Effective Training

Is Strength Training Different For Men & Women?

Written By: Kripa Jalan

Is Strength Training Different For Men & Women?

Here’s something that may shock you:

There’s no reason everybody (of any gender or sex) shouldn’t train the same way.

Sure, there are biological differences between the sexes (more on this below.) But, you needn’t worry about it.

What is strength training?

Strength training is using muscular force against resistance. Muscles adapt to any type of resistance.

The resistance can be a heavy object, one’s body weight, elastic resistance from bands, or other types of machine resistance. The heavy object could be a kettlebell, free weight, a rock, another person — anything that has mass.

Here’s why you should strength train:

  1. Less risk of injury - when you build strong muscles, you’re also building stronger bones, ligaments, and tendons, making you less prone to injury.
  2. Combat age-related muscle loss – Typically women tend to lose 8-10% of their muscle mass per decade, post the age of 30. 
  3. Pain reduction - A strong body makes living easier on your joints, as well as allows you to hold a better posture and reduce back / hip pain.
  4. Better body composition ¬– Women who gain muscle mass while maintaining lower amounts of body fat appear tighter, firmer, and more “toned.”
  5. Improved functionality & insulin sensitivity - Larger muscles are often stronger muscles, leading to improved daily functioning in most individuals. 

“But I don’t want to get bulky”

If you see a woman who is spectacularly muscular and has an extremely low body fat percentage (yes, that very image you’re picturing) – I assure you that’s not something that’s happened overnight or without intention.

She’s probably worked at it really hard towards that very specific goal. She’s eaten, trained, and potentially taken supplements specifically so they can look like that! Which is great. Good for her.

Women simply do not have the amount of testosterone as biological males to get there that easily.

Will I lose weight?

Your weight comprises muscle, fat, blood bones, and other stuff.

Fat and muscle are two separate things. One cannot become another.

The truth is that we all have muscle mass. It’s just hidden below a layer of fat. The degree of course varies from person to person.

To get leaner, we need two things:

  1. Stronger muscles
  2. A reduction in the layer of fat that covers those muscles

Fortunately, both happen through strength training (just not magically, or overnight.)

Can I spot reduce fat?


Side bends don’t get rid of love handles. 

Sit-ups will not remove belly fat. 

No amount of targeted exercise will change how that fat disappears.

You need to work on reducing your body fat % as a whole and your body will respond in the manner (and sequence) it’s genetically disposed to.

Okay, how much weight should I lift?

If you’re starting with dumbbells or kettlebells try to hit the sweet spot between “too light” and “too heavy”. Your form is of utmost importance.

If you’re starting with a barbell – an empty one is recommended. Once again, your form is of utmost importance.

How well you’re moving trumps how much you’re lifting.

How often should I lift?

2 to 3.5 hours per week of strength training, divided over the course of the week, is enough for most people. 

For women specifically, we recommend at least 2 strength sessions a week.

That’s the baseline i.e. your safety net!


Do a strength training workout this week! The most important step you can do is to actually start. 

Training at home? Perfect. 

Heading to the gym? Great!

You got this. You can do it! 

How do I know? I’ve been where you have and I’ve seen several of my clients there too!