Women’s Strength Training: Why Lean Women Lift Heavy Weights
Does strength training make women too muscular? Many women want to be defined, lean, toned muscles – and train ineffectively.
“A lean, toned body requires lighter weights and more reps. Because handling heavy weights leads to big, pumped-up muscles.”
As a fitness trainer, it is hard to eradicate this myth.
And that’s exactly why I see women every day in the gym who reach for light weights, tear off countless, time-consuming repetitions, and believe that this is the fastest way to a lean and defined body.
Time to snip off some old braids!
Does strength training make women too muscular quickly?
Heavyweights do not only create monster muscles but, above all, in the kitchen.
If you’ve been already part of the beta switch program, you know the core building blocks of a sexy body:
- Mental training
- Balanced diet
- Proper strength training
- Cardio training
In order to build massive muscles, it is not enough to be highly motivated to move a lot of kilos during training. You also need to consume a corresponding amount of calories at the dinner table.
And the right calories at the right time.
The government-recommended 2,000-calorie intake isn’t enough for most of us to explosively build massive muscles.
This is fantastic news for you if you’re going for “class over bulk” and want to create a lean, defined, sexy body instead of massive muscles.
The fear of heavy weights is entirely unfounded in this respect.
Does proper strength training turn women into muscle monsters?
Definitely: no! The opposite is the case.
Strength training – Why heavy weights make women slim and sexy
With heavier weights and fewer repetitions, you will reach your goal faster – says not only your trainer but also science.
For example, in a 2002 study, researchers looked at what happens when women do strength training with different weights and reps.
- Group 1trained with 8 repetitions at 85% of the maximum weight (one speaks here – attention technical term – of 1RM, which stands for “1 repetition maximum” – i.e., the maximum weight that can be lifted with only a single repetition)
- Group 2trained with 45% of maximum weight (1RM) for 15 repetitions.
Result: The women in group 1 burned more energy and triggered a stronger afterburn effect after training.
A second study from 2009 followed 122 women for six years. They found that those who did 8-rep strength training at 70-80% maximum weight (1RM) three times a week lost the most weight and body fat.
A third similar study from 2007 came to a similar conclusion.
The facts speak for themselves: heavy training makes you lean and defined faster than light training. Or differently:
“heavier is lighter!”
Before you load up the barbell with everything your gym has to offer, start doing squats a la Schwarzenegger…
What are “heavy” weights?
When I say heavy training, I mean strength training in the “muscle building” range, that is
- 2-4 sets of an exercise with
- 8-12 repetitions and
- Rest 30-60 seconds between sets.
It would be best if you chose the weight so that you can perform all repetitions barely and adequately manage the last one.
As we already know, the term “muscle building” is misleading in this case because your body only builds muscle if it has enough resources to do so – i.e., it has more energy available than it needs.
And if you want to work on your definition, you should avoid excess energy like the devil avoids holy water.
With light training, I mean classic strength endurance training, which with
- 15-20 repetitions
are carried out.
Then let’s draw the line…
Strength Training – Heavy Weights Conclusion
In a nutshell: ladies (and gents), for a sexy, “Hollywood” slim figure, it pays to train with heavier weights and smaller repetitions.
Home workout! One of the programs I personally recommend as a fitness trainer is The Beta Switch Program for savvy women.