Quick Note on Training for Women

For the most part women should train like men as detailed in my previous post.  That means you they should put down the pink dumbbells and only lift things labelled “heavy as fuck.”  Sadly, whereas even the most feckless of male lifters seems to understand that lifting heavier stuff is a requisite for getting bigger and stronger, the average female I see in the gym seems happy to do fake kicks or ten pound shoulder presses ad infinitum thinking she is doing something useful.  Do not be one of them.

All that said, there are some things to keep in mind as a women.

1) You will not get bulky.  The hormones or whatever that control muscle building just aren’t there in sufficient quantities to turn you into a hulking beast.  However, it seems to me that the strength difference between men and women is overly exaggerated despite this difference in size.  Jennifer Thompson, at least at one point, held the highest powerlifting score after adjusting for weight ever and yet men with half her lifts can have more muscular development.  A lot of strength has nothing to do with muscle size which is why bodybuilding and powerlifting are not synonymous.

2)  Women should train in higher rep ranges.  Women are not able to recruit their muscle fibers as efficiently as men and consequently their max effort lift is lower than you might suspect.  There are numerous anecdotes of women being able to do 5 repetitions at one weight and adding 5 or 10 pounds just squashing them.  There is similar anecdotal evidence that apart from this phenomenon women’s bodies respond just respond to training at higher reps.  Sadly, we only have broscience on this point.

3) In a similar vein to the previous item, women recover much more quickly than men.  Muscle groups in men can take as few as 36 hours to as many as 96 hours to recover.  On the other hand I have seen studies that put female recovery times at as little as 4 hours.  I think this feeds into the reduced efficiency of muscle fiber recruitment and maybe why higher rep ranges are better in that it takes more work to tire a woman out.  It also suggests that a particularly motivated women could do fine training every day, but I would definitely be careful if you try it.


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