How to Build Muscle for Women?
You’re doing strength training on a regular basis, but you’re not seeing any results. So aggravating. So, what is the key to learning how to build muscle? how to build muscle for woman? What do you need to know about how to build muscle for woman? Here is your complete guide to how to build muscle for woman. So let’s respond to “how to build muscle for woman.” And explore the importance of how to build muscle for woman.
In this situation, it’s easy to fall back on the tired “women aren’t as strong as men, so it’s harder for us to gain muscle” stereotype.
“Women respond to strength training just as well as men,” says one expert. Of course, as Wilson points out, there are some immovable factors that can either hinder or help muscle growth. The most important is testosterone. Women typically have lower levels of testosterone than men, but this is not always true for all women, and it is not always true that all men have higher levels. Rather, everyone’s hormonal makeup is completely unique—just it’s that men naturally carry more testosterone.
Aside from sex differences, testosterone is a pretty potent substance in terms of muscle growth capacity. According to a 2019 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, artificially increasing a woman’s testosterone levels (in this case, via a cream smeared on the thighs) could improve athletic performance and muscle mass.
“It is easier to grow muscle when your testosterone levels are higher, and [those levels] drop as you age, making it more difficult,” Wilson adds. According to Harvard Health, after the age of 30, the average person loses 3 to 5% of their muscle mass per decade.
Hormones, however, are not the only factor in growth. “Skeletal size and structure, as well as age, can also affect a person’s ability to put on muscle,” the author writes, noting that genetic factors influence your body type and response to training and dieting.
However, Wilson emphasizes that the most important determinant of muscle mass in women is three major—and movable—factors: training, diet, and rest, all of which can be adjusted to produce the most visible gains.
Experts break down the best ways to see muscle quickly.
Step 1: Strength train on a regular basis.
There are numerous approaches to strength training, ranging from explosive strength (the ability to reach a basketball hoop) to absolute strength (the ability to deadlift 400 pounds). The type that will help you see increased muscle mass, on the other hand, is known as hypertrophy. This essentially means that you’re increasing the size and diameter of your muscle tissue. According to the American Council on Exercise, the following is the ideal rep/set/rest/frequency scheme to complement a hypertrophic strength training program:
- three to six sets
- 6 to 12 repetitions
- 30 to 90 seconds. of rest between sets
Using a weight that is 70 to 80% of your one-rep-maximum (IRM), or how much weight you can lift for a single rep of a specific exercise. If you’re unsure, this ACE 1RM calculator can help!
When it comes to how frequently you should train, Wilson recommends three to five times per week for muscle growth.
Hannah Davis, CSCS, and creator of Body By Hannah, emphasizes the importance of doing the exercises with intention. “I have many clients who are afraid of lifting heavier, but in order to see progress, you really need to be training at a higher intensity,” she says. So, if you’ve been using 10-pound dumbbells for upper-body exercises, stop underestimating yourself and start using heavier weights (as long as your form is impeccable!).
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Step 2: Put compound exercises first.
Wilson suggests choosing compound movements to get the most bang for your buck in terms of muscle activation. Although, as Wilson points out, compound-only movements aren’t required for hypertrophy training, they do activate the most muscles at once (and potentially produce faster results). However, if you prefer isolated exercises (for example, biceps curls or the hamstring curl machine), make sure to hit each muscle group (legs, back, chest, arms) at least once per week. Here are five of her personal favorites:
How to: Get into a high plank position with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. This will provide you with more stability. Consider wrapping your shoulders back while keeping your ribcage knitted together. Everything in your core is hyper-engaged. As you lower yourself, your elbows should point slightly outward. Then, using your entire hand, push yourself back up.
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Chest Press with Dumbbells
Lie on a bench or a Bosu ball with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Extend your arms upward, palms facing your feet, with a dumbbell in each hand. Bend your arms slowly and lower them to the side, parallel to your shoulders, until your elbows almost touch the ground. Slowly reverse the movement and return to the beginning. That is one repetition.
Dumbbell Reverse Lunge
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and a dumbbell in each hand at your sides. Step back about one and a half times your normal stride length with your right foot, landing with the ball of that foot on the ground and your heel up. Lower the back leg straight down until it touches or nearly touches the ground, creating a 90-degree angle in the front leg. Return to standing by pushing through the heel and midfoot of your front leg, bringing your right foot back in line with your left. Rep on the opposite side. That is one repetition.
You need to stand with your feet hip-width apart and a weight in front of your chest, elbows pointing toward the floor. You should lower into a squat by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. Return to the beginning. That is one repetition.
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Step 3: Implement a Training Plan for Progressive Overload
When it comes to packing on muscle, Wilson says that choosing high-value moves and creating a training schedule is a good start, but those gains will fade if you don’t keep your muscles challenged.
Enter progressive overload, or increasing the intensity of your strength exercises by increasing the volume (or weight), reps and sets, frequency, or even time under tension.
What’s the significance of this? “Your body is constantly adapting, and you will eventually notice that the same set and rep scheme is no longer difficult to complete.” “Progressive overload stresses your muscles, allowing them to repair, rebuild, and grow stronger.”
But, when training for progressive overload, how much (and when) should you up the ante? Wilson notes that a weekly increase of five to ten percent for any given variable is a good place to start. Fitmusclee explains that exceeding that amount may increase your risk of injury (say, going in for a 30-pound dumbbell chest press for six reps when the week prior you were hitting 15 pounds for the same number of reps).
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Step 4: Consume Enough Protein While Keeping A Calorie Surplus
“If you want to build muscle, you need to eat enough protein as well as a variety of other macronutrients, carbohydrates, and fats,”
Fitmusclee says she frequently sees clients who eat very little during the day and then eat a large meal before bed. “If you don’t eat enough, you won’t be able to build muscle—you need protein and carbs to get stronger.” You don’t have to fuel right before a workout (though an apple is her go-to), but you do need to eat enough to keep your body energized and muscle-building.
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Step 5: Make Time for Rest
While this may appear to be the least important step in bulking up, Wilson believes it is crucial. “Rest is necessary for muscle growth,” noting that your muscles require 48 to 72 hours of rest between strength sessions. (FYI: Dividing up your training days based on lower- and upper-body moves can help you stay on track with three to five days of training per week!)
Fitmusclee believes that sleep is also important Because your brain is resting with little activity, your blood supply to your muscles increases, delivering extra oxygen and nutrients to help them heal and grow.”