Do Women Have Less Strength Then Men?
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Do Women Have Less Strength Then Men?
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HJ Hornbeck
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Methodology:Straight-up, men can clearly lift more than women; the current World records in weightlifting are 263kg and 187kg, respectively, for a sex ratio of 71%. No surprise there, as men are generally taller, and thus have longer arms and more leverage. A more interesting statistic is the sex ratio when adjusted for arm length. I don't have those numbers, but I have a reasonable proxy in weight. Assuming the record-setter in each category is right at the maximum weight allowed, we can proportion the weight lifted by the weight of the athlete. However, women typically carry more body fat then men, and fat only adds weight, not power. Unfortunately, the IWF rules do not adjust for body fat; instead, I've taken a cue from the NCAA's wrestling rules and assumed male lifters carry 5% body fat while women carry 13%. I've calculated both statistics, as “weight prop.” and “weight adj.” respectively. I also analyzed the same data with real-world measurements of fat-free mass from “The relationship between body composition and anaerobic performance of elite young wrestlers,” by Vardar et al (2007). Record data is taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_world_records_in_Olympic_weightlifting as of August 5th, 2012.
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weight prop.snatch ratioclean r.total r.rawsnatch ratioclean r.total r.
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Men0.8290.8400.8300.7100.7200.711
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Max Weightsnatchclean/jerktotal0.7880.8420.8230.6730.7200.703
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561381683050.8000.8510.8360.6730.7160.703
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621531823270.8170.8320.8290.6690.6810.678
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691651973570.8430.8930.8940.6840.7250.726
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771752103790.9000.8770.8880.7180.7000.708
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85187218394allsnatch/cleanallsnatch/clean
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94188233418mean0.8290.8560.8500.8450.843mean0.6880.7100.7050.7010.699
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105200238436median0.8230.8470.8330.8380.841median0.6790.7180.7060.7060.705
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stddev0.03980.02370.03200.03270.0342stddev0.02120.01680.01560.01950.0216
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Women
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4898121217weight adj.snatch ratioclean r.total r.weight adj.snatch ratioclean r.total r.
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531031312300.8940.9070.8960.9180.9310.920
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58111141251Men %FFM0.8500.9090.888Men %FFM0.8730.9330.912
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631171432570.950.8640.9190.9030.9030.8870.9430.927
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69128158286Women %FFM0.8820.8980.895Women %FFM0.9050.9220.918
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751351632960.880.9100.9640.9650.8150.9340.9890.991
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0.9720.9470.9580.9970.9710.983
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allsnatch/cleanallsnatch/clean
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mean0.8950.9240.9180.9120.910mean0.9190.9480.9420.9360.934
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median0.8880.9140.9000.9050.908median0.9120.9380.9230.9290.932
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stddev0.04300.02560.03460.03530.0369stddev0.04410.02630.03550.03620.0379
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Historic (pre-1998)
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weight prop.snatch ratioclean r.total r.
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Men0.7220.7720.749
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Max Weightsnatchclean/jerktotal0.7420.7670.758
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54132.5160.52900.7390.7430.734
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59140170307.50.7280.7590.730
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64150187.53350.7510.7480.749
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70163195.5357.50.6950.7230.710
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76170208372.50.6860.7360.718
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83180214392.50.7280.7260.738
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91187.5228.5412.5allsnatch/clean
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99192.5235420mean0.7240.7470.7360.7350.735
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108200236.5435.5median0.7280.7450.7360.7370.738
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stddev0.02250.01810.01630.02060.0230
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Women
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4681.5105.5185weight adj.snatch ratioclean r.total r.weight adj.snatch ratioclean r.total r.
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5088110.5197.50.7800.8330.8080.8000.8550.830
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5493.5117.5207.5Men %FFM0.8010.8280.818Men %FFM0.8220.8500.840
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591001252200.950.7980.8020.7930.9030.8190.8230.813
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64107.5131235Women %FFM0.7860.8190.788Women %FFM0.8060.8410.809
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70105.5130.52350.880.8110.8070.8090.8150.8320.8290.830
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76107.5140.5247.50.7500.7810.7660.7700.8010.787
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83117.51432600.7410.7950.7760.7610.8160.796
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0.7860.7840.7970.8070.8040.818
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allsnatch/cleanallsnatch/clean
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mean0.7810.8090.7940.7950.795mean0.8010.8310.8150.8160.816
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median0.7860.8070.7930.7980.799median0.8060.8290.8130.8190.820
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stddev0.02620.01870.01890.02370.0264stddev0.02680.01920.01940.02430.0271
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Methodology:Women have historically been discouraged from competitive sport, which greatly impacted their training regimen and thus record scores. Women's Olympic weightlifting, for instance, was only introduced in 2000! One way to check if these ratios accurately reflect intrinsic strength is to look at how often records are broken; if women are playing catch-up, we'd expect them to break records faster then men, and thus their records would stand for shorter lengths of time on average. So for each post-1997 weight class and category, the year that record was last set was subtracted from the current year. The standard measures of central tendency were then performed, plus a chi-squared test. As the “total” category mixes two different lifts, a second analysis was done without this category. Data is taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_world_records_in_Olympic_weightlifting as of August 5th, 2012.
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Men LastWomen LastCurrent YearMen lengthWomen lengthMen meanMen median
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2001200620121166.8579.000
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2001201020121126.8579.000
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2000200620121266.8579.000
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2002201020121026.8579.000
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2002201220121006.8579.000
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201220102012026.8579.000
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2000200620121266.8579.000
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200320072012956.8579.000
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1999200620121366.8579.000
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201220112012016.8579.000
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2001201020121126.8579.000
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201220072012056.8579.000
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200720082012546.8579.000
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1998200820121446.8579.000
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200820082012446.8579.000
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1999201120121316.8579.000
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201220112012016.8579.000
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201220112012016.8579.000
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200820112012416.8579.000
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201120092012136.8579.000
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200820112012416.8579.000
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20112012
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20042012
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20002012
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Mean6.8573.000
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Median9.0002.000
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Max14.0006.000
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Std Dev5.2562.049
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Count2121
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Chi-SquaredMean0.00154%
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