There’s a common misconception that by lifting weights, women will get too “bulky,” muscular, masculine, etc. We’ve all heard it and have been taught to believe that it’s the truth. But it’s not! Let’s look at some science here. Some cold hard facts.
Testosterone is the hormone that assists in the creation of muscle mass. So, the more testosterone you have, the more muscle you are able to create in your body.
According to the National Institute of Health, the normal range of testosterone for females vs. males is:
Males: 300 – 1,000 ng/dL
Females: 15 – 70 ng/dL
*ng\dL = nanograms per deciliter
By looking at these numbers alone, it’s easy to see that women simply don’t have the hormones available to build muscle like men do. Let all your fears of becoming too “muscle-y” be washed away.
However, that’s not to say women can’t put on muscle. They certainly can and it’s important to do so for a number of reasons. Here’s why:
- Muscle helps to strengthen your bones and prevent osteoporosis + other bone problems.
- Strength training reduces your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.
- Strength training improves your quality of sleep. Particularly, your ability to fall asleep faster + sleep deeper.
- Muscle increases your metabolism and therefore, burns calories. More muscle = faster metabolism = more calories burned.
Case in point, don’t stick to the little 5lb weights because you’re scared of getting “too big.” There’s a common misconception that lifting light weight with lots of reps is the way to get “toned” while lifting heavy weights will make you huge. That’s not how it works. Nobody’s telling you to go out and squat 200 pounds (unless that’s your goal, then go get em!) but do yourself a favor and drop the tiny pink weights and challenge yourself a bit. Go for 10, 12, or dare I say, 20 pound weights. Pushing yourself to a higher weight will strengthen your muscles and as a result, get you all of those great benefits listed above.
As discussed in this great blog post, everyone has their own definition of “bulky” but it’s important to note that adding some muscle to your frame will only benefit you in the long run. Modify your weight training to suit your specific needs – maybe you want to lift super heavy and build a ton of muscle or maybe you just want to incorporate some moderate strength training into your routine to build your metabolism. Whatever your goal is, consider adding some form of weight lifting into your workouts. I promise you, you will not get bulky from lifting weights, women simply don’t have the hormones to do so. You will see improvements in strength, muscle definition (think “toned arms” magazines are always talking about), and confidence.