Many women confess that they have stayed away from weights and resistance training because of their fear of building a large amount of muscle, resulting in body definition like that of a body builder. However, there are a few aspects that play a role in how your body will react to this type of exercise, which, normally, do not allow women to “bulk up”.
In comparison to men, women are generally weaker because their bodies carry a lesser amount of muscle, but the muscles themselves are just as strong and are comprised of the same physiological qualities. Even though the muscle composition is the same, hormone levels and genetic makeup differ between men and women. Men have much higher testosterone levels which allow men to develop larger muscles. Because women have about 1/10 of the amount of testosterone found in men, their muscles tend to grow on a much smaller scale.
Women that do develop significantly larger muscles usually participate in a very intense strength training program, which is not necessary or required for the average woman to become stronger and improve health. The genetic makeup of these women influences muscle growth as well. Typically, those with shorter limbs are able to lift heavier weight because of the smaller distance between the weight and the joint being used. Also, longer muscles have a greater potential for larger development, and individuals with a higher number of fast twitch muscle fibers are more likely to be increase strength and muscle size.
Each individual is different and some women do have the genetic and biomechanical factors to build large muscles. However, without a vigorous resistance training program or abnormally high levels of testosterone, this is not likely to happen.
Along with becoming physically stronger, there are many health benefits from performing strength training exercises, including body fat loss, increased metabolism, and the prevention of osteoporosis, which are extremely important to women as they age. A resistance training program is essential and should be established as a part of a healthy lifestyle.