Women’s bodies are different to mens, so

why think our exercise should be the same?

I teach men exercise but I mainly train women and

can tell you that traditional moves, teaching points

and exercise testing have to be adjusted constantly


hint – most exercise moves were invented by men


Here are some of the top differences:



A traditional press up test is to bring your chest to

a tennis ball and back up again. There are some clients

who would swallow the tennis ball up and bring it back

up with them!


I could say, bring your chest to the floor but that’s not

fair on the flatter chested clients, so I look for arm

movement instead (do shoulders align with elbows)


An upright row? You lift a bar up your front, keeping

elbows high but if you have boobs you need to curve the

bar to get it passed them…


Exercise lying on your front? Running or jogging? Boobs

don’t just get in the way, they can make exercise

uncomfortable and, or impossible



Women have much wider hips than men, so our feet

placement is different, our feet are going to be wider

depending on our hip width


Alignment and balance changes, think of lunges, split

squats or when running. Stress is increased in the joints,

mainly the knees but with good technique, applied to

your body, shape and size (not the person next to you)

this can be minimised


Shorter legs and smaller hands

I’m thinking of the Double kettlebells Swing here. At

the higher weights, it’s impossible to get them through

your legs, even with a wide stance. So we don’t do them


Smaller hands make it difficult to hold barbell or

kettlebell handles, along with chin up bars. Usually we

can do the exercise, it’s just not as comfortable



Men are stronger and made for lifting, women are

softer bodied and designed for pregnancy (and

pushing the baby out, then feeding it)


That’s biology and fact but doesn’t mean women can’t

be stronger and fitter, some may even be more so than

men. It’s just ok not to train exactly like men do



Women don’t have enough testosterone to make your

muscles bigger but we can make them stronger and



However we do have female hormones that can wreck

our fat loss/gain


A lack of oestrogen during menopause can lead to weight

gain. High levels of progesterone causes PMS – sore boobs,

bloating, moods and period pain  and HCG makes you feel

sick through pregnancy, brilliant!


Body fat

Women have loads more body fat than men, so we can

feed an embryo through a 9 month period of starvation,

like an apocalyptic event


Even if we have extra fat to lose, the body can be

stubborn in letting it go. Also if you want ultra definition

of your muscles? You will probably have to go to a lower

fat % than you should i.e.unhealthy and very hard to



Those girls on Instagram that look all ‘toned’ won’t look

like that every day of the year for years on end. That’s

why they took a photo!


Ok, so that’s six I thought of, there will be more but the

point is, you need to think as a woman when you train

and not as a man


They don’t know what suffocation by boobs feels like

when doing a shoulder stand…


At the same time, consistency, effort and doing exercise

should still be high on your list, there are too many

benefits to be had




p.s. I have a yoga workshop on the 13th this month

you can read more about it HERE


Carolyne is the owner of Fit Strong Females with a Studio in Glasgow City Centre and an Online Membership Site, with 18 years experience. She is also a Fitness, Success and Food Blogger, Author and Writer. You can contact her at carolyne@fitstrongfemales.com or find more information at fitstrongfemales.com 

    2 replies to "6 ways women’s and men’s exercise are different"

    • Tola Saka

      Thanks for this blog Carolyne, it’s given me a boost just when I need it, given me some insight into why loosing weight and toning up may be a struggle. Will definitely keep up with it. Tola x

      • Carolyne

        Thanks Tola, keep it up, you’re doing great xx

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