If you’re a woman who is wondering how to build muscle, it’s important that you learn some of the foundational secrets of what it takes to achieve success so that you can get started on an effective program right from the start.
Unfortunately, many of the women who are looking to learn how to build muscle go about things in all the wrong manner because they are simply too afraid they’re going to become big and bulky as they do so.
This is furthest from the case. If you want to build muscle effectively, you need to follow the tried and true strategies so that you can transform your body forever.
Let’s look at what you need to know.
Requirement #1: An Overloading Stimulus
The very first thing that you must realize if you hope to be successful with the goal to build muscle is that you must make sure that an overloading stimulus is present. This is basically you subjecting the muscle to a force or stress that it’s never experienced before.
Now, when you stop and look at what most women do when they go to the gym, they pick up five to ten pound dumbbells and begin going about their routine.
But, will these five to ten dumbbells really challenge them?
Chances are they won’t – and that is why you won’t be seeing the results that you’re after.
If you want to learn how to build muscle, you must be ready to challenge yourself to the max. Lift a heavier weight – that is what will add more muscle tone, definition, and shape.
Always keep in mind that as a woman, you simply don’t have the testosterone levels present in your body to build significant amounts of lean muscle, so you can put this concern of yours to rest.
Requirement #2: Rest
The second requirement to learn how to build muscle for women is to make sure that you are getting sufficient rest between workout sessions.
Again, this is where many women fall short. They perform their strength training routine, but then think that every day in between they should be performing a high volume of cardio training.
After all, cardio is what prevents fat gain, right?
Not quite. Excessive cardio training can really take away from your ability to build lean muscle mass, so you need to keep it under control.
A few sessions a week is okay and should be performed for overall health benefit purposes, but if you’re doing cardio every day of the week for an hour a time, it’s definitely overkill.
Remember that your body needs rest in order to recover from the tissue breakdown it experienced during the workout session and if you’re off doing cardio training, you just aren’t giving it that rest that it needs.
You should aim to have at least one full day of complete rest each week and then should also be taking at least 48 hours of rest between working a given muscle group again after a workout session.
Skip over rest and you will skip over results.
Requirement #3: Adequate Nutrition
The third requirement that you must note if you want to learn how to build muscle is adequate nutrition. Many women struggle with this one as well as they’re perpetually on a diet program.
They firmly believe that they are on a road to gaining body fat so they are aiming to eat as few calories as they possibly can each and every day.
The end result of this is that they suffer from a slower metabolism than normal and are definitely not going to be building any lean muscle mass.
If anything, they’ll be burning up lean muscle mass because they aren’t taking in enough calories or the right type.
In order to build more lean muscle mass, you must consume more energy than you burn off over the course of the day. If you don’t, you’re literally trying to build something out of nothing – it’s just not going to happen.
Eating a slightly higher amount of calories and making sure to provide the body with both lean proteins to provide the building blocks to build the new muscle with as well as carbohydrates to provide the energy to generate that muscle with will be essential.
If you aren’t providing the body with these nutrients that it needs, you won’t be seeing any changes taking place.
Requirement #4: Female Specific Concerns
Finally, the last point to note with regards to how to build muscle for women are the female specific concerns that you need to consider.
As a woman, you are likely looking for slightly leaner and longer musculature, so for this reason, you will want to turn towards slightly higher rep ranges than what your male counterparts may be using.
There’s no reason to be performing 20+ reps per set that you do as that will require you to use far less weight than you should be, which means you won’t be challenged.
But, taking your rep range up to around 8-12 reps for most exercises will be a smart plan. This will allow you to still lift a heavy enough weight to see good results, but the metabolic boosting benefits you’ll get will be slightly higher and you’ll be doing more to produce greater muscle tone than actual muscle size.
Women who are going about their workout program may also want to consider keeping the overall rest breaks they’re using lower as well between exercises, as this too can help out to keep you leaner as you go about the process of building muscle.
If you are sure to keep these points in mind though and aren’t afraid to challenge yourself – lifting heavier weight than what you were used to before, you can see the results that you’re looking for.
Don’t let yourself shy away from this powerful form of workout any longer. You really will be far happier with your body if you turn to weight lifting rather than performing cardio session after cardio session.
[stextbox id=”grey” caption=”About the Author”]Shannon Clark holds a degree in Exercise Science from the University of Alberta, where she specialized in Sports Performance and Psychology. In addition to her degree, she is an AFLCA certified personal trainer and has been working in the field for over 8 years now.[/stextbox]
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