Here it is, I’m going to say it – women CAN and SHOULD lift weights. And in most cases there is no reason women can’t do the same exercises as men!
Aesthetically speaking, men and women might have varying goals, but they can actually be achieved with the same programming. Men often want to be jacked or built, and many women want to be toned and shapely. The thing is, you can’t have sexy or shapely anything without building muscle!
“But won’t I get big?” I hear A LOT! The truth is, women just don’t have the hormonal support to gain muscle mass like men. The hormone testosterone is responsible for large increases in muscle mass and women’s testosterone levels are a fraction of men’s. That means you can bench press without concerning yourself about how much chest hair you might grow!
There are some women, typically professional bodybuilders in figure and physique categories who some might think look ‘big’. It takes many, many years of dedication to specific training and nutrition to achieve this sort of muscularity. Unless you have goals of becoming the next star in female bodybuilding, you don’t ever need to worry about ‘getting too big’.
You’re right about one thing, though: training with weights will increase your lean muscle mass. That’s a good thing! The more muscle you have, the more calories your body will burn. The more calories you burn, the leaner you’ll get. Increased muscle mass will also add shape to your arms, take inches from your tummy, and even add some roundness to your booty! When women’s magazines talk about “tone,” they’re really talking about strong, lean muscles. Yes, we might tailor a program to specifically enhance certain muscles and typically men want different aesthetics to women but the bottom line is – there’s no single exercise specific to a male or a female.
You don’t need to be a fitness competitor or powerlifter to want to be stronger in every day life. Lifting is for everyone in the general population and is scalable, even for beginners who are coming straight from the couch!
So ladies, don’t be scared to get in there and lift some big weights – you might just surprise yourself!