BodyBuilding for HER!

Many women are concerned with how their bodies look. Dieting and weight obsession are very real parts of life for many women. Bodybuilding and women really fit together well when you think about it. Focusing on healthy weight gain and muscle fitness makes a woman look and feel a lot better.

Bodybuilding is a lot more than just dieting and lifting weights. Much of the advice given can be applied to both men and women. But women do need to change a few things when it comes to a workout plan that will work for them.

There aren’t any gender-specific workouts. Even science does not support the concept of different workouts for men and women. Yet most women avoid weight training exercises due to widespread misconception that it can be dangerous or will make them bulky. By doing so, they also miss out on numerous incredible health benefits offered by strength training exercises. In this article I will try to bust 5 common myths about weightlifting and why you don’t need to worry about them anymore.

Top 5 most common weight lifting myths for women:

  1. Women who lift weights will get big and bulky.

This is a classic myth that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. This myth has resulted in many women avoiding resistance training due to an irrational fear of becoming overly muscular. The reality is that women have the ability to lift a tremendous amount of weight, but do not increase lean muscle mass at the same rate as men.

Due to the physiology of the female body, compared to men women produce much less testosterone. That means that adding two days of resistance training to a weekly exercise regimen can increase lean muscle mass, but it won’t add pounds of “bulky” muscle. Strength training can cause women to produce more somatotropin (otherwise known as human growth hormone), but when you consider that growth hormone helps metabolize fat and is considered an important part of reducing the effects of the biological aging process, this is not a bad thing. [2]

2. Women can’t lose weight through lifting. Aerobic exercise is the most effective way to burn fat.

During low-intensity physical activity, fat is the primary macronutrient utilized to fuel muscle activity, so the idea of exercising in the “fat-burning” zone is based on science. But keep in mind that you’re in the so-called fat-burning zone right now while you’re reading this. Traditional aerobic exercise like running, cycling or using common health club machines can be effective for expending energy and the body will metabolize more fat for energy at lower intensities. However, exercising at a higher intensity or performing short, high-intensity work intervals can lead to a greater total amount of calories being expended during a workout.

The body burns 5 calories of energy for every liter of oxygen consumed. During most traditional aerobic training, the legs are the primary muscles being engaged. Performing a full-body, strength-training circuit with exercises for both the upper and lower body can involve a tremendous amount of muscle tissue, which results in more calories being burned during a workout. When more total calories are burned from strength training, a greater amount of calories are metabolized from fat when compared to only exercising in the “fat burning” zone. Aerobic training can be an efficient way to burn calories, but it often doesn’t provide enough stimulus to increase levels of lean muscle, which are metabolically more efficient because they burn calories even when the body is at rest. In addition, circuit training with heavy resistance can increase the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), which means your metabolism stays elevated for a period of time after exercise and you continue to burn calories hours after the end of your workout. [2]

3. A combination of light weights and high reps is the best way to “tone up”.

When starting out, it is imperative to begin lifting a light load in order to perfect your form and get a better understanding of how to manage resistance. However, progression is key in order to get the most out of your physique.

This is no different for women because it’s easy to stagnate on your progress without challenging yourself. It is all too common to hear about women who are afraid of lifting heavy weights and instead focus on “toning” their body using light weights. Heads up — there is no such thing as toning.

You can develop lean muscle mass and burn fat, but lifting light weights can only take you so far before you need to begin maximizing your efforts. Consistently lifting light weights builds up a tolerance while diminishing effects.

You also can’t spot-reduce fat in any one area from lifting weights. Weight loss comes as a cumulative result of a balanced diet and an effective workout program.

In order to increase strength, stamina, endurance and muscle mass, you’ll eventually need to drop those light weights and move on to the next set of weights to truly reap the rewards of your effort. This will also affect your daily life by increasing your body confidence, reducing stress and helping you feel more vibrant overall. [1]

4. Weightlifting for women is dangerous!

Strength training can only cause injury if your form is not correct or you are lifting more weight than what you are capable of. It has nothing to do with gender. Even men can suffer from muscle strain and fracture while lifting weight. Strength training can also reduce the risk of osteoporosis, which is a common bone-related problem in older women. [3]

5. Women who lift weights have a higher risk of bone and muscle deterioration.

Quite the contrary — exercise in older women is fundamentally crucial.

It goes without saying that the older you get, the more at risk you are to bone and muscle deterioration, reduced flexibility and a slower metabolism. Frequent exercise, especially weightlifting, can help slow down the aging process and keep your body in top shape.

By incorporating a strength-training program as part of your lifestyle, not only are you able to build muscle effectively, but you’re also better able to increase the strength of your joints and tendons. Overall, lifting weights can help improve the quality of your day-to-day life and can reduce the likelihood of preventable injuries and falls in old age. [1]

So, how can women start bodybuilding?

Since women cannot naturally produce the amount of testosterone that men do, it is impossible for women to increase their muscle size in the same ways that men do just by picking up a weight or two. Without artificial substances, women won’t be able to get the same bulk as men do.

However, many of the same workout advice that we give to men apply to women as well: eat 5–6 small meals per day, drink plenty of water, and get lots of rest. The workouts are the same as well although some women may want to limit their reps initially until their strength is built up.

Many women struggle with excess fat and flabby muscle tone on their thighs and in their buttocks. Because women are naturally curvier than men, working these areas makes for a very flattering figure.

To work these areas, you will want to do a lot of dumbbell deadlifts, barbell squats, leg curls, standing calf raises, and leg presses. Add some lunges as well as barbell squats and dumbbell deadlifts as well for maximum effectiveness. You may want to invest in an exercise ball in order to increase core strength.

Do not focus on the same muscle every day. Focus on one or two body parts each day you train. By doing this, you are not over-exerting muscles without giving them time to heal. Recovery is very important, so give them the time they need to heal and grow.

How to develop a proper routine?

Many women live their lives by the numbers that they read on a scale. When you are bodybuilding for fitness, this is a mistake. Don’t concentrate on what the scale says you weigh, focus on your size and tone.

This can be calculated in the form of inches or body fat percentage. You will probably not see a huge weight loss on the scale, but you should see an improvement in your overall body’s look after a period of time.

Here are some areas that women should really focus on:

  • Back and Chest — Doing pull-ups, bench press, dumbbell rowing and dips will help in building a stronger and toned upper body which will accentuate your shoulders and make your waist look smaller.
  • Deltoid and Arms — Doing over head presses, lateral rises, dumbbell curl and tricep extensions will not only strengthen your arms but will also define shoulders which will give you the V-taper illusion over your waist ratio.
  • Hips and Waist — These areas are mostly chiseled through diet by teaching the body to re-distribute body fat. It is the finishing signature to the rest of your body and will make your overall appearance look much more pleasant.
  • Quads, Hamstring and Glutes — Doing compound workouts such as squats, stiff leg deadlifts and glute bridges will help in this area and and will complete your overall look. After all, what woman doesn’t want to have some killer legs!

If you’d like to have a personal workout plan according to your specific body type then feel free to contact me on my email or my social media pages listed below at the end. :)

As a woman, you need to remember that you will not be able to build your muscle like men do; however, your approach toward bodybuilding will be much the same. The results will be different, but you will still look incredible and be able to be proud of how you look and feel.

If you found this information helpful then kindly share it with your friends!

Social Media Pages

You can keep up with me and my latest content about health and fitness via my blog, Instagram or my website. If you’d like to support me then please share my blog posts on your social media pages. Your support throughout my journey will be highly appreciated and will further motivate me to keep writing and sharing.


  1. Gregorio, J. (2017, November 20). Retrieved from
  2. McCall, P. (2014, September 22). Retrieved from
  3. (2021, February 7 ). Retrieved from




Certified Personal Trainer, CPR & AED | Writes about fitness, exercise, nutrition, supplements and much more!

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Osama Javaid

Osama Javaid

Certified Personal Trainer, CPR & AED | Writes about fitness, exercise, nutrition, supplements and much more!

More from Medium

Will Cardio “Kill” Your Gains?

6 easy ways to lose 100 calories at home

A person checking weight

Are Supplements Important For Your Health?

What I Wish I Knew Before Lifting