Should Women Train Differently?

We get asked so many times about this topic, or you’ll often find that women think they have to train differently in order to avoid ‘bulking’ up. It’s worth saying straight off the bat that there’s no reason at all to be training any differently based on gender, the only real difference is hormonal and biological. Here we go over a few other things around this topic.

Will lift in weights make women bulky?

As mentioned in the intro, this is really a hormonal thing. Women simply don’t have as much testosterone floating around in their bodies in order to build muscle as easily as men can. ‘Bulking’ is also a word that simply means to ‘add mass’ to your frame, which usually comes from eating in a calorie surplus (eating more calories than you burn off daily, resulting in weight gain). So don’t fear the weights, they’ll make you stronger, leaner and show more muscle tone.

Can women get stronger than men?

Some studies have shown that women may actually increase their strength more than men when compared to their starting points. Research stated that women gained strength 27% faster than previously untrained men, on average, however men generally start out stronger, due to carrying more muscle mass biologically. Yet more reason to keep weights in your routine and train just the same.

Exercise selection?

Again, there’s no real reason to have any different approaches to any given workout. The only thing you may find is that women sometimes have different areas they like to work on compared to men. You may find that women want to work their glutes, shoulders, abs and thighs to create a curvy-strong appearance, while men may opt for chest and arms (usually the vanity muscles). So yes, if you have specific goals there may be differences in exercise selection, or exercises such as bench press you may find that men are generally stronger due to have more chest muscle, but all exercises work just as well for any gender and shouldn’t be avoided.

Recovery time?

It is well hypothesised that because women have higher levels of estrogen, which is anti-catabolic (stops break down of muscle tissue), women are protected against as much muscle damage as men. The difference in the lower amounts of muscle mass and the anti-catabolic effect of oestrogen also means that woman can recover from sets quicker than men as their isn’t as much damage. This means women can have shorter rest periods and slightly higher training intensity (more exercises/set etc per workout ).

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