7 myths about women and strength training

Today’s post comes from Lisa from Workout Mommy. Check out her blog when you get a chance — she’ll keep you motivated and inspire you to keep going with your workouts.


Almost all of my female training clients used to tell me they didn’t want to lift weights because they were worried they would get too big and “bulk” up like a man. This is not possible!

Here are some of the common myths about women and strength training and the reality behind them.

Myth #1: Strength Training using weights is bulking me up!
Reality: This is the most common misconception that women have when it comes to strength training. Bulking up your muscle requires high levels of testosterone and, therefore, women are not hormonally able to build as much muscle as men. The reality is that muscle takes up less space than fat, so you may not notice a huge weight loss, but you will lose inches when keeping a consistent strength training routine.

Myth #2: Women need different strength training exercises than men
Reality: Men and women have the same muscles and therefore need to do the same exercises. You might see men at the gym doing different variations of exercises, but this doesn’t mean you can’t do them either! There is no exercise that is gender specific, so get out there and start lifting!

Myth #3: All exercises serve the same purpose.
Reality: There are different types of exercises which use different techniques, such as sport specific exercises, rehabilitative, strength training, power lifting, and athletic training exercises. Each type of exercise will have a different program design and use a different technique.

Myth #4: To tone my muscles I should use lighter weights and do more reps.
Reality: Using lighter weights for higher reps will help you increase muscular endurance but that lean, defined look comes from losing body fat. You need to choose a weight that will challenge you and allow you to do no more than 15 reps. Ideally, you should only be able to complete 8-10 reps with good form. If that is too easy, try a heavier weight and start from there.

Myth #5: Strength training will get rid of the cellulite on my legs and give me 6 pack abs in only 8 weeks!
Reality: Unfortunately, there is no such thing as spot reduction. Only aerobic exercise can burn fat. Combine regular cardio activity with consistent strength training and you will burn fat while increasing your lean muscle mass. This will turn your body into a calorie burning machine all day long. Eventually those 6 pack abs will shine through, but there is no quick fix!

Myth #6: I’m too old or too overweight to start strength training.
Reality: No one is too old to strength train! In fact, research has shown that even seniors in their nineties can and do make strength gains. Researchers have discovered that we start to lose about 3-5% of our muscle mass after the age of 40, so it is crucial that everyone, especially seniors, have some kind of safe strength training routine.

Myth #7: My muscle will turn to fat when I stop exercising!
Reality: Muscle and fat are two different metabolic tissues meaning it is not possible for one to turn into the other. With the loss of muscle comes a commensurate drop in metabolism. The body then begins to store more excess calories which will result in an increase in fat.

So, now that you know the reality, it is time to start pumping some iron! No more excuses.

Need some help getting started? Check out this FatFighterTV video about how to add weights to your workout.

[Photo Credit: stock.xchng]


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