Strong is the new sexy! This is how you build muscles as a woman
Don’t be afraid of heavyweights! Building muscle is fun and strong: Why strength training and the right diet are worthwhile and also help you lose weight
Grow with muscles – because many people still have an oiled bodybuilder stereotype in mind. What a crap! Muscular female bodies can be super aesthetic. And above all, it is a great experience to discover the fun of your own strength.
Do you feel like having muscles too? Then we will show you the way through the basics of real strength, i.e. the right training and the perfect nutrition for a really stable body.
This is why muscle building is worthwhile for women
The free weight area in the gym is only reserved for men? Are you kidding me? Are you serious when you say that! More and more women are discovering strength training for themselves and conquering the squat racks of the studios. The result: an athletic body and really well-trained muscles from which we women benefit in many ways:
1. Muscles make you slim
The great thing about muscles is that they help you lose weight. Because not only does dumbbell training consume energy, even if you have long been relaxing on the sofa, the muscles continue to burn calories. “The basal metabolic rate increases automatically through muscle building training. That means you can simply eat more”, explains the personal trainer and weightlifter. And the whole thing works without gaining weight.
The more muscle you have, the more energy your body can burn. And the greater the percentage of muscle in the total body weight, the more calories you burn even when you are resting.
2. Muscles make sexy curves
When it comes to losing weight or defining the body a little more, many women rely solely on endurance training and torment themselves in long-running units in order to lose a few kilos. “They lose weight in the process, but muscles shape and tone the body much better,” says HerFitness Trainer. If you want a beautiful body, instead of spending hours on the treadmill, you can simply lift a few weights.
3. Muscles prevent pain
Weak back muscles can cause headaches. With targeted muscle building and strength training, you improve your posture and thus prevent tension and pain. In order to avoid back pain, you shouldn’t neglect sport, but rather strengthen your back muscles with the right muscle-building exercises.
4. Muscles boost self-confidence
Women also benefit mentally from muscle-building training: “It’s just a great feeling to be able to move heavy weights. That not only strengthens the muscles, but also strengthens self-confidence,” says HerFitness Trainer. As your performance increases, you not only become physically stronger, but you also feel unbeatably good.
The different muscle types and fiber types
There are 3 types of muscles: skeletal muscles, cardiac muscles, and the smooth muscles. We cannot control the heart muscles and smooth muscles ourselves, since the heart, circulation, breathing, metabolism and digestion function almost automatically without us having to specifically tense muscles. The situation is different with the skeletal muscles, which are connected to the bones, stabilize the body and can be specifically trained.
Sports medicine distinguishes between two types of muscle fibers: fast and slow twitch muscles. The slow-twitch fibers are very persistent, but thinner and not particularly strong. The fast-twitch fibers give you real power right away, but don’t last long. You are responsible for the quick, powerful movements.
Everyone has both types of fiber, but not in the same proportion. You decide whether someone can run for a long time, jump far or sprint quickly. Which fiber type predominates depends on the function of the respective muscle and your genes.
Unfortunately, this genetically predetermined type of muscle fiber cannot be changed at will. But: Through targeted training you can get the best out of the existing muscle fibers. With a lower weight and high repetitions (15 and more), you tend to train the endurance fibers, while high weight and low repetitions (less than 10) challenge the fast-developing muscle fibers. By varying your weight and number of repetitions from time to time, you can develop your strengths and compensate for weaknesses. Will I get huge mountains of muscles from strength training?
Some fear that they will accumulate massive amounts of muscle directly. But don’t be shy: a few biceps curls or squats with a barbell won’t turn you into a bodybuilder overnight. The genes alone thwart your plans. Because compared to men, women have too little testosterone and too much estrogen in their blood to build up excessive muscle mass. So the chance of suddenly becoming terribly muscular tends towards zero.
Even if you have an above-average amount of testosterone for a woman, in addition to tough training, you have to stick to a very strict diet to turn yourself into a bodybuilder. From a purely anatomical point of view, the muscles of men and women are identical. This is why women can also encourage their muscles to grow with the right training stimulus.
This is how muscle building training works
With muscle building training, your muscles should enlarge. The individual muscle fibers should therefore become thicker. You can do this with so-called hypertrophy training. In order for you to stimulate muscle building, your muscles must be challenged beyond the usual level of performance. This means that you really have to regularly push your limits in training.
The strong training stimulus creates microscopic cracks in the stressed muscle fibers, which is often felt as sore muscles over the next few days. The body then begins to repair the fibers. In the process, they thicken in order to better prepare for similar loads in the future. In fitness jargon, this important adjustment process is called supercompensation.
This is how you plan your muscle-building workout
In order to properly train for muscle growth, you need to properly exercise your muscles. Because strength gains and muscle mass are adaptation processes of the body. Only if you stimulate him beyond the limits he knows will he adjust to it in the future.
You control how intense the training stimulus is via the number of repetitions and the weight. How do you choose the right weight for your exercises? HerFitness Trainer recommends that you take enough weight that you can just manage 2 to 3 clean repetitions at the end of a set. At first, you will probably have to experiment a little and slowly increase the weight to determine the required load.
With this, you do 3 to 4 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions each and a 45 to 90-second break between sets. Because: “Experience has shown that women need shorter recovery times between sets than men,” explains the personal trainer. A good pace of movement for beginners: 2 seconds for the overcoming, 1 second for the static, and 2 seconds for the yielding phase of an exercise. For a push-up, this would be 2 seconds for the way down, 1 second for the lowest position, and 2 seconds for the push-up. How you plan your training also depends on what goal you are pursuing and how often you want or can train per week. When it comes to muscle building, only regular training will achieve your goal. 2 training days per week are therefore the minimum.
For beginners, HerFitness Trainer recommends 2 full-body workouts per week that target all muscle groups. “If you train four times a week, you can do leg training twice and your upper body once, ” says the expert.
By alternating the training days, you avoid overloading the two muscle groups. Because between the individual training days, the stressed muscles should regenerate for at least 2 days.