Do women require a different approach to strength training?

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    Post Do women require a different approach to strength training?


    Bill Starr doesn’t think so but offers a few tips for coaching female lifters.

    I came across this article by Bill Starr on women and strength training in the Crossfit Journal. I thought I would share it here for those interested.

    *Should show as an attachement
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    I only skimmed that pdf, but as far as I'm concerned there doesn't need to be any specific difference in training-styles. The only differences should be based on what one's goals are. I'm sure Rosie will be by with some input, too. Nothing irritates me more than seeing women in the gym with the 5's doing all their exercises in the 50-rep range because "they don't want to get bulky."
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    Exactly, and this is Bill's point.


    "Keep in mind that the barbell
    doesn’t know which sex is
    trying to lift it. Good form
    will be rewarded and sloppy
    technique will be penalized
    in a democratic fashion." ~ Bill Starr
    •   
       

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    Quote Originally Posted by MidwestBeast View Post
    I only skimmed that pdf, but as far as I'm concerned there doesn't need to be any specific difference in training-styles. The only differences should be based on what one's goals are. I'm sure Rosie will be by with some input, too. Nothing irritates me more than seeing women in the gym with the 5's doing all their exercises in the 50-rep range because "they don't want to get bulky."
    I didn't read the PDF and I wasn't going to say anything, but if you insist, LOL...I have said it over and over and I will keep saying it until I am no longer able to say anything - THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE IN TRAINING A FEMALE THAN IN TRAINING A MALE! THE SAME TRAINING PRINCIPLES APPLY! The only difference is that females generally do not (because they are not strong enough) lift as much as males - they should still be lifting HEAVY for them, though! The ridiculous and completely WRONG mindsets that a huge majority of males AND females have when it comes to women and training are just some of the reasons I have written some of the articles I have. Most females in the gym need to harden up and the men in there need to stop coddling them and treating them like they are incapable of training as hard as a male! Seriously! But, before I continue to I am going to stop here...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rosie Chee Scott View Post
    I didn't read the PDF and I wasn't going to say anything, but if you insist, LOL...I have said it over and over and I will keep saying it until I am no longer able to say anything - THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE IN TRAINING A FEMALE THAN IN TRAINING A MALE! THE SAME TRAINING PRINCIPLES APPLY! The only difference is that females generally do not (because they are not strong enough) lift as much as males - they should still be lifting HEAVY for them, though! The ridiculous and completely WRONG mindsets that a huge majority of males AND females have when it comes to women and training are just some of the reasons I have written some of the articles I have. Most females in the gym need to harden up and the men in there need to stop coddling them and treating them like they are incapable of training as hard as a male! Seriously! But, before I continue to I am going to stop here...

    ~Rosie~
    I have a huge grin on my face right now. I figured your words would have sounded pretty much like that
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    Well the, consensus stands. no difference needed. I thoroughly enjoyed Rosie's post and totally agree
    btw Rosie, i follow ur blog... big fan
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    oops
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    Problem is - there aren't very many good everyday examples of women who lift heavy who still have a feminine form. When you talk about a female lifting heavy - then someone like Chyna springs to many women's minds. That's a turn-off for most girls. Problem is - Chyna's physique is heavily influenced by male hormones also ... not just lifting heavy.

    Most women want to look like supermodels and, most supermodels don't lift heavy.

    It's a shame - because I really dig the look of a mesomorphic female who obviously lifts heavy - but without too much extra-hormonal influence.

    Rosie's got the right look ... not that I'm attracted to Rosie - she's not my type. I like submissive women! LOL
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    I hear on how some of us want to look like supermodels, whom although lovely, I wish had some more muscle.

    Over here Volleyball is a big deal sport and I think some of the most beautiful physiques i've seen is on those Brazilian female volleyball players. Lovely girls, Marian and Julianna I think their names are. When the games were held here recently I recall a report on their training including some aggressive weight training.

    It's my experience from looking at pic after pic of fitness women that u can pretty much tell the Chynas from the rest of them. And it takes a loooong time to to get into the big muscles, it's a process of development and I think a woman has plenty of time on her road to progress to look in the mirror and say ok, I'm where i want to be, now to maintain. Then look up what she has to do to maintain instead of progressing. or maybe do a cut or whatever.

    Nobody blows up over night. being scared of bulking up will never be an excuse in my book for not trying for that heavier weight. Just being aware of ur body and knowing where u want to be should be enough.

    besides I've seen ladies whom don't seem to see that their situation isn't too much muscle, but too much fat :/

    or ladies that think they have enough muscle under their fat to compete and they really don't.

    well this post is longer than I thought it would be and I kind of steered a bit from the topic. :/
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    Quote Originally Posted by MidwestBeast View Post
    I have a huge grin on my face right now. I figured your words would have sounded pretty much like that
    You get to know me too well on here


    Quote Originally Posted by Mrodz View Post
    Well the, consensus stands. no difference needed. I thoroughly enjoyed Rosie's post and totally agree
    btw Rosie, i follow ur blog... big fan
    Thanks, chica


    Quote Originally Posted by HondaV65 View Post
    Problem is - there aren't very many good everyday examples of women who lift heavy who still have a feminine form. When you talk about a female lifting heavy - then someone like Chyna springs to many women's minds. That's a turn-off for most girls. Problem is - Chyna's physique is heavily influenced by male hormones also ... not just lifting heavy.

    Most women want to look like supermodels and, most supermodels don't lift heavy.

    It's a shame - because I really dig the look of a mesomorphic female who obviously lifts heavy - but without too much extra-hormonal influence.

    Rosie's got the right look ... not that I'm attracted to Rosie - she's not my type. I like submissive women! LOL
    It's a common misconception that for a female to lift weights or train seriously she will become like the stereotype Miss Olympia bodybuilder, causing many females to shy away from the training that would create for them the lean, fit, sexy body that they desire - hence the reason (and because I got so sick of people telling me this, and then looking at me in disbelief when I either told them that I lift heavy, or they saw me do it in my own training) Breaking the Myth: "if I lift heavy I'll end up looking like a man!". As I summed the article up in the Conclusion: "Masculinization in females does not occur as a result of [heavy] weight training, but rather because of the excess of androgenic hormones (i.e. testosterone) coupled with the correct stimulus for muscle growth (i.e. chronic resistance training and diet directed at muscle growth). The stereotype image of the female bodybuilder in the media is a result of said females chronically using androgenic compounds (i.e. steroids) in order to increase their muscle mass and size. For the female who is not doing this, they can lift as hard and as heavy as they want, and will come nowhere close to "looking like a man"."

    As for supermodels, most supermodels have little if any muscle mass and are just lean - and sometimes not even lean, but are "fat skinny".

    You do, however get the fitness model or lean female who looks good who does not lift heavy at all - she just diets constantly to stay like that. Not a healthy or desirable option for women either, IMO, but that's just me.

    In the end, the "look" that most females who go to the gym want or tell me that they want is that of the fitness magazine cover models - many who DO lift heavy and train correctly, with every other factor right as well. The only difference between them and the "cover models" is that most women are not prepared or willing to put in the hard work, effort, discipline and sacrifice that goes into creating those figures - looking good is definitely NOT easy, and looking great certainly isn't. Like I said in my first post, most women just need to harden up and tough it out - if they did things the right way and consistently, then they would see the results that they want, instead of constantly complaining about their "genetics" and "stress" and everything else that supposedly is "preventing" them from achieving the body that they want.

    As part of my Career Objective states: "I want to be a role model for women to look up to re fitness. Women need to be better educated on the importance of using resistance training to achieve their body and fitness goals. Training with weights should neither intimidate nor scare them. I would like to see the many wrong mindsets among and about women and weight training be replaced by correct information and healthy attitudes. I also want to drive home the fact that one does NOT have to starve or live on an endless diet to get and stay lean, and lead by example that "diet" is a LIFESTYLE nutrition plan that can be maintained and adjusted as required."

    As with anything though, training should be individualized specifically to the individual's goals and needs - for example, this is why I personally do not train conventionally or like most people.

    Anyways, I have ranted more than I was going to, so this will be my final post here (definitely VERY opinionated and NOT submissive, LOL)

    ~Rosie~
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrodz View Post

    Over here Volleyball is a big deal sport and I think some of the most beautiful physiques i've seen is on those Brazilian female volleyball players. Lovely girls, Marian and Julianna I think their names are. When the games were held here recently I recall a report on their training including some aggressive weight training.
    /
    Same reply I was going to state to Honda.

    Or you could look at any of the physiques of most collegiate female athletes. I have the opportunity to talk with strength coaches on a daily basis who work with female athletes from a variety of sports. If you've ever looked at the training programs of many female athletes (track and field, softball, volleyball, field hockey, etc.) there are periods where heavy weights and low reps are used frequently, and yet the physiques of these girls are still feminine.

    Br
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    Quote Originally Posted by CopyCat View Post
    Bill Starr doesn’t think so but offers a few tips for coaching female lifters.

    I came across this article by Bill Starr on women and strength training in the Crossfit Journal. I thought I would share it here for those interested.

    *Should show as an attachement
    Actually, there are a few special considerations when training female lifters; however, they have little to nothing to do with psychological factors or adaptability, but rather inherent issues.

    First, there are anthropometric differences in structure between the male body and the female body, specifically at the hips. The Q angle in women is wider then men, and thus places them at a higher risk for knee injuries, especially those to the ACL, MCL, and medial miniscus. In addition, the female hormones cause laxity in the joints, furthering this risk.

    Therefore, particular screening should be done to evaluate the risk for knee injuries, and, generally, additional strength work is needed for the hip abductors, hamstrings, and VMO, while additional stretching is often needed in the hip flexors and adductors.

    Br
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZiR RED View Post
    Actually, there are a few special considerations when training female lifters; however, they have little to nothing to do with psychological factors or adaptability, but rather inherent issues.

    First, there are anthropometric differences in structure between the male body and the female body, specifically at the hips. The Q angle in women is wider then men, and thus places them at a higher risk for knee injuries, especially those to the ACL, MCL, and medial miniscus. In addition, the female hormones cause laxity in the joints, furthering this risk.

    Therefore, particular screening should be done to evaluate the risk for knee injuries, and, generally, additional strength work is needed for the hip abductors, hamstrings, and VMO, while additional stretching is often needed in the hip flexors and adductors.

    Br

    I agree. Though inherently these are things to consider for anyone training. Not everyone is built the same way, someone may have an injury, etc, etc, that plays into certain specifics of lifting or exercising in general.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MidwestBeast View Post
    I have a huge grin on my face right now. I figured your words would have sounded pretty much like that
    haha, first person I thought of when I decided to post this was Rosie because of how many times I've heard her talk about this
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrodz View Post
    I hear on how some of us want to look like supermodels, whom although lovely, I wish had some more muscle.
    :/
    I'd love to look like Gisele, but the cards were not stacked in my favor. If I did just yoga every single day I would still have my mom's thick, muscular legs and my dad's rib cage...these are the facts that I've learned to live with and embrace.

    Truthfully, Rosie's right that women need to train heavy. Like anyone, a workout full of variety of movement and levels of resistance will create a very functional body. I understand why women are self-conscious at first walking into a free-weight area full of men, but it really is beneficial to push your body in order to continually grow (in strength, not mass).
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    Quote Originally Posted by littlejeni View Post
    I'd love to look like Gisele, but the cards were not stacked in my favor. If I did just yoga every single day I would still have my mom's thick, muscular legs and my dad's rib cage...these are the facts that I've learned to live with and embrace.

    Truthfully, Rosie's right that women need to train heavy. Like anyone, a workout full of variety of movement and levels of resistance will create a very functional body. I understand why women are self-conscious at first walking into a free-weight area full of men, but it really is beneficial to push your body in order to continually grow (in strength, not mass).

    This is exactly what Bill Starr points out in the article.
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    Your right jen, that was badly phrased because really there's barely a word either u, rosie or mr.starr said that I don't agree with. (actually everyone on the thread seems to be on the same vibe mostly)
    I don't prefer the super model physique for my own goals (not that it's possible with my genes lol) but I think they are lovely women, whom I have looked up to beauty wise.

    I understand why women are self-conscious at first walking into a free-weight area full of men, but it really is beneficial to push your body in order to continually grow (in strength, not mass).
    again, I couldn't agree with u more, I had to rustle up a lot of cojones before i dared get in there with them and bench with just the bar. That bold part really sums up my goals.
    I'm still very much on my way to the physique I want, and learning every day.
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    I was shown this and told it was Nikes new marketing campaign for their womens line and I was impressed. I thought to myself "about time" and then was shortly told later it was a fake and photoshopped but I figured it was appropiate to share in this discussion

    "The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance." - Socrates
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    ^^ Awesome pic...if I was still personal training I would blow that up and put it in my facility.

    here was the orriginal:



    And some more in the women's ad campaign:



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    (^_^)
    these pix definitely made me smile. "my butt is big and that's just fine" love it!!
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    I'm new here and was just reading some bits on the forum. I saw this thread and just had to add something! I used to be the type of woman that did a 100 hours of cardio a day and lifted 1.5kg weights doing 100 reps a time. It kept me skinny, but skinny fat. I never ate too much as was always worried about putting on weight. All I can say is I cringe when I look back at it.

    I was unhappy with my progress so I started to educate myself a bit. I started on Jason Furruggia's strength training program. It was hard, very hard to start with as I was so very weak. I went to the gym and felt intimidated by the guys glaring at me taking up 'their' space in the gym. There wasn't one other woman that entered that area, except me. BUT I went to that space every other day and increased my reps or weight every single training session. I advanced, slowly ofc, its hard to go from nothing to where I am right now. I currently am doing 110kg legs presses, 60kg Squats and Deadlifts, I do many of my free weight training with 10/12.5 and 15kg weights. Yes it ain't mega weights, but its progression and my strength is getting there, along with my confidence. Now instead of getting looks of annoyance off the men in the gym, I get nods of acceptance. I also got many negative comments from females, thinking that I would change instantly into some bodybuilding she hulk. Makes me laugh at peoples misconceptions. Yes I lift weights, yes I am getting strong, but I also still look and feel very much like a woman! So I say to any woman concerned about lifting weights, don't be, it really is great and unless you want to turn into a professional bodybuilder, you ain't ever gonna come close!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clare View Post
    I'm new here and was just reading some bits on the forum. I saw this thread and just had to add something! I used to be the type of woman that did a 100 hours of cardio a day and lifted 1.5kg weights doing 100 reps a time. It kept me skinny, but skinny fat. I never ate too much as was always worried about putting on weight. All I can say is I cringe when I look back at it.

    I was unhappy with my progress so I started to educate myself a bit. I started on Jason Furruggia's strength training program. It was hard, very hard to start with as I was so very weak. I went to the gym and felt intimidated by the guys glaring at me taking up 'their' space in the gym. There wasn't one other woman that entered that area, except me. BUT I went to that space every other day and increased my reps or weight every single training session. I advanced, slowly ofc, its hard to go from nothing to where I am right now. I currently am doing 110kg legs presses, 60kg Squats and Deadlifts, I do many of my free weight training with 10/12.5 and 15kg weights. Yes it ain't mega weights, but its progression and my strength is getting there, along with my confidence. Now instead of getting looks of annoyance off the men in the gym, I get nods of acceptance. I also got many negative comments from females, thinking that I would change instantly into some bodybuilding she hulk. Makes me laugh at peoples misconceptions. Yes I lift weights, yes I am getting strong, but I also still look and feel very much like a woman! So I say to any woman concerned about lifting weights, don't be, it really is great and unless you want to turn into a professional bodybuilder, you ain't ever gonna come close!

    Clare
    Bravo for going against the grain and doing what you know is right Clare! So many bad habits are perpetrated in most commercial gyms. I have a couple of Furriggias books and a bunch of his articles saved on my PC, a very top notch strength coach IMO.

    Welcome to the site by the way :wavy:
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    Welcome to AM!! Great Post Clare. Congratulations on your progress, please stick around lol there are few ladies that are really active here

    Avi looks great! I personally hated cardio so much that I never did enough of anything when following all the silly mainstream advice out there for women. I thought it's hopeless! I'm gonna look like a dude if I lift heavy and I hate cardio with all my heart (I don't hate it anymore) it used to make me feel so sick. I wonder how many ladies are caught in this!
    I lost most of my weight by just lifting! No cardio really, just walking. Afterwards I have been conquering cardio and really enjoying it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clare View Post
    I'm new here and was just reading some bits on the forum. I saw this thread and just had to add something! I used to be the type of woman that did a 100 hours of cardio a day and lifted 1.5kg weights doing 100 reps a time. It kept me skinny, but skinny fat. I never ate too much as was always worried about putting on weight. All I can say is I cringe when I look back at it.

    I was unhappy with my progress so I started to educate myself a bit. I started on Jason Furruggia's strength training program. It was hard, very hard to start with as I was so very weak. I went to the gym and felt intimidated by the guys glaring at me taking up 'their' space in the gym. There wasn't one other woman that entered that area, except me. BUT I went to that space every other day and increased my reps or weight every single training session. I advanced, slowly ofc, its hard to go from nothing to where I am right now. I currently am doing 110kg legs presses, 60kg Squats and Deadlifts, I do many of my free weight training with 10/12.5 and 15kg weights. Yes it ain't mega weights, but its progression and my strength is getting there, along with my confidence. Now instead of getting looks of annoyance off the men in the gym, I get nods of acceptance. I also got many negative comments from females, thinking that I would change instantly into some bodybuilding she hulk. Makes me laugh at peoples misconceptions. Yes I lift weights, yes I am getting strong, but I also still look and feel very much like a woman! So I say to any woman concerned about lifting weights, don't be, it really is great and unless you want to turn into a professional bodybuilder, you ain't ever gonna come close!

    Clare
    VERY strong first post, Clare! It's certainly refreshing to hear more women who have your mindset and thank you for sharing your experience. I know exactly what you mean by the looks of annoyance turning into looks of acceptance after time. I know I'm certainly guilty of glaring at people from time to time who are in my way in the gym (men and women, though - particularly teenagers who run their mouths too much). My feeling has always been that I will never criticize someone who is coming in there to better his or herself.

    As has already been said, I hope you stick around the forums and become a regular. Good luck with everything!
    Psalm 34:10 - "The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing."
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    So true Clare. I wish there were more women like you. I can speak for myself when I say that I dont try to belittle any females who come into the free weight area. I embrace them . And yea, that huge misconception about turning into a "she hulk" makes me lol. I always tell women who are seeking a more "toned" body (the term tone technically refers to a neurological component but thats another topic), to lift weights. They ALL say "i dont wanna bulk up!". LMAO if it was that easy every guy in the gym would be a beast. Big myth. Keep at it mam
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    Oh Im a guy btw.. incase you were confused by my avatar .. shes just my fantasy woman..
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    Thanks so much for your kind words, really nice to speak with people of a like mind! I currently train alone, so very nice to be around people that understand what it's really about.

    And Mrodz regarding my avatar, I took that only last week of myself, I put it on my facebook profile as was really please with my progress, I mainly got negative comments saying I was going too far. Sometimes you just can't win, I was once too fat, then too thin and now too muscly. Guess it's lucky I don't care what people think or say so much anymore, I have my goals and I definitely ain't gonna change them for anyone!

    Thanks once again and I will definitely try and stick around!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clare View Post
    ...egarding my avatar, I took that only last week of myself, I put it on my facebook profile as was really please with my progress, I mainly got negative comments saying I was going too far. Sometimes you just can't win, I was once too fat, then too thin and now too muscly. Guess it's lucky I don't care what people think or say so much anymore, I have my goals and I definitely ain't gonna change them for anyone!
    Do it for you and no one else, Clare, and never mind what anyone else says as long as you are happy with your physique and what you are doing with it. I get it as well, people telling me it's unnatural to be so lean all the time, preferring me when I am "soft" (aka synonymous to "fat" for me), not liking it when I add muscle mass, saying women are supposed to be "soft and curvy", but the softer and fatter I am, the more I hate my body and so I choose not to be like that - in the end, as long as I am satisfied with my figure, what anyone else thinks is irrelevant. It's your body and your life - ignore the haters (there are always going to be those, and most of the time they are jealous individuals or those who have no ambition) and embrace the support of those who would see you achieve your fitness and figure goals (less than the haters they are valuable indeed, even if you have only one soul who motivates and encourages you).

    Oh, and to AM, with a heaping of Easter Blessings thrown in!

    ~Rosie~
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    Solid post Rosie. Agree 100%.

    And welcome to AM Clare. You are now amongst many wise individuals and we are pleased to have you.
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    I have really enjoyed reading this thread! :-D
    I love lifting heavy, and pushing myself to new limits! I have some decnt muscle but do not consider myself masculine. It really bothers me when I do see women who are curling 5's because they don't want to get bulky. Then I think about it. My irritation comes from there MISINFORMED actions. They do this because they don't know any better.
    You look at women's 'fitness magazines' and it is mostly about getting skinny, not building muscle. Muscle is what gives you shape, makes the curves.
    Women are told to eat low-fat, low cal diets. Where is the protein???!
    Anyway thank you for all those who have replied! It is inspiring and comforting to know that others agree :-D
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clare View Post
    I'm new here and was just reading some bits on the forum. I saw this thread and just had to add something! I used to be the type of woman that did a 100 hours of cardio a day and lifted 1.5kg weights doing 100 reps a time. It kept me skinny, but skinny fat. I never ate too much as was always worried about putting on weight. All I can say is I cringe when I look back at it.

    I was unhappy with my progress so I started to educate myself a bit. I started on Jason Furruggia's strength training program. It was hard, very hard to start with as I was so very weak. I went to the gym and felt intimidated by the guys glaring at me taking up 'their' space in the gym. There wasn't one other woman that entered that area, except me. BUT I went to that space every other day and increased my reps or weight every single training session. I advanced, slowly ofc, its hard to go from nothing to where I am right now. I currently am doing 110kg legs presses, 60kg Squats and Deadlifts, I do many of my free weight training with 10/12.5 and 15kg weights. Yes it ain't mega weights, but its progression and my strength is getting there, along with my confidence. Now instead of getting looks of annoyance off the men in the gym, I get nods of acceptance. I also got many negative comments from females, thinking that I would change instantly into some bodybuilding she hulk. Makes me laugh at peoples misconceptions. Yes I lift weights, yes I am getting strong, but I also still look and feel very much like a woman! So I say to any woman concerned about lifting weights, don't be, it really is great and unless you want to turn into a professional bodybuilder, you ain't ever gonna come close!

    Clare
    What a great post! Im also doing strength based training at the moment and really enjoying it, would be interested to see what kinda program youre on, as deadlifts and squats are a part of my routine too. Do you use any supplements/pre workouts?
    Great to see another girl building up strength
  

  
 

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