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Does Weight Training REALLY Make Women Bulky?

By February 11, 2015Adult Fitness

by Game Changer Strength and Nutrition Coach Rob Riccobono

women lift heavy

At Game Changer we don’t make any bones about it: strength training is the BEST method of exercise for women looking to improve their health, quality of life, and physique. Some women are hesitant to lift weights because they fear it will make them musclebound and give them a masculine physique. One famous celebrity trainer goes so far as to say women should never lift more than 3lbs! This doctrine is patently false, and it’s time for this myth to die for good.

Too Much Food, Not Weight Training, Makes You Bulky

big macMost people appear naturally too bulky because of one thing: excess body fat. Weight training augments muscles, while excess calories causes fat gain. Many competitive weight lifters purposely carry extra body fat along with their increased muscle size, because the extra body fat allows them to lift more weight. This contributes to the misconception that strength training itself produces too much bulk.

If you keep your calories controlled, lifting weights will NOT give you an overly bulky appearance. In fact, the muscle growth from weight training is responsible for that toned look so many woman strive for.

Some People Take “Supplements” That Enhance Their Bulk and Masculinity

women weight train

Note the words I used in a previous statement: “Most people appear naturally too bulky because of one thing: excess body fat.” If too much bulk is coming from muscle rather than body fat, it’s likely from unnatural means.

Some athletes who compete in high levels of sports (bodybuilding, the Olympics, professional sports) inject testosterone into their bodies to increase their strength and muscle mass to boost performance. Testosterone is the principle male sex hormone, and also plays a role in muscle growth.

Most women naturally produce only a fraction of the testosterone that men have. This makes it very unlikely (if not impossible) for a woman to increase her muscle size enough to look bulky or manly, unless she is supplementing more of it into her body.

The Subjectivity of Aesthetics

woman deadliftwoman rdl


Make no mistake about it, strength training WILL change a woman’s body. If you’re a woman and you train consistently, your appearance will show it. You will have curves, cuts, and muscle definition. Most women who experience this are very happy with the results. But not everyone cares about having that look, and if you don’t mind forgoing the other health benefits of strength training (to be further discussed in an upcoming post), you obviously don’t NEED to strength train. We just want to make sure there is accurate information available so people can make correctly informed decisions.

Aesthetics are subjective, but I bet women who’ve committed to strength training will echo this sentiment: Strength training does not beget bulk, but it certainly begets beauty.

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