It’s a question asked more times than a child probing are we there yet on a 10 hour car ride. Many women believe that using heavy weights will immediately transform you into a female version of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Is this belief true? Can women really bulk up with a 30-pound dumbbell?
The answer in short, it is possible for women to get bulky, but highly improbable. Less than 1/10 of one percent of women can achieve such results. In fact, it would require long-term, consistent training and a big nutrition push to see results. One would have to be genetically gifted to get “bulky.”
Since few women actually get bulky from lifting heavy, who do so many of us think we do?
First reason: Self Perception. No offense ladies, we have terrible self-perception. When a person feels their guns are getting swole, they start to look at their arms differently.
Second reason: Eating More. I can eat this cookie, I went to the gym today, sound familiar? Some women deliberately eat more because they think they need it to support their training.
Third Reason: Fluid Retention. In the early stages of training, you get a lot of inflammation and the muscles draw in glycogen and water. The fluid retention and inflammatory process is what causes the stiffness and soreness, same as what happens if you sprain your ankle and it swells up. So, women will train for a couple of weeks and swear they have ‘bulked up’ — and perhaps they have, but it’s not muscle. And that means it’s not permanent.
In a recent Huffington Post article on the subject of light weightlifting verses heavy weightlifting, several published studies suggest that is doesn’t really matter whether you go heavy or light. You’ll pretty much get similar results either way if you’re trying to build muscular strength – as long as you lift until you are fatigued or to muscle failure.
A study of 164 women, highlighted in US News Health found that weight training helped keep fat at bay better than cardio did. This is because you muscles are responsible for your metabolism. The more muscles you have the higher your metabolism and the more energy you’re going to have.
All in all, if you are looking to become lean and strong start adding more weight training into your work out. Additionally, diet plays a huge role in shedding the fat to display those new muscles of yours!
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