Will women get bulky if they lift weights?

Jun 28, 2024 mindpump

It’s been a common misconception that lifting weights will make women bulky. This all stems from a misunderstanding on how our bodies work and how strength training applies to it.

Marketing efforts targeted men by making the gym seem like it was for them only. Other facilities, like Curves were developed to act as if women had to lift or exercise in a way that was different from men. This couldn’t be further from the truth. We can ALL benefit from lifting weights.


The first benefit is longevity. Lifting weights allows us to have a better quality of life. This allows us to stay stronger in our older years, and keep up with the everyday demands of life. It provides a muscle building signal that prevents muscle from wasting away especially as we get older. This is important because without having muscle on our frames, we become more brittle and subject to injury. It will also help balance a woman’s hormones, and put them in a state of fat loss that can’t be achieved the same way as running or other forms of exercise.

Injury Prevention

The other importance of adding resistance training is that it allows you more independence. When we are frail, or not carrying an appropriate amount of muscle, we find ourselves not being able to perform everyday tasks such as lifting stuff over our heads or even carrying groceries. There is this stigma that women always defer to someone to help them carry and move things. One of the most rewarding parts about being a trainer is hearing from both men and women the empowerment they get by having included strength training into their lives. They find they are able to be more independent and take care of chores around the house or move around their luggage with ease. Lifting weights goes beyond just looking good. It is functional.

Increased Metabolism

When you put on muscle, it allows you to eat more food. The reason for this is that the more muscle you have, the more calories it takes to maintain it. Who wouldn’t want more food?! Having more muscle also gives you the more toned look women often seek. The “bulkiness” some may claim to have is usually the result of being at a higher body fat percentage while also putting muscle on. After losing some excess body fat, most women find they get that toned look they have been seeking. If you try to lose weight without adding muscle, or just doing cardio, you will end up looking like a soft, skinny-fat version of yourself. That is because there is no underlying muscle to give shape.

This boost in metabolism also helps your satiety hormones and balances your endocrine system. When you have more muscle on your frame, your body will better shuttle nutrients to the muscle for fuel rather than storing it as fat.

Another thing to keep in mind is, even if it DID make you bulky, we don’t put on muscle that fast. We don’t wake up one day all of a sudden looking “too big”. The example I always give is just look at every guy in the gym. They spend their entire lives trying to look too big and only 1% of them will even get there. The women you see that look broader and more muscular, on TV or in sports, have genetics that lend them to that sport or physique. It is the same as a guy comparing himself to a bodybuilder. You don’t need to be in the gym every day. Just going 2-3 times a week allows you to put on enough muscle to increase your longevity and quality of life. Once you get to a point you feel good and close to where you want to be, you can focus more time on maintaining, and applying that new strength towards other hobbies or goals. Most of us don’t want to be too muscular anyways, so what we are striving for is a well-rounded physique that allows us to functionally perform and move better, reducing the risk for injury.

Share This:

Sign Up To Receive Our Newsletter