We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: strong women are incredible. But many women still worry that a weightlifting routine will lead to a bodybuilder frame. While some of us would be thrilled with bigger biceps and even thicker thighs, the reality is that weightlifting rarely leads to bulk (at least not without some serious effort).
The Myth: Lifting Leads to a Bulky Frame
Somewhere along the way, women started to believe that lifting so much as a 10-pound dumbbell would cause our biceps to triple in size, our shoulders to grow broader, and our thighs to burst through our favorite jeans.
Perhaps it’s because strong female athletes are rarely represented in the media. Perhaps it’s because we’re inundated with images of skinny women, making us believe that any muscle makes us somehow less beautiful or desirable.
No matter where the myth started, we’re here to tell you that it is complete B.S. You’re not going to bulk up like a bodybuilder – unless, of course, that’s your goal. Lifting weights – yes, even the heavy ones – does the opposite. It tones your body, annihilates fat, and helps accentuate those curves.
Why Lifting Won’t Lead to a Bulky Body
If you’re worried about bulking up, take a breath. Chances are, you’re not going to gain massive muscles without really trying. And honestly, being afraid of getting super swole is just us embracing a bygone definition of femininity. Muscles are sexy.
If you’re worried about suddenly gaining bulging biceps, we’re here to put your mind at ease. No one gets bodybuilder, She-Hulk ripped by accident. A regular weightlifting routine isn’t going to bulk you up unless that’s your intention.
It’s Biology, Baby
The female frame doesn’t bulk up easily. It takes dedication, commitment, and a grueling weightlifting and nutrition routine to build Olympic weightlifting-esque frames. We’re talking years of careful planning. While you might initially notice your muscles filling out as you lift, women generally don’t continue to see these bulked-up gains without putting in some hard work.
For most women, that five-day-a-week lifting session isn’t enough to create serious muscle mass. So unless you’re ready to enter a bodybuilding competition (and hey, if you are, we fully support your badassery!), you won’t have to worry about busting out of those skinny jeans.
Maybe It’s Just Hormones
The second reason women don’t tend to bulk up comes down to hormones – or lack thereof. Women generally produce very little testosterone, a vital component to building bulk. Testosterone accounts for the power and mass on a male frame, and women simply don’t have enough to get the same result.
While some women produce more testosterone than average, even that usually isn’t enough to build significant muscle mass. The fact is, our female bodies resist bulkiness.
Is It Something You Ate?
Another key factor for muscle production is an intentional diet packed full of protein-rich foods. We would also have to eat an excess of calories every day to create bulk. Since most women only eat about 1,800-2,400 calories daily, we tend to burn the calories we digest. That means our muscles don’t have the fuel they need to bulk up.
Unless you’re eating well over your maintenance calories each day AND lifting heavy for hours on end, it’s unlikely you’ll see significant muscle mass.
Why Strong Women Are Sexy
Even if you do put on some serious muscle, who cares? That means you’re strong and dedicated to keeping your body healthy. We need to change the way we view a muscular frame on women.
While it’s unlikely your weightlifting routine will cause serious bulk, you will notice more defined muscles. And yes, some women work harder than others at building a muscular frame. However, we’re here to tell you that thick thighs, bootylicious backsides, and ripped arms aren’t just healthy; they’re gorgeous.
Perhaps resisting the bulk isn’t what we should be doing after all. In fact, muscle mass has some seriously incredible benefits for women of all ages.
Reasons Women Should Lift
Lifting weights is one of the best exercise options for women. Lifting weights – whether light or heavy – can impact your health in significant ways:
- Reduces blood sugar
- Melts away body fat
- Reduces your risk of osteoporosis
- Improves mood and mental health
- Lowers risk of heart disease, stroke, and other serious health complications
- Makes you feel empowered
At WodBottom, we believe all bodies are beautiful. So yes, we think strong, muscular women are a-OK. But we understand the fear of bulking up. Luckily, science says that a weightlifting routine won’t lead to serious muscle mass – unless that’s the goal you’re chasing.
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