Categories: Strength.

Women tend to avoid using heavy weights to prevent bulking up and looking like a bodybuilder. You tend to hear sayings like my legs get really big with weight training or I get really broad in my shoulders.

But what the majority of women don’t understand is they are missing out on amazing results from lifting heavy weights;

  • Improved energy
  • Improved quality of sleep
  • Increase sex drive
  • Builds bones
  • Enhance brain function
  • Stress dissipation
  • Increase speed
  • Improve metabolism
  • Build Lean Muscle
  • Fat loss

However there are gender differences in response to training. Below are points which go into detail;

Women and men have equal strength potential.

Women have the same strength and muscle gain potential as men (relative to muscle mass) reinforces the benefit of using the same training principles as men: Favor multijoint, ground-based lifts and use traditional strength (intensification), hypertrophy (accumulation), and power set-rep schemes to enhance performance and improve body composition.

Hormones play a role in developing strength in women

Women and men, baseline testosterone levels are an important indicator of the trainability of an individual. A woman who is closer to the upper limit of her testosterone threshold may have an advantage over other women in developing strength.

Men and women recover differently from strength training

Trained women don’t need as much rest between sets as men to attain a certain volume load, a difference that should be considered when programming workouts. In addition, pairing agonist/antagonist exercises with short rest periods can reduce fatigue and maximize volume load.

Women respond differently to high-intensity training compared to men.

For HIT training with work intervals of 1 minute or longer, a 2:1 work-to-rest ratio provides adequate recovery for both sexes. Women will tend to produce slightly higher cardiovascular strain and perception of effort than men over the course of the workout, but this does not require longer recovery times.

Women favor burning fat during exercise but favor using glucose (carbs) for energy at rest compared to men.

If you are a woman who wants to lose body fat, you must exercise to improve your body’s ability to use fat for energy.
Women respond differently from men to weight loss diets and to training programs geared at fat loss.
Do anaerobic-style training regularly with a progressive strength training program. Perform intervals for additional fat loss and be as active as possible throughout the day. Make stress reduction a priority! Be cautious with calorie restriction because restricting calories too much can lead to high cortisol production and inhibit fat loss.
Women naturally have different body compositions from men, which influences fat and muscle percentages
Lift weights to increase muscle mass for a higher metabolism if you want to lose fat. Factors that reduce or eliminate the benefit of training include using loads that are too light, not increasing the weight progressively, and using weight training machines exclusively.
What Women Must Avoid

Try avoiding the class environment where you do thousands of reps at a light weight, which produce less fat burning hormones where you do the same exercises week in week out and eventually adapt to the stimulus and burn less fat, less calories per session while increasing the stress hormone cortisol resulting in fatigue and muscle breakdown.

Girls lift heavy to burn fat, you may find that you look like your bulking up at first but you are actually building muscle under that layer of fat, but keep going and that fat will reduce rather than going back to your long duration cardio or studio class. Eventually the fat will reduce and as it takes up more space than muscle you will lose inches while increasing muscle. Side affects being you burn more calories at rest, making it harder to store fat in the long term.

By James Morris



Poliquin Group™ Editorial Staff. (2013). Eleven Amazing Tips To Get The Most Out Of Training Women. Available: Last accessed 1st Jul 2014.

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