Women Strength Training Myths:
Joe Karszen, B.S., M.S.

In this article I will go over some of the myths that are circulating about women who strength train. Women who strength train will get that bulky muscular look. Not true. The major difference in a women’s body compared to a men’s body is the testosterone level that men have. Women don’t have the amount of hormones necessary to build huge muscles. Every woman has different levels of testosterone and estrogen in their bodies. Most female body builders unfortunately use anabolic steroids amongst other drugs in order to attain that look of muscularity.
Women have a higher percentage of body fat than do men. “The higher the percentage of body fat, the lower the percentage of muscle mass. This extra body fat also tends to soften or mask the effects of strength training. Women who possess very little body fat appear to be more muscular than they actually are because their muscles are more visible. Likewise, the appearance of more muscle mass may not be the result of muscular hypertrophy. Rather, a decrease in body fat may simply make the same amount of muscle mass become more noticeable.” (Brzycki, M. The Female Athlete, 2004 p. 155)
If I stop strength training, my muscles will turn to fat, false. Muscle and fat are two different types of tissues. If you stop strength training and have bad eating habits you’ll lose muscle mass and the food you consume will get stored as body fat. Basically, muscle is being lost and fat is being accumulated. If you’re consistent with your training and have good eating habits, this will not happen.
Should women train the same way a man does? Yes. A muscle is a muscle. There are no differences in the make up. Men have a higher testosterone level then women, giving them greater muscle mass. The intensity one puts forth was mentioned in previous article (Spot Reduction). The harder you train with correct form, the better results you’ll get. Strength train, cardio, nutrition and rest are a big part in how one looks.
Genetics play a major part in how you look as well. Whatever muscle type you have, slow-twitch, fast-twitch you can’t change. That goes along as the length of your muscle belly. What you can do is make those muscle fibers fire more efficiently by training properly. By training properly you can change the width of the muscle belly and get it stronger. You cannot change the length of it.
All women should do some type of strength training to increase there muscle mass, bone density, strengthen tendons and ligament around the joints to name just a few benefits. It’s a proven fact that if you strength train properly on a consistent bases you will change your body composition. Muscle weighs more than fat, so don’t be too concerned about how much you weigh. A muscle uses more energy (calories) then body fat. If you can fit into a pair of slacks that were to tight on you, you know you did something right.
These myths have been around for along time, but more and more females are strength training. Look at our female athletes, celebrities, singers now. There are more opportunities out there for young women to get scholarships by participating in sports. Continue to strength train. You will see and feel the difference in how you look.
I have been strength training people from the ages of 14yrs. to 72yrs. old for over twelve years. I owned a one on one training facility on Long Island, New York (The Quality Repetition) for six years. I have done strength training camps and have given seminars on numerous topics regarding strength and conditioning. You can contact me at my web site www.wetrainu.net and ask me any further questions.