Common misconceptions of resistance training for women

I often get asked by students/colleagues/clients if resistance training is safe for women and if they should even do it!

Myth 1:  Strength training causes women to become larger and heavier


  • Strength training reduces body fat % and increases lean weight
  • No change or decrease in lower body girths and small increase in upper extremity girth
  • Only women with genetic predisposition for hypertrophy (increase muscle mass) AND are participating in high volume, high intensity training will see substantial increases in limb circumference.


 Myth 2:  Women should use different training methods to men


  • Generally machine use is advocated using slow tempos, however, there is no evidence that women are more likely to be injured in strength training than men.

Myth 3:  Women should avoid high intensity or high load training


  • Low load, high reps are often below stimulus sufficient for adaptation and therefore women shouldn’t avoid high intensity/load.
  • Higher intensities needed to effect changes in bone, muscle, cartilage, ligament and tendon strength.

 (Ebben & Jenson, 1998)


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