One of the most common concerns regarding women and strength training is the development of masculine muscles. While strength training with heavy weights and low repetitions will promote maximum muscle hypertrophy, or muscle mass gains, you can prevent these results by performing higher reps with lower weight. When it comes to visible results, gender isn’t as significant as other factors such as hormones and exercise frequency.
According to Dixie State College of Utah, untrained women who begin a regular strength training routine may experience a 40 to 60 percent increase in strength after two months. The American Council on Exercise echoes this statement by stating women can expect a 20 to 40 percent increase in strength within several months. It is important to note that the rate at which muscles gain strength will slowly taper off after the first several months of training.
Hypertrophy or Muscle Mass Gains
Although muscles immediately begin to strengthen and grow after strength training, many factors determine the time it takes to notice muscular gains. The amount of body fat you have alters the time frame at which hypertrophy is clearly noticeable. For example, a woman with high body fat may not notice her quadriceps or biceps firming and developing as quickly as a woman with very little body fat, even though they develop at the same pace. The American Council on Exercise states your body type directly plays a role in how quickly women show results from strength training. For example, ectomorphs, or women who are naturally slim, will see muscle gains much faster when compared to endomorphs, or women with a higher body fat percentage. Due to the variables in muscle hypertrophy, the time frame to see results can greatly vary. However, Dixie State College of Utah cites research suggesting women may gain 2 to 4 pounds of muscle after two months of regular exercise.
Weight Training Guidelines
The intensity and frequency of weight training determines the speed at which muscles grow and gain strength. The American College of Sports Medicine suggests engaging in a minimum of two strength training sessions per week to stimulate muscle hypertrophy and strength gains. An effective strength training routine is one that targets each major muscle group in the body. Execute eight to 12 repetitions for each muscle group. Strive to do a minimum of one set, but as you grow stronger, increase to a maximum of three sets.
Before starting any exercise routine, consult with your doctor, especially those who are recovering from a musculoskeletal injury. If you’re new to strength training, consult with a personal trainer or fitness expert to learn how to properly perform exercise movements and to create a safe weekly routine.
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