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What Are the Best Tips for Muscle Building for Women?

Renee Booker
Renee Booker

Muscle building for women is a simple goal with complicated methodologies for accomplishing that goal. It is important to note that muscle building for women follows exactly the same principles as building muscle for men. There are many things that differ between males and females inside the body, but the process of breaking down, repairing, and building muscle tissue is the same in both sexes.

In order to intelligently approach the process of muscle building for women, a few basic principles must be understood that provide a scientific background. When a muscle is called upon to forcefully contract, the muscle tissue suffers microscopic tearing along the length of its fibers. This tearing is brought about by requiring the muscle to perform at, or near, the limit, of its potential. After exercise has ceased, the muscle tissue is not only repaired, but built back stronger than it was before. This is how muscles become stronger, and, due to the over-building of the repaired tissue over time, bigger.

The human muscular system.
The human muscular system.

Women often fear muscle building for women. Many women avoid lifting weights and other forms of exercise because they fear building huge, "manly" muscles. Fortunately, this is highly unlikely and, to some extent, even impossible. While a woman's muscles grow in the same way that a man's do, women have lower upper limits of size and strength than men. This means that, all else being equal, a woman and a man doing the exact same exercise for the same length of time and intensity will develop muscle at different rates, with the man's muscles growing larger.

Men tend to be able to achieve more muscle mass than women.
Men tend to be able to achieve more muscle mass than women.

The most efficient way of muscle building for women is through resistance training — specifically, weight lifting. While specific techniques are hotly debated between individuals, there are many agreed upon fundamentals that apply to the vast majority of people, the most basic of which is progressive resistance. Progressive resistance simply means steadily increasing the difficulty of the movement over time, and is most often accomplished by increasing the weight lifted on a particular exercise. In order to stimulate the maximum number of muscle fibers, and thus ensure maximum muscle growth, the amount of weight lifted should be approximately 70-90% of a person's one-rep maximum.

A one-rep maximum is the maximum amount of weight that an individual can lift for one complete repetition, and is used to determine the amount of weight that should be lifted during regular sets. The amount of repetitions completed in each set should be between eight and ten, and the weight lifted should be between 70 and 90% of the one-rep max. When more than ten repetitions can be completed in a single set, it's time to add more weight. Over time, the one-rep maximum will increase, but should only be increased once a month at most to prevent unnecessary strain or injury.

Always perform exercises with perfect form. Perfect form will prevent injury and it will stimulate maximum muscle growth by correctly targeting muscle groups. If a person is unsure of what the proper form is for an exercise, he or she should ask a trainer or other knowledgeable gym-goer about the exercise. Always remember to eat correctly, which does not always mean less. Muscle building in women requires a caloric surplus, or extra calories, to be consumed daily. A focus should be placed on protein, the building block of all muscle, with adults requiring one to two grams of protein per pound of body weight a day to ensure maximum growth.

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Discussion Comments


Because women carry a higher level of body fat than men, they need to focus on aerobic exercises to get rid of the excess fat. You don't need intense aerobic workouts. Actually, moderate workouts at regular intervals work best. Five 30-minute workouts, 5 times a week is a good basic schedule. This will help reduce the fat under the skin and allow you to concentrate on gaining muscle.


Just like with men, some women are going to be better suited for building muscle than others. All women don't have the same levels of hormones and body types, so some have an advantage over others.

Regardless of her body type, a women should follow a diet that is low in carbohydrates and high in protein when she wants to build muscles. Women's bodies burn some foods differently than the men's bodies. Also, women should focus on eating small meals throughout the day rather then loading up on protein over two or three meals.


I get so tired of guys telling me how easy it would be for me to get into the gym and drop fat and build muscles. There is one major thing these guys are forgetting, men and women are not built the same. To state the obvious, our bodies are different. This article alludes to those differences in the first paragraph.

Hormones are the primary reason men and women have different bodies. Women have lower levels of testosterone. This means that we are going to have a more difficult time gaining muscle. It's not because we are lazy; it's physiological.

We women also have higher levels of estrogen than men. Estrogen is the culprit that makes us retain fat. So to summarize we have a harder time building muscle and we retain more fat.

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    • The human muscular system.
      By: adimas
      The human muscular system.
    • Men tend to be able to achieve more muscle mass than women.
      By: Christopher Howey
      Men tend to be able to achieve more muscle mass than women.