Update 9/5/20. In this review, I will cover what I feel are the top 3 of the most common myths that have to do with women and lifting weights. These words need to be said because in spite of a deluge of information these days – on TV, the internet etc – many women still believe these myths. Please pass this along to any women you know who are on the fence about whether they should start a strength training program.
Lifting weights gives women big, bulky muscles.
Not true. The major difference in a woman’s body compared to a man’s body is the testosterone level that men have. Women don’t have the number of hormones necessary to build huge muscles.
Every woman has different levels of testosterone and estrogen in their bodies. Most female bodybuilders unfortunately use anabolic steroids amongst other drugs in order to attain that look of muscularity.
Women have a higher percentage of body fat than do men. The higher the percentage of body fat, the lower the percentage of muscle mass.
This extra body fat also tends to soften or mask the effects of strength training. Women who possess very little body fat appear to be more muscular than they actually are because their muscles are more visible.
Likewise, the appearance of more muscle mass may not be the result of muscular hypertrophy. Rather, a decrease in body fat may simply make the same amount of muscle mass become more noticeable.” (Brzycki, M. The Female Athlete, 2004 p. 155)
If I stop strength training, muscle turns to fat
False. Muscle and fat are two different types of tissues. Muscle does not turn into fat. If you stop resistance training and have bad eating habits you’ll lose muscle mass and the food you consume will get stored as body fat. Basically, muscle is being lost and fat is being accumulated. If you’re consistent with your training and have good eating habits, this will not happen.
Should women train the same way a man does?
Yes. A muscle is a muscle. There are no differences in the makeup between the muscles of a man or a woman. They look the same. Men have a higher testosterone level than women, giving them greater muscle mass. The better you train with the correct form, the better results you’ll get. Strength train, cardio, nutrition, and rest are a big part of how one looks.
Genetics plays a major part in how you look as well. Whatever muscle type you have, slow-twitch, fast-twitch you can’t change. That goes along as the length of your muscle belly. What you can do is make those muscle fibers fire more efficiently by training properly.
By training properly for our goals you can change the width of the muscle belly and get it stronger. You cannot change the length of it.
All women should do some type of strength training to increase their muscle mass, bone density, strengthen tendons, and ligament around the joints to name just a few benefits.
It’s a proven fact that if you strength-trains properly on a consistent base you will change your body composition. Muscle is denser than fat more than fat, so don’t be too concerned about how much you weigh. A muscle uses more energy (calories) than body fat.
If you can fit into a pair of slacks that were to tight on you, you know you did something right.
These myths have been around for a long time, but more and more females are strength training. Look at our female athletes, celebrities, singers now. There are more opportunities out there for young women to get scholarships by participating in sports. Continue to strength train. You will see and feel the difference in how you look.
Joe Karszen, B.S., M.S.I have been strength training people from the ages of 14yrs. to 72yrs. old for over twelve years. I owned a one on one training facility on Long Island, New York (The Quality Repetition) for six years. I have done strength training camps and have given seminars on numerous topics regarding strength and conditioning. You can contact me at my web site www.wetrainu.net and ask me any further questions.