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Saturday, March 2, 2024
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The New Science of Women Who Lift – Bigger Stronger Leaner – COMMUNITY


6 Discoveries About Women’s Muscles

Researchers are finally taking a closer look at women who lift weights. Here are six findings about exercise, protein intake, metabolism, and more.


When T Nation first launched, we spent a lot of time trying to convince women to pick up the weights. Back then, there were a lot of myths. Today, more women than ever are lifting weights. Maybe we helped. Fortunately, science is also starting to focus on female muscle and nutrition.

Here are six quick study summaries for women who lift weights and men who love women who lift weights. (Note: Much of this information comes from T Nation contributor Dr. Bill Campbell. I will be quoting him extensively.)

1. Want a better metabolism?eat more, train more

Your metabolic rate depends largely on your overall size. Larger people generally have higher resting metabolic rates (RMR). But as Dr. Bill Campbell points out, there are other variables involved.

In a study of male and female endurance athletes, muscle mass was the best predictor of RMR in men. We expected it. But in women, the best predictor was calorie/food intake (1). In short, the women with the highest metabolisms ate a lot and trained a lot. They lift weights, do cardio, and aren’t shy at the dinner table.

Dr. Campbell warns, “A good way to slow down your metabolism is to do the opposite — cutting calories instead of exercising!” Sounds like the typical frustrated yo-yo dieter, doesn’t it?

You may have heard this called “energy flux’ It basically means eating a lot of calories and then expending a lot of them through regular exercise: eat a lot, train a lot.

This should drive another nail in the “hunger and cardio” coffin. The best female metabolisms, and the best looking bodies, are built by eating lots of healthy food, lifting lots of bars, and doing conditioning work.

Want to be a superior woman CrossFit athlete: They do a lot of training in various ways. Although most of them will choose healthy food, they will certainly not adopt a low-calorie diet. result? High performance body, super fast metabolism and lean body.

2. Want to participate in the gymnastics show?lose 17 lbs

According to seven published case studies, women competing in bodybuilding competitions need to lose about 17 pounds (or 11 percent of their body weight) on average to be ready for the stage. The average man needs to lose about 27 pounds. Granted, that’s a rough average, but it’s still fun.

I’m not sure about women, but men generally underestimate how much fat they need to lose to compete. The average person thinks he’s 10-15 lbs away from being ripped. At least, it’s usually twice as much, according to the study. (Let’s also remember that being “ready” is often not sustainable, or even healthy.)

Relatedly, for a woman to have a visible 6-pack, as measured by skinfolds or ultrasound, her body fat percentage needs to be around 10-11%. As Dr. Campbell reminds us, trying to maintain a six-pack year-round isn’t healthy for the vast majority of women.

3. Want to lose fat?increase protein

In a study conducted in Dr. Campbell’s own Physique Lab, women were divided into two groups:

  • One group added 250 calories to their diet, all from protein.
  • One group cut 300 calories from their diet, all from protein.

After 8 weeks, the group that increased their calorie and protein intake lost 2 percent body fat. The low-calorie, low-protein group experienced little or no reduction in body fat, perhaps 1% (2).

Do you understand it? Women lost more fat by eating 300 more calories if those extra calories came from protein and they were lifting weights.

“This study has influenced how I think about protein intake,” Dr. Campbell noted. “I used to think that if you added calories, you’d gain weight. I still think that’s generally true, but now I understand that if you add calories in the form of protein—and you’re doing resistance training—there’s Possibly lose body fat.”

4. Want more muscle?eat the right amount of this macro

If a 140 lb woman eats about 100 grams protein Every day, she maximizes muscle gain. That’s about 0.75 grams of protein per pound of body weight. (3) (4)

As Dr. Campbell points out, the average woman probably thinks that’s a lot of protein. Yet a dedicated female weightlifter might say the same thing the girl who took my virginity said: “Is that so?”

In short, if a weightlifting woman isn’t getting enough protein to increase her muscle mass, increasing to 0.75 g/lb is fine. But some studies show that going above that number doesn’t do much for muscle growth.

Does the extra protein “turn to fat?” Not necessarily; if she’s lifting weights, it might even reduce body fat. (2)

In fact, Dr. Campbell recommends 0.75 g/lb as the minimum daily protein intake for women to look good naked. If you go a little over that number, don’t expect further muscle gain, but it won’t hurt either. The extra protein may keep you full longer and displace more fattening foods.

Simple solutions for women?drink something like one or two protein shakes per day Metabolic Drive®.

That’s 44 grams of high-quality protein. The rest are easily obtained from other foods.

5. Like lifting weights?Use almost any rep range you want

In a study by sports scientist Jason Cholewa, two groups of novice women underwent the same weightlifting program three days a week for nine weeks. (6) However…

  • One set used a moderate load and reached technical failure at 10-14 repetitions.
  • One group used heavier loads and experienced technical failure at 5-7 reps.

result? Both groups gained almost exactly the same amount of muscle: 3.5 pounds. This would lead us to believe that if the sets are intense, the rep range doesn’t matter — perform to failure or near failure (but without losing good form).

Some notes:

These are newbies to resistance training. A more experienced woman may want to take the time to use all effective rep ranges, especially if she wants to continue getting stronger.

Also, this was only a 9-week study. If you look closely at the “statistically insignificant” numbers, the medium-rep group gained 3.5 pounds of muscle, while the low-rep group gained 3.3 pounds. Now, extend that study to a year or more. These small parts can add up to add extra muscle.

But really, we’re splitting hairs. The lesson here? All rep ranges can build muscle if the last rep is challenging enough. The same goes for men.

6. Want to become stronger?lift more than you think

Three studies show that women who want to get stronger are just not lifting enough weight to achieve their goals. (6) (7) (8)

To build maximal strength, women must lift over 85% of their 1 rep maximum. In these studies, when women were allowed to “self-select their load,” or choose their own weight, both untrained and experienced women fell below this amount.

I suspect most of these women sandbag it out of laziness. My hypothesis: they may be playing it safe, or just underestimating themselves. (Men usually do the opposite of both.)

Ask any good trainer and they’ll say their female clients can often hit their 5-rep goal with more weight than they ever thought possible. Most women are stronger than they think.

refer to

refer to

  1. Thompson J. Prediction and measurement of resting metabolic rate in male and female endurance athletes. I Dietetic Association. 1996 Jan;96(1):30-4. PubMed.

  2. Campbell BI et al. Effects of high versus low protein intake on body composition and maximal strength in aspiring female physique athletes participating in an 8-week resistance training program. Int Nutr Exercise Metab. 2018 Nov 1;28(6):580-585. PubMed.

  3. Antonio J et al. Effects of consumption of a high-protein diet (4.4 g/kg/d) on body composition in resistance-trained individuals. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. May 12, 2014; 11:19. PubMed.

  4. Antonio J et al. A high-protein diet (3.4 g/kg/d) combined with a high-intensity resistance training program improves body composition in healthy trained men and women–a follow-up investigation. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. Oct 20, 2015; 12:39. PubMed.

  5. Cholewa JM et al. Effects of moderate versus high load resistance training on muscle growth, body composition, and performance in college women. J Strength Cond Res. 2018 Jun;32(6):1511-1524. PubMed.

  6. Glass SC et al. Novice lifters choose their own resistance training intensity. J Strength Cond Res. 2004 May;18(2):324-7. PubMed.

  7. Fochette BC. Perceived exercise volume and training load in untrained women during self-selected and intensive-intensity resistance exercise. J Strength Cond Res. 2007 Feb;21(1):183-7. PubMed.

  8. Cotter JA et al. Perceived exertion ratings during acute resistance exercise with imposed and voluntary loads in recreationally trained women. J Strength condition Res. 2017 Aug;31(8):2313-2318. PubMed.

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