Women have come forward leaps and bounds when it comes to including strength training into their fitness routines. We’re seeing more and more women in the weight room, getting under the squat rack, in CrossFit gyms, and with dumbbells even in the comfort of their own home. And yet, despite this incredible move towards weight training becoming more common for women, there is still an untold number of them who are hesitant when it comes to adding strength training to their fitness regimes. The most common argument is, of course, that they don’t want to get too bulky. So what’s the deal? Is weight training for women just a recipe for overdeveloped, manly-looking muscles, or is muscle building not something to be feared after all?
Why Women Need to Embrace Growing Muscle Mass
I’m just gonna shoot this one down real quick: strength training will in no way, shape or form turn you into a bulky, muscular bodybuilder. Even if that was your goal, it is a seriously difficult one to achieve. For starters, women have about 10x less testosterone than men do, meaning they’re just not hormonally set up to build the kind of muscle mass that men can. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here are the reasons that muscle building for women isn’t something to be feared, but rather something to strive for!
You’ll Achieve that ‘Toned’ Look
This isn’t the time or place to get into the argument that ‘toned’ isn’t a thing. For many of us, it’s simply the term that is used to describe a certain look - a long, lean, sleek, defined look. The good news is that that look is achieved by growing muscle mass in combination with shedding some body fat to reveal that muscle. It's a winning combination that weight training plus a focus on good nutrition can provide.
You’ll Avoid Injury
It’s not all about looks, after all, as a functional body is a healthy one. By including weight training and striving for muscle building in your fitness practice, you can both relieve as well as prevent back, knee and shoulder pain. You’ll strengthen your core (which is important for so much more than just revealing those abdominals hiding underneath) as well as improve your posture, your bone health, and more.
You’ll Feel Strong and Capable
This is arguably the best reason on this list, which is why I’ve saved it for last. Though women may start with strength training to change their physical appearance, it is more often than not the psychological and emotional benefits that keep them coming back for more. There is something about weight training that leaves you feeling not only physically capable but confident and empowered too.
The verdict is in: women do not need to fear muscle gains from strength training. Building muscle is a goal every woman should aim for, not simply for the benefits of a well-defined physique, but also for the mental and emotional benefits that strength training can add to everyday life.
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