How Can A Woman Get Strong And NOT Bulky

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Follow these resistance training guidelines for a fit and feminie physique. Tips from a trainer on how any woman can get strong not bulky.

Strength training is a fundamental element to fitness. It is not just for those that want to have big muscles or be able to lift a lot of weight. Strength training is really something that everyone should incorporate into their routine, especially women.

By following a consistent but varied strength routine and eating to maintain or improve body composition, is how any woman can get strong not bulky.

Can you be strong without looking bulky?

Comparison picture to show how to get strong and not bulky

Regardless of your strength goals, the reason for hesistation towards weight lifting tends to be the same. Many women fear that if they lift weights, they will grow a lot of muscle mass. They either think or have been told that if they strength train, they will look “like a bodybuilder.”

But as a woman who has lifted A LOT of weights frequently for years, I can tell you it is very, very hard. Yes, some women (like myself) tend to put muscle on easier or faster than others. But there is quite a bit of factors that go into muscle growth.

As an experienced lifter and trainer, I can assure you that you can get stronger without looking bulky.

As a woman, you won’t gain significant muscle mass unless you follow a strict hypertrophy program and supplement/diet to achieve major muscle growth. Even still, it takes a lot of time to see significant mass gain as a woman.

As far as diet, you need to consume a surplus of calories to put on muscle mass. However, if you consume too many extra calories, you will most likely see an increase in bodyfat rather than muscle mass.

But putting on muscle mass is hard. You need to program your workouts within specific parameters. These include, reps, sets, intensity, frequency, rest intervals, and even time under tension.

These are lot of things to get right and “accidently” result in a bulky physique. And to give you my honest opinion as an athlete, this type of goal can be pretty grueling for women because you’re fighting biology.

I would consider myself as a woman who is gifted in strength and muscle. However, it took A LOT of focus, work, and consistency for me to gain the muscle mass I have. Not to mention time. So if you have had that concern, you can let it go and pick up the weights!

As a woman, you can get strong and not bulky with consistent resistance training.

How to get lean instead of bulky as a female?

The key to looking lean and toned is by decreasing bodyfat while increasing muscle, therefore improving body composition. The most effective way to improve body composition is with resistance training.

Resistance training each major muscle group at least twice a week will increase muscle mass and strength adaptations. Increasing your muscle mass will boost metabolism for higher calorie expenditure (and increased fat burn) while also increasing strength capabilities.

There are three forms of resistance training; muscular endurance, hypertrophy, and muscular strength.

All forms of resistance training will result in an increase of strength. However, each form will result in a different muscular response. Let’s get into the nitty gritty of those parameters I spoke about earlier.

Muscular endurance training improves the duration of work a muscle can endure before fatigue. This is performed with light intensity (weight) and high volume (reps and sets) with shorter rest breaks.

Hypertrophy training increases the muscle size. This is done with a moderate to heavy intensity, slightly less volume, and longer breaks.

Muscular strength training increases the force capability of the muscle within each movement (think “1-rep max”). This is performed with heavy intensity, low volume, and long rest breaks.

RepsSetsIntensity (weight)Rest between sets
Muscular Endurance15+2-4Light30 seconds
Hypertrophy8-123-4Moderate-Heavy60-90 seconds
Muscular Strength1-64-6Heavy2-5 minutes

To efficiently improve lean muscle and strength without adding bulk, women should vary their strength routine between muscular endurance, hypertrophy, and muscular strength programming.

This can be achieved by adjusting the duration, volume, intensity, rest time, and exercise selection within each workout through the course of the training program.

Sequencing your training focus will provide variation and encourage strength progression, without causing too much muscle mass growth. This approach is ideal for any woman looking to get strong not bulky.

Variation keeps the body guessing (what I like to call “shocking the body”) and helps to boost metabolism while preventing stagnation and promote continued adaptation.

Follow my workout routine to get strong not bulky

If you need some guidance, I have a an entire 4-Week Strength Workout Routine that you can follow at home, for completely FREE! Check it out and download yours to get started today.

workout calender download of strength workouts

This workout routine is designed for busy moms that are looking to improve full body strength. Created with a variety of fun at home workouts that require minimal equipment and space!

Why all women should strength train

Strength training of course helps you get stronger…duh. But women should be looking to maintain and improve their strength, especially before and after pregnancy.

Benefits of strength training for women is support for your joint mobility, posture, balance, body composition, and bone density.

All of these are apsects of health that are affected by having babies. And not only are these important around the pre- and postnatal phases of motherhood, but after too!

Babies need carried all the time. Toddlers are constantly needing picked up, moved around, and chased after. Little ones need to be lifted into carseats. Kids need a teammate to practice their sports with.

Chores need done. Things like lifting the laundry basket, moving the furniture to clean, and grocery shopping. Sounds like heav lifting to me, especially those groceries from the car to the house!

Yard work needs tending to. Things like mowing, pulling weeds, and mulching the flower beds. Driveways need shoveled and salted.

There are so many things that we do everyday that require some serious strength. Even if it is not a lot, the daily tasks can be easier if you have some muscle to put behind it.

All women can benefit from the boost in self confidence they get when they feel strong. Being able to feel your progress and strength gains is extremely empowering.

From doing your first deadlift, chin up, or push up. That is why I always encourage women to strength train. Because it makes you feel good, inside and out.

tire flip exercise for woman to get strong

Do you have to lift weights to strength train?

No! Your body doesn’t know the difference between a weight, a rock, a band, or even another person’s resistance. All it know is resistance. So any kind of equipment or even bodyweight exercises that utilize different weight distributions can be used. If you are new to strength training then bodyweight, bands, dumbbells, and kettlebells are fanastic ways to get started.

You CAN be a woman that’s strong not bulky

At the end of the day, incorporate resistance training, work the full body, and challenge your muscles. You don’t need to make it complicated. Lift heavy, lift light, lift frequently. Mix it up and you will feel the strength gains as you build lean muscle tone and empower your body and mind!

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2 Comments

  1. I’m just starting on strength training. Thank you for this info!

  2. Thank you for this! I’ve been interested in lifting weights for a while now, and this gave me some very helpful info!!

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