Gender differences in anaerobic power tests

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Summary

The purpose of this study was to determine if the differences in anaerobic power between males and females could be accounted for by differences in body composition, strength, and neuromuscular function. A total of 82 untrained men and 99 women took part in the study. Body composition, somatotype, isometric strength, neuromuscular function were measured, and four anaerobic power tests performed. The men were significantly different from the women on all strength, power, and neuromuscular measurements except reaction time and on all anthropometric and somatotype dimensions except ectomorphy. Strength and anthropometric dimensions were similarly related to anaerobic power values within each sex. Relative fat (%fat) exerted different degrees of influence on sprint and jump performances in each sex. Removing the influence of anthropometric, strength, and neuromuscular differences by analysis of covariance reduced, but did not remove, the significant differences between the sexes. Therefore, factors other than lean body mass, leg strength, and neuromuscular function may be operating in short-term, explosive power performances to account for the differences between the sexes. The task-specific nature of anaerobic power tests and the relatively large influence of anthropometric factors on power production were confirmed.