Originally Posted by CTKook
You are not accounting for testosterone in all its effects.
Originally Posted by cantunamunch
Yes, it is a super power. It means that men with equally sized muscles can train harder and then train harder *again* the next day. And the day after that.
Originally Posted by CTKook
T does have benefits beyond muscle growth. Known fact, in the real world. A male 5'10 165 pound WC skier is simply going to have more of the things that matter for that type of sport -- strength, but also other things -- than a female skier the same height and weight.
OK, gentlemen, here's the, ah, "real world" : Plasma testosterone/unit blood is 5-8 times greater in males than in females. However, it's highly variable in males over each day and from week to week or month to month. It is impacted by health and nutritional status, age, the amount of sleep you get, and even social outcomes (males who gain dominance temporarily reduce the testosterone level of those whom they dominate; this includes sports). Circulating differences in males within a normal range appear to have no significant impact on athletic outcomes, meaning that those with higher levels don't necessarily win. Female bodies are far more sensitive to testosterone than males'; it's produced in small amounts by the female ovaries, and in physiologically more significant amounts by metabolized DHEA and DHEAS made in female adrenal glands. Most of the same variables that impact male levels appear to affect natural androgen levels in females, although the effect of dominance and submission may be less.
What's most relevant to this thread are three points. First, the testosterone in males and females is chemically identical, and its chemical and physiological effects on muscle cells are identical. Just as male and female muscle cells are identical, and males and females with the same muscle cross section will have the same strength. Nothing magic about male testosterone. Second, testosterone does impact muscle cell mitosis, as well as cell repair and recovery, in connection with IGF-1 and HGH. So it may provide an advantage to recovery from repeated bouts of exercise. However, studies in NBA players show that as the total workload day to day increases, so does serum cortisol, which is an antagonist. There's a break point at which training intensity will slow down muscle recovery regardless of T level. It does not appear to impact aerobic respiratory endurance per se at the cellular or tissue level. A number of studies have indicated that it has a powerful placebo effect in males, such that they increase their intensity of training, and increase muscle mass, when given sugar pills said to be T. Studies of levels on human aggression are mixed, and mainly dependent on older animal models for theoretical support. "Roid rage" is poorly studied at best, and in any case does not involve naturally occuring levels of T. Third, recent research shows that exercise itself, especially power resistance forms like rapid repeated bursts of squats (think skiing a course here) induces a significant bump in female testosterone production. Thus an elite female athlete who is training unusually hard will (as long as she keeps her cortisol under control) produce quite a bit more testosterone naturally. This doesn't mean that Vonn will have as much testosterone as the average male against whom she might compete, but it does mean that she may have more than most females, including peer athletes, both through preselection and through her unusual training. She may also overlap with the lower end of the normal male distribution for T.
So let's get off the "super power" and mysterious "other effects," stop sounding so threatened, and just deal with reality. Vonn won't win. But she could easily beat some male W.C. athletes. As Bob Peters says, it'd be fun to see how many.