Are you looking to build muscle as a woman? If so, you're in luck! Many amazing workout programs can help you achieve the goals you've always had in mind.
This post will share some of our favorite programs for women who want to build muscle. We'll also give some tips on how to benefit maximum from your workouts. We hope this post will be helpful whether you're just starting or working out for a while.
Let's get started!
But wait for a little: here's the catch!
Women have a higher body fat ratio than males, meaning they must work harder to lose fat and let their muscles become visible. Women also have less muscle mass than men, so they may see less progress even when working hard to build muscle.
Additionally, research suggests that women's bodies may be less responsive to traditional muscle-building exercises, making it even more difficult to build muscle. However, women can take effective steps to build muscle, such as eating a well-balanced diet and participating in regular strength-training exercises.
With dedication and determination, any woman can achieve her desired level of muscle development.
So, now, let's get started (really).
Should Women Build Muscles?
First things first, should women even build muscle? Isn't muscle very masculine in general? Most people worldwide don't think muscle and the gym are a gal thing!
Well, now that it's come to that, we need a bit of education, and that is:
Muscle benefits everyone regardless of gender, caste, color, or race. Muscle strengthens the bones, and joints, adds strength, burns more calories, and keeps you healthy and fit whether you are a man or a woman.
So, you should be moving towards a muscle-building fitness regimen if you are a woman.
NO second thoughts are allowed on this one.
The only thing that differentiates between men and women concerning muscle building is the speed of muscle building.
As I briefly mentioned above, because of the higher innate fat-to-muscle ratio in men, you see men making faster progress in muscle growth. Male bodies have higher testosterone levels, and that helps them gain lean mass faster than women. Female bodies have low testosterone, so muscle gain takes time.
Other than that, you'll be doing the same things as men do to gain muscle, like investing good time in strength training, eating more protein, sleeping well, taking your natural and safe supplements, and burning some fat to let those hidden muscles see the light of the day!
And it works whether or not you are a female.
The next legit question is, "how to eat?"
What Foods Should I Eat to Gain Muscle?
All that works for men works for women, too, for muscle building. So there won't be separate diet suggestions for women regarding gaining muscle mass.
Several different foods can augment muscle building. One of the most important nutrients for muscle growth is protein.
Let's go through the exact process of building muscles with protein.
Proteins are the building blocks of muscle tissue, so it stands to reason that consuming enough protein is essential for gaining muscle mass. But how exactly does protein promote muscle growth?
The answer lies in the amino acids that make up protein molecules. Amino acids are the compound units that form proteins and play a vital role in many cellular processes. The body can produce some amino acids, but others, known as essential amino acids, must be obtained from the diet.
During exercise, muscles are broken down and damaged, leading to a need for additional amino acids. Consuming protein provides the amino acids needed to repair and rebuild muscle tissue. In addition, amino acids stimulate the production of new muscle cells, resulting in increased muscle mass over time.
Protein can be found in various food sources, including meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products. There are many plant protein options for vegans and vegetarians too.
In addition to protein and amino acids, other nutrients important for muscle growth include creatine, which helps supply energy to working muscles. When choosing foods that will help build muscle, it is important to eat a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods like carbs and good fats.
Carbs are essential because our bodies use glucose as fuel during exercise. With more glucose in your system, you'll find it easy to go through even the most daunting routine. With a fuel deficit, it'll become hard to keep up with the workout routine.
Without carbs as fuel, your body uses deposited fat for energy generation. That's exactly how fat burn works. So, you need to have both carbs and fats in place to enable your body for strength training. That's a prerequisite for muscle building.
Including various nutrient-dense foods in your diet will give your body the tools to build strong, healthy muscles.
5 Muscle-Building Workouts for Women
Now that we know how to build muscle as a woman let's look at some specific workouts that can help.
We are putting together a plan for beginners, and for that purpose, compound exercises serve the purpose perfectly. They work all major muscle groups and train and tone the whole body with fewer exercises. That means a simpler workout with a bigger impact and better results.
1. Goblet Squats
The goblet squat, which primarily builds leg muscles, is a must-have in any exercise routine. It benefits the hips, calves, hamstrings, abs, glutes, and lower back by developing strength and power while reducing calories. Additionally, it prevents injuries and improves athletic ability.
- Choose a dumbbell and hold it at your chest level. Put each hand under the edge of the dumbbell.
- Bend your knees slightly, then push your hips back to squat.
- Once your thighs get paralleled to the floor, reverse.
- Make sure to keep your core braced throughout the exercise and push back through the heels of the foot.
- Repeat for the desired number of reps.
2. Dumbbell Lunges
When done correctly, dumbbell lunges are an excellent way to build strength in your quads. They also target your calves, glutes, and hamstrings as secondary muscles.
The form is key when performing any exercise, especially if you want to focus on the right muscles without inviting injury. This exercise will also improve your balance and help you build muscle to reach your fitness goals more quickly.
- Grab a set of dumbbells and stand tall with your feet shoulder width distance apart.
- Take a step backwards with one leg, supporting yourself on the forefoot of that moving leg.
- Once stable, bend both knees, controlling yourself towards the floor.
- Once both thighs are parallel with the floor, explode off your back foot and stand tall.
- Repeat on the other side.
Deadlifts are an excellent all-over strength and muscle-building exercise. They seem like they work only your arms and quads, but in reality, they involve whole host muscles all over the body, like the Abs, Adductors, Calves, Forearms, Glutes, Hamstrings, Lats, Lower Back, Middle Back, Quads, Traps, and Upper Back.
Also, there are quite a few variations when it comes to deadlifts that you can employ to challenge your muscles in a new way.
- Assume a hip-width stance and place the bar above your shoelaces.
- Hinge forward and push your hips back, so your torso gets parallel to the floor.
- Pick up the bar with a double overhand grip and pull it slightly. Make sure your armpits are positioned above the bar and are squeezed.
- As you drop your hips, pull up the bar.
- Ensure that you’ve pulled the bar up in a straight line as you pick the bar up.
- Make sure to keep your weight divided in the whole foot equally.
- Once your hips are locked out, reverse your movement to return to the starting position.
- Repeat for the desired number of reps.
4. Banded Shoulder Press
The shoulder press provides many benefits, such as strengthening your shoulders and upper back. The front portion of your shoulder muscle (anterior deltoid) will increase in size the most from this exercise, but you'll also be working out your deltoids, triceps, trapezius, and pecs.
Not only do your muscles get stronger from the shoulder press, but the added pressure on your bones also increases their density, which helps prevent osteoporosis.
- Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, step on one side of the band and hold the other side of the resistance band in each hand with your palms facing forward.
- Raise your arms to shoulder height, keeping your elbows and wrists in line with your shoulders.
- From here, press the bands overhead, extending your arms fully.
- Return to the starting position.
- Repeat for the desired number of reps.
Resistance bands are proven to build and strengthen muscles like their free-weight counterparts and are much lighter on the joints. So, it's a great idea to choose banded exercises if you have joint problems or want to avoid any in the future.
5. Banded Pull-Ups
There's no doubt that banded pull-ups are the best exercise for training your back and upper body muscles. Not only do they effectively tone your arms, but they also give them a defined look. Plus, with the help of a pull-up bar and a band, you can exercise in the comfort of your home.
Not to mention, doing banded pull-ups is also a great way to gauge your upper body strength. Since it's a compound exercise that uses bodyweight resistance, multiple muscle groups are engaged when pulling the body up - making it one of the most effective exercises.
- Stand under a pull-up bar, place the band under one foot and hold with a strong overhand grip. Your hands should be a little further from shoulder width apart.
- Hang with the bar with your arms completely extended.
- If your feet touch the ground you will have to put the band under one or both knees.
- Now bend your elbows, keep your core engaged and shoulders back, and pull your body upwards.
- Move slowly until your chin is above the bar.
- Gradually lower yourself and keep breathing.
Workout Routine for the Week
- Monday: Work out
- Tuesday: Rest
- Wednesday: Work out (even if sore)
- Thursday: Rest
- Friday: Work out (even if sore)
- Saturday: Rest
- Sunday: Rest (full recovery)
1. How many days a week should I work out to build muscle as a female?
For most, at least 3 days a week is a good start. However, 5 days a week may work best if you want to build muscle quickly. Remember that you will need to give your muscles time to recover between workouts, so don't overdo it!
If you are just starting, begin with 3 days a week and see how your body responds. You can always add more days as you go along. Just be sure to listen to your body and give yourself enough rest.
2. What workouts give you more muscle as a female?
Include exercises such as push-ups, squats, shrugs, curls, triceps dips, deadlifts, lunges, and chest presses in your routine. These exercises target multiple muscles simultaneously and are quite effective when building muscle mass.
3. How much muscle can a woman gain in a month?
According to Brace, diet, age, and fitness level, all play a role in muscle gain. He explains that, on average, women see monthly muscle gains of 0.5-1.5 pounds while men bulk up slightly faster at 1-2 monthly due to higher testosterone levels.
The Bottom Line
Being skinny isn't always what we want as women. Sometimes we want to put on a little bit of muscle. However, for some of us, this can be difficult. To build muscle as a woman, you need to do more than just hit the gym – focus on your diet and ensure you're getting enough protein. Luckily, we've got you covered with necessary tips for Building Muscle as a Woman, along with 5 workouts that work wonders without occupying you for hours.
- Craft, Baine B., et al. “Gender Differences in Exercise Habits and Quality of Life Reports: Assessing the Moderating Effects of Reasons for Exercise.” International Journal of Liberal Arts and Social Science, vol. 2, no. 5, June 2014, pp. 65–76. PubMed Central, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5033515/.