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Tired of doing modified press-ups while men tackle the full exercise? Here’s how to take on the real deal!

You’re lean. You’re strong. You’re in the shape of your life. So how come that bloke just did more pull-ups than you? Relax. Scientific studies show that even fit women struggle to do some exercises. It’s time to hone your technique, build strength and get even (or a little bit better at least!).

Sprint to success

Typically, the first runner home in a short-distance race will be male. This is because men naturally have more power and muscle mass, plus higher levels of hemoglobin (the substance that carries oxygen around the body), than women. However, a study in the journal Nature looked at Olympic 100m results over the past century and discovered that women are speeding up. In fact, women may out-sprint men within the next 150 years!

Skill booster: Do lots of plyometric exercises (explosive jumping movements) to boost your leg power.

Typically, the first runner home in a short-distance race will be male.

Typically, the first runner home in a short-distance race will be male.

Throw like a boy

As much as the expression gets on our nerves, science suggests that women are inclined to throw ‘like a girl’. According to data from the University of North Texas, women fall short of men in two key skills throwing velocity and distance. Studies of overhand ball throwing found that pre-teen girls throw 51-69 per cent of the distance that boys do. By the age of 14-18, girls throw just 39 per cent as far as the lads. Do ‘you throw like a girl!’ taunts stop us playing ball at an early age? Perhaps, but experts also claim that guys with their wider shoulders and greater muscle mass – are built to throw well.

Skill booster: Don’t turn your hips and shoulders in unison. Step into the throw with the opposite leg to the arm you throw with, rotate (hips first, then shoulders) and fling the ball, putting your whole body into it.

Impress with press-up

You know the drill – men do press-ups in the prone position, while women push up from the knees. But will our arms really buckle under the pressure of our own body weight? If a study by researchers at East Carolina University is anything to go by, the answer may be yes. Researchers discovered that three quarters of girls, compared to half of the boys, failed to pass a push-up test. In fact, to pass the RAF fitness test, a 30-year old woman only need do nine press-ups, while men must do 19! Why? Women naturally have a higher body fat percentage, less lean muscle mass and less strength per unit of body weight than men.

Skill booster: Do a mix of knee and full push-ups until you can do complete sets of the full variation.

Do a mix of knee and full push-ups until you can do complete sets of the full variation.

Do a mix of knee and full push-ups until you can do complete sets of the full variation.

Pull off pull-ups

Data confirms what we suspected women fare worse in pull-up tests! The University of Dayton recently put 17 women on a three-day-per-week training program for three months, focusing on exercises that strengthen muscles used during a pull-up. Despite a 36 per cent increase in upper-body strength, only four of the 17 women could do a single pull-up! Critics argue that, while upper body strength helps pull-up pros, the best form of training is to do the exercise itself.

Skill booster: The pull-up is a total-body move, so practice activating your core – abs, back and glutes – plus your arms, to pull up.

Zap that fat

When it comes to losing weight through aerobic exercise, the odds are stacked against us. In fact, a recent study says women have to do nearly 20 per cent more exercise to reap the same weight-loss benefits as men! Researchers at the University of Missouri put obese men and women on the same cardio plan and discovered that the guys shed more weight than the girls. It may be because men naturally have greater muscle mass, meaning they burn more calories while exercising.

Skill booster: Lift weights to increase your muscle mass; and up your exercise intensity, so you burn more calories faster.

When it comes to losing weight through aerobic exercise, the odds are stacked against us.

When it comes to losing weight through aerobic exercise, the odds are stacked against us

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