool after your primary lifting is done, or can be used on a fluff and buff day. It isn’t smart to do a speed day every week though, for the same reasons that we need to have deload weeks, the body can and will get beat up and fatigued from doing too much of it, make sure to deload.
Speed work can be a great tool to teach the brain and body to move the bar faster and more explosively, and if used correctly with the type of lifter that is typically a grinder, it can have some serious benefits. When starting a cycle that includes speed work, don’t go straight for the heaviest band possible. Instead consider starting with around 40-50% of your max and with a light band only. You can always work your way up from there, but the important thing to remember, if it isn’t moving fast, it’s too much weight or tension. Females, you can grind those weights out all day, but remember, Force = Mass x Acceleration, the faster you move the weight, the more weight you can move.
Do Women Have Greater Muscle Endurance Than Men? (2011, September 05). Retrieved November 29, 2017, from https://cathe.com/do-women-have-greater-muscle-endurance-than-men/
Hunter, S. K. (2004). Men are more fatigable than strength-matched women when performing intermittent submaximal contractions. Journal of Applied Physiology, 96(6), 2125-2132. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.01342.2003