Weight Training For Women: Why Women Belong On The Dumbbell

That’s Why Women Don’t Become Muscle Monsters

Can a woman mutate into a muscle monster and build mountains of muscle equal to that of a man? To answer this question with absolute certainty, a few words about the fundamental differences between men and women are required. Women have always had a lower percentage of muscle mass than men. 

Average ratings assume a proportion of muscle mass of 25-30% in women, while the balance in men is around 40%. A “less” in muscle mass is compensated for in women by having a comparatively higher body fat content than men. Ideally, this is around 15 to 21% for women, depending on age (for 15-29-year-old women), and for men of the same period, it is ideally 11-16%. 

Testosterone Is The Crux Of The Matter

Mainly responsible for the differences is that women produce significantly smaller amounts of the muscle-building and fat-reducing (lipolytic) hormone testosterone. Although the blood concentration in both sexes changes in the day with the circadian rhythm, average values ​​are still assumed to be in the range of 18 nmol / l for young men, 16 nmol / l for best-agers and at Women move in the field of 0.2-2.8 nmol / L. 

The significant difference is enough to significantly limit the actual muscle-building potential of women in contrast to men. It explains why the non-doping woman can usually never become a “man-like” muscle monster. 

The Movement System

Hormonal conditions such as the aforementioned reduced levels of testosterone and the increased levels of estrogen and progesterone are responsible for the fact that women have an average of 30% lower maximum strength values. 

Estrogen and progesterone ensure that there are differences in size in muscle fibers. Women are on average 10-12 cm shorter than men and have shorter extremities, an elongated trunk, and the associated lower center of gravity. All of these differences result in unequal conditions in terms of force development and lever arms. 

The Metabolism

On the metabolic side, it must be taken into account that women have a lower basal metabolic rate, which can also be attributed to the reduced values ​​in muscle mass. As a woman, you need less energy for the same work! So if a man consumes 30 kcal for a set of 15kg triceps presses and ten repetitions, the woman only consumes 25 kcal (not fundamental values). 

After training, women have a significantly higher level of catecholamines. This ensures that, unlike men, women do not have to reckon with a drop in blood sugar level after a workout. Ultimately, the permanently higher triglyceride level and the higher body fat content in women mean that women use fat as an energy source for longer. 

Crisp Look Thanks To Dumbbell Training

The benefits of regular dumbbell training for women can be demonstrated both visually and in terms of health. Let’s take the typical “cardio athlete” who can be found five times a week for at least 120 minutes in the Cardio park and compare it with the dumbbell-training athlete who struggles with weights.  

While the typical cardio athlete appears relatively “thin” and untrained and has little buttocks, thin thighs, incapable upper arms, narrow shoulders, and an equally narrow back, the typical dumbbell athlete is characterized by significantly more curves. If you meet her on the street, you would call her a “sporty appearance.” 

This is due to slight muscle attachments on the shoulders, a slim waist, a flat stomach, around, well-trained bottom, as well as well-trained thighs and calves, all of which ensure a well-formed feminine appearance.  In addition to this purely external distinction, there are also health benefits associated with regular dumbbell training. 

Two weekly training units in the dumbbell and equipment park already know that these increase bone density by 1 to even 12%. Since women, in particular, tend to develop osteoporosis over the years, dumbbell training is an accurate preventive measure, thanks to a menopausal drop in estrogen. The pressure, tension, and shear loads that arise during strength training increase bone mineralization and, thus, a more robust bone structure. 

Burn More Fat With Dumbbells

If you do dumbbell training, you don’t want to lower your body fat percentage in the first place. But if you can do this, it should be OK with us, and that is precisely the case with women. One starting point is women’s fundamentally lower basal metabolic rate, which is sometimes due to a lower volume of muscles. 

The basal metabolic rate with all its facets makes up around 60% of total energy consumption (TDEE). More muscle mass would inevitably increase this value. The result would be a higher total calorie expenditure over 24 hours. A higher basal metabolic rate means more calories burned, mainly from fatty acids, and thus more effective fat burning. 

A second, even more practical measure to increase the basal metabolic rate is provided by strength training via the resulting EPOC (Excess-Post exercise-Oxygen-Consumption), also known as the afterburn effect. The EPOC is defined as an increase in the basal metabolic rate based on a robust metabolic requirement from dumbbell training.

So you can expect an increase in the basal metabolic rate for up to 48 hours after the actual exercise from intensive dumbbell training. Catecholamines are “stress hormones” (e.g., adrenaline or noradrenaline) formed in our body as soon as a situation with increased energy requirements arises. As we have already learned above, women, in particular, are characterized by an increased occurrence of these catecholamines after training. 

Too Much Cardio Is Bad For Burning Fat

Far too often, women let themselves be influenced by long-established myths of our scene. Statements such as “fat-burning only begin after 30 minutes” ensure that women do excessive and extensive cardio training according to the motto “the longer, the better.” Low intensity is mandatory. Otherwise, you will get out of the “fat-burning pulse” within a short time. “Falls, and whoosh, you fell for another myth. 

YES, in the fat-burning pulse, most fatty acids are burned proportionately from the total calorie consumption. The effectiveness of a workout in the fat-burning pulse goes to zero and is in no relation to the time spent. Chronic cardio training can show a decrease in T3 levels. T3 is an active thyroid hormone and thus the number 1 metabolic regulator involved in controlling the efficiency of our cell metabolism. 

Too little T3 stands for reduced performance, reduced thermogenesis, and therefore an increased tendency to obesity. Unfortunately, we also know about a catabolic (muscle-reducing) effect of too much steady-state cardio, which results from an overabundance of the stress marker cortisol. 

As if that weren’t enough, you also have to reckon with an increased amount of myostatin (we know it as a genetic brake on muscle growth). Last but not least, excessive steady-state cardio also worsens bone density. Since cardio training is mainly done with the lower part of our body, there are no training effects in the upper body. 

Should Women Exercise With Light Weights?

Finally, it still needs to be clarified to what extent a woman’s dumbbell training should differ from a man’s. Concerning the design of the training plan, there will be differences because, as a woman, you are certainly not interested in developing a pronounced trapezius but want to work more on your problem areas, i.e., the thighs and glutes. 

Apart from these differences, men and women train according to the same laws of training theory. Female muscle fibers respond to different rep ranges in the same way as male muscle fibers do. A low rep range primarily trains speed and maximum strength, while a medium rep range stimulates growth in thickness (hypertrophy) exceptionally well. 

Strength endurance performance can be improved particularly well with high repetitions. In the context of a macrocycle, all three areas should also be addressed when designing a woman’s training to cover the entire range of muscle fibers. 


Similar Articles