The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance

Category: Exercise & Fitness
Author: David Epstein
This Month Reddit 2


by sbaker93   2019-07-21

There has been some quality scientific literature on this. The Sport's Gene is where I first saw this issue raised. Epstein does a great job of synthesizing the scientific findings with anecdotal sports references. Apparently it's a huge advantage. It's not just hormonal differences. There's differences in bone density, differences in height, bone structure, hip function, fat to muscle ratio just to name a few, which translate to huge advantages in endurance and strength across a variety of sports. I cannot recall any sport where it was advantageous to be a women over a man, but it's been a few years since I read the book and the trans/man/woman comparison wasn't a major portion of the book.

E: Found a list online of the characteristics Epstein discussed if anyone is curious.

Among the key physical differences between the sexes. Men are / possess

  • heavier and taller

  • longer arms and legs relative to their height

  • biggest hearts and lungs, thus able to absorb and process more oxygen

  • twice as likely to be left-handed (high physical combat societies have more numbers of lefties – this arose due to natural selection as lefties have an advantage in combat)

  • less fat

  • denser bones, and a heavier skeleton that can support more muscle

  • more oxygen-carrying red blood cells

  • narrower hips which makes running more efficient and decreases the chances of ACL tears (epidemic in female athletes) while running and jumping

  • 80% more muscle mass in upper body and 50% more in lower body

by corylew   2019-07-21

If you have more patience than prejudice, check out the book The Sports Gene which very comprehensively looks at trans athletes, their constantly changing DNA expression (it should be said that the expression of everyone's DNA is constantly changing) and pretty conclusively shows that a trans athlete after conversion has the exactly same hormonal, energy system and skeletal muscle systems as CIS athletes.