As you set out to form together your workout program, there are a few important differences between female training and male training that you should know.
While the overall muscle building principles still apply – you need to stimulate the muscles with an overloading stress load and then back off and give them proper rest and nutrition, it’s not a one size fits all approach between the genders.
By taking into account the smaller differences, you can be sure that your workout program is specifically targeted to your body.
Let’s look at a few differences to note about strength training for females.
The Rep Range
The very first difference that you’ll want to keep in mind between males and females is the target rep range utilized. While there’s definitely no need to take your rep range into the 20+ reps like so many women do, you may benefit from going slightly higher into the 12-15 rep range once in a while.
For females who want to develop long, lean muscles without too much size, this is a good place to be. Note that you still should be lifting heavier weights though. Don’t think that you should only lift 5 pounders to prevent size gains.
You really do need to challenge yourself with that weight level if you hope to make some progress. Pick up the 10’s, 15’s, or even 20’s. You might just surprise yourself at what you can do.
The second factor to take note of is the total volume that you’re using. Females do typically have a slightly reduced recovery compared to males due to their lower testosterone and growth hormone levels, therefore you may not want to do quite as much volume.
This means reducing back on the total number of sets performed slightly so you’re doing 2-4 per exercise. Some males will take it higher than this, up to 5 sets per exercise, but as a female, unless you’re only doing a few exercises per session, you just don’t need this many.
The Rest Period
Now, one place where you can bump it up is with the rest period. Since most males are lifting an incredibly heavy amount of weight due to their natural higher strength levels, they require more rest time.
For females, especially those who want to stay nice and lean, a slightly shorter rest period is a good idea. Aim for 30-60 seconds for most exercises, periodically going to 90 seconds if you really need it.
The Cardio Element
Finally, the last adjustment to make is the cardio portion. For females who are looking to gain lean muscle mass, some cardio will still be a good idea.
This can help keep you a bit leaner and help with nutrient partitioning as many females do have a greater tendency to store body fat compared to males due to their hormonal make-up.
You definitely don’t have to go crazy, but a few 20-30 minute sessions per week is perfect.
So there you have a few important differences to note between male and female muscle building. If you can keep these in mind as you go about your program, you can be sure to have it tailored correctly.