Strength Training for Women – Part 1

atleta di schiena davanti a un rack che sta impugnando un bilanciere caricato, nel

With this first article, we will begin to address the strength training for women, topic of which we will continue to speak also in the next publications. Strength training is often declined exclusively for men, also for cultural factors, relegating women to the usual workouts with resistance bands and “light dumbbells.”

To be fair, we must say that women are perhaps the first to put obstacles in their own way. How many refuse to touch a barbell for fear of becoming big and muscular, and losing their femininity? How many limit the weights they move in training because they don’t believe they are capable of working with heavy loads and, indeed, are afraid of them?

What advantages brings strength training in women?

Science tells that an appropriate program focused on strength development can bring significant advantages to women as well:

  • greater bone modeling which increases bone robustness and reduces the risk of osteoporosis;
  • strengthening of connective tissues which increases joint stability and helps prevent injuries;
  • greater functional strength for both sports and daily activities;
  • increase in lean body mass and decrease in non-functional body fat;
  • increase in metabolic rate thanks to the increase in muscle mass and the decrease in fat mass;
  • improvement in confidence and self-esteem;
  • better physical performance in specific sports skills.

competition room where there are athletes lifting loaded barbells, in snatch

However, these advantages can be negated by the exclusive use of training machines, too low loads, and the absence of progression.

What effect does strength training have on women?

«But I’ve gained weight training for strength!»

It may be that the weight on the scale has slightly increased, but it’s not about getting fat.

As we have seen, strength training contributes to the reduction of body fat and the increase in lean mass. Such changes can lead to a slight increase in body weight since, for the same volume, lean mass is heavier than fat mass.

Strength training for women actually results in a significant increase in lean mass, a decrease in the circumferences of the lower body, and a very slight increase in the circumferences of the upper limbs. Only women who have a genetic predisposition to hypertrophy and who follow typical bodybuilding workout protocols will experience an increase in circumferences.

athletes in a competition room that alternate in training with barbells and discs

And what limits the increase in strength in women?

The reasons why excessive increase in mass and volume in women who train with weights does not occur are mainly two:

  • differences in muscle fibers;
  • differences in hormonal concentrations;
Aspects that we will discuss more thoroughly in future episodes.

In short, it is clear that woman must train!!!

But… in the same way as men? We will find out soon!

Stay tuned

Fonti e bibliografia

Scienza e pratica dell’allenamento della forza Valdimi M.Zatsiorsky, William J. Kramer Citation: Lundsgaard A-M and Kiens B (2014) Gender differences in skeletal muscle substrate metabolism – molecular mechanisms and insulin sensitivity. Front. Endocrinol. 5:195. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2014.00195



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