#1 Lifting Weights Will Make You Bulky
One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding females and strength training involves the notion that lifting weights will make them appear bulky.
Unless females take anabolic steroids or double their clean food intake, that simply won’t happen.
Hormones factor heavily in determining an individual’s size. Based on research, women naturally produce about only 5-7% as much testosterone as men.
That means men produce 14 to 20 times as much testosterone as women, so women won’t increase muscle mass at nearly the same rate unless they supplement with steroids or other performance enhancing drugs.
They can work at the same intensities as men and build lean, slender physiques like fitness models instead of massive bodybuilders. This is absolutely possible, but the bulk thing? Not so much.
If women want to build muscle while losing weight, they should focus on maintaining a negative energy balance and burning off more calories than they consume.
#2 If You Want To Tone Muscle, Lift Light Weight For High Reps
Women need much more than five-pound pink dumbbells to build the bodies they desire.
If you don’t think women should lift heavy weights, take a trip to your local grocery store to find women of all types hauling massive grocery bags and lifting children over their shoulders.
First off, “heavy” is a relative term. What’s heavy for a 110-pound female will be different than what’s heavy for a 200-pound male.
A certain level of stress must be placed on the body’s muscles and joints in order to create adaptations to allow for lean muscle growth.
It should be noted that women who use strictly high repetitions will develop sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, the build-up of non-contractile fluid in muscle cells. This type of training makes muscles appear puffy. Not exactly what you are shooting for, right ladies?
Most women probably prefer to build lean, dense muscle. In this case, they should use fewer reps to achieve myofibrillar hypertrophy, an actual increase in the size of the muscle fibers.
Sticking between six and 12 reps should be sufficient for optimal lean muscle development, assuming you’re working at a maximal level of intensity.
#3 You’ll Get Hurt If You Lift Weights
You may actually increase your chances of getting hurt if you don’t lift weights.
A lot of females possess great flexibility, but lack stability. Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are four to six times more likely to happen in women than men.
ACL injuries are more likely to occur in sports that involve jumping and changing of direction, so improving core stability and developing greater strength in the posterior chain can assist in reducing the possibility of injury.
While it’s important to have some level of flexibility, women who focus solely on stretching-based routines like yoga are short-changing themselves.
Yoga is certainly a wonderful practice, and many women who are already flexible are naturally attracted to it because it’s something with which they’re going to have success. On the other hand, men tend to stick to weight lifting because they’re stronger and have more muscle mass than women. Perhaps many of them would benefit from doing more yoga.
Women can certainly get hurt lifting weights. Men can too.
Attempting to squat or deadlift under heavy load without proper form is a recipe for disaster.
That’s why; if you’re not confident with your form, seek out a qualified professional to learn proper exercise technique. You can then make sure you’re performing the proper progression for each exercise and you’re focusing on quality movement and form and build a foundation of strength to work towards for the long term.
As long as all of the movements are being performed correctly, adding in some form of resistance training is highly beneficial for females from an injury prevention standpoint. Start slow, master your movement, and you will progress faster than you would have ever dreamed.
#4 You Need To Focus On Cardio To Get Lean
While there’s no question cardiovascular exercise can help you lose fat, you would be remiss to ignore strength training.
If you focus only on cardio, you’ll likely lose weight if you ensure your diet and recovery are also on point, but you’ll lose muscle if you don’t engage in resistance training.
Having more muscle speeds up your metabolism because it burns calories at a faster rate than fat. If you perform too much cardio, you can actually lose muscle. That is worth repeating, but I’ll save you the burden.
If improving body composition is your goal, it’s important to incorporate, if not prioritize weight training and other exercise methods that involve working at high intensities for shorter periods of time to place your body in an anabolic state.
Protein synthesis is elevated after bouts of strength training and can remain elevated for up to two full days following your workout
For strictly aesthetic-based goals, ladies should implement at least two or three strength-training workouts and a couple of high-intensity interval routines each week.
Good Luck and till next time!