Muscle Building for Women: Do’s and Don’ts

It seems that the “body to have” this year is Biggest Loser hostess Jillian Michaels. And why not? If you are like most women you’re sick of seeing emaciated models splashed on the cover of every magazine on your coffee table.

In stark contract to most women in show business, Michaels has more muscle than most men on the show!

To get a fit, trim, and muscular (but still feminine) bod like hers, follow these do’s and don’ts.

Muscle Building for Women Do’s and Don’ts

DO: Make Strength Training a Top Priority

There’s no way around it: to build muscle, you need to strength train. Many women in the gym treat pumping iron as an afterthought –only done after an hour-long cardio session.

If you are serious about putting on muscle, it is important to strength train before cardio and replace one cardio session a week with some sort of lifting.

Don’t: Be Afraid of Getting Too Bulky

There is a pervasive myth that if you work hard while you strength train, you will bulk up like a blonde Hugh Jackman. Not so. Because women lack the necessary levels of testosterone to pack on serious mass, getting too muscular is simply not possible.

DO: Compound Exercises

Compound exercises are a great way to stimulate a lot of muscle fibers at once, release hormones that stimulate muscle cell growth, and burn fat.

Then why are you spending 20 minutes doing triceps kickbacks?

Like men, the foundation of your strength training should be exercises like bench presses, squats, pull-ups, and dips.

Don’t: Get Trapped In the 10+ Rep Range

For fear of bulk, many women stick to 15 or 20 reps per set. Higher reps are OK for mixing up a stale workout routine, but shouldn’t be your go-to rep range.

Instead, try to lift heavy now and again –try 8,5, or even 3 reps of heavy weights and see how your body handles it. Remember: variety is the key to muscle building!

DO: Consider Supplementing With Protein

Studies show that women are hard-wired to prefer high carbohydrate foods. This preference oftentimes pushes out all-important protein from the mix.

Like men, you need protein for your muscles to grow. Instead of joining the hairy, grunting guys at the steakhouse, try downing a shake made with whey protein powder right after your workout.

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