Originally Posted by David Meverden
I'd be curious to see 5 or 10RM numbers, but I'm sure men would still be stronger, just perhaps by a smaller margin.
Not a direct study of this, but I have experience with weight training women that I believe is applicable to this specific component of the topic...
IN GENERAL, the same scaling factors for calculating 1RM based on multi-rep maxes, i.e. 5RM of XXlbs projects a 1RM of YYlbs, apply to both women and men. In other words, women's 5RM is the same % of their 1RM as a man's 5RM is of their 1RM (5RM typically about 86% of 1RM).
To me, this speaks to a marked similarity between maximal strength and endurant strength of women and men. So directly to the question of comparing multi-rep strength of men and women instead of 1RM, it hasn't been my experience that a woman would have a significantly higher 5RM compared to their 1RM than a man would, not even a notably higher proportionality. Some people are 86%, some are 90%, some are 84%, but I haven't experienced that women lifters are higher than men.
And again, my experience in competing against, coaching, training with, etc even high level women over the last 15yrs, the body mass factor just wouldn't work. Specific examples: I wrestled in high school against a 189lb female state qualifier (I went to state at 189 that year weighing around 173lbs). I spent 2013 assisting the training a national level youth Judoka, 160lb 16yr old girl, one of the strongest female fighters I've ever competed with. I also have the pleasure of training regularly with the 2013 IBJJF female Absolute (no weight classes) World Champion - whose husband happened to be the 2012 world champ. Whether it's a big right hand or an armbar, it hasn't been my experience that even grossly heavier female fighters have the same fighting strength remotely proportionate to their lean body mass.
What I think is encouraging, however, for women's combative sports, is that people ask these questions. I can't think of any other sport in which fans have a curiosity about whether it'd be possible. There's no dissention in opinion about who would win between the WNBA national champs and the men's NBA national champs, it'd be a bloodbath. The gap between men and women's counterparts for many sports is so big that the women's competitions hardly qualify as entertaining to fans. Women's combative sports can be every bit as entertaining as the men's, not even incorporating the boorish bias of the sex appeal of women fighters. While it's a shame there aren't nearly as many high level women's fighters around of there as there are of men, but I think that will change in the next few years now that we have adoption of women into the UFC. But high level match ups between women's fighters are as technically impressive and competitively entertaining as any of the high level men's matches, which says a lot for women's combatives competition.