Daily Archives: May 5, 2014

Sex differences in athletics

I seldom if ever talk about sex differences in athletic performance on this blog. In large part this is because I know little about them, besides the obvious things, but aside from this, I have long assumed the differences are minimal. Also, since I’m a man, and to the best of my knowledge, have always been a man, I speak from the perspective of a male athlete. Still, I think about 99% of what I post on this blog is relevant to both sexes.

So just recently I stumbled upon this study from January of this year – Female recreational athletes demonstrate different knee biomechanics from male counterparts during jumping rope and turning activities:

Peak knee anterior force was greater in female recreational athletes than in their male counterparts during jumping rope, side-to-forward running, inside turning, and outside turning. Female subjects displayed greater peak knee abduction angles and greater peak knee flexion moments while jumping rope compared to their male counterparts. There were no significant differences between the sexes in knee kinematics and kinetics in the frontal and transverse planes during running and turning motions.
Female recreational athletes exhibited significantly different knee biomechanics compared with male counterparts during jumping rope and turning motions.

This is intriguing. I wonder how much of this has to do with the fact that women generally have wider hips? The above study lead to this –
Gender differences in lower extremity mechanics during running:

Female recreational runners exhibit significantly different lower extremity mechanics in the frontal and transverse planes at the hip and knee during running compared to male recreational runners.
Understanding the differences in running mechanics between male and female runners may lend insight into the etiology of different injury patterns seen between genders. In addition, these results suggest that care should be taken to account for gender when studying groups of male and female recreational runners.

Again differences were found, and they may explain different injury patterns between the sexes. I really have no insights or information to offer here since I have no qualifications in this area. These studies may be garbage for all I know, though I doubt there is some kind of sexist intent. Besides this, I find some parts of these studies difficult to understand, but still, I am fascinated. It makes me wonder though, assuming these differences are for real, how many personal trainers, coaches, and athletes are aware of these differences?