Women still stick to the myth that weight training will make their muscles big – to their fear. Despite the contrary evidences, they are so stuck to this myth that they resort to a unicorn-ish attribute of gaining ‘muscle tone’ with sub-threshold weights. These weights are known to be too light to initiate effective muscle remodeling.

A study by Cotter et al., (2017) indicated that a sect of women who were training alone had self-selected sub-threshold weights that were 57% of what they ought to lift for a rep. The women had rated this 57% culminated in sets as ‘somewhat hard’, and had attributed to why they did not make any greater progress in the gym. However, a noted problem may be on amount of effort they assert to their sets and not on the amount of weight used.

Dominantly, women exhibit sort of low-effort workouts caused by fear of getting bulky. This even explains why they cannot get their bodies shaped to the goddamn swimsuit feature they desire to have. It started along way back and will not end until someone removes this concrete myth that weight lifting and/or working harder will make them gnarly and bumpy like their aunt who had worked on the docks.

One group of researchers studied on this same subject and found that it did not matter how heavy the weight lifted was but some effort had to be seen, for example, certain degree of effort while teeth-clenching. However, both heavy weight lifting and teeth-clenching effort led to a body composition that is modest and favorable. That kind of body composition featured increased strength, slightly more rounded muscle bellies and very less fat. None of these approaches made them look remotely as the case of a pimply-backed, fireplug guy in most or all America gyms. You will find these kinds in a dark and musty corner of a gym, squatting about 500 pounds on multiple reps sessions, and their biceps bigger than their heads.

What did they do?

The Coastal Carolina Researchers selected 20 female students and divided them into two groups. Each group were put to a training involving upper body (two times a week) and another involving the lower body (once per week). And the entire session was set to take 8 weeks.

So, as one group trained with heavier weights for sets of 5 to 6 reps doing an average of 6 to 7 exercises, the other group settled for lighter weights and did sets of 10 to 12 reps on a same average of exercises. Each set depicted a momentary failure on all test subjects.


Both of the groups (the heavy weight and lighter weight) had similarly become leaner, but the lower body had become much leaner than the upper body. There was an increase in thigh cross-sectional area, lean body mass, chest pass velocity with a medicine ball, back squat maximum, overhead press and vertical jump. Similarly, both groups had significantly ripped off some amounts of body fats.

The gains depicted were modest. The test subjects had relatively gained a small size in the cross-sectional area of their thighs but none of the gains was evitable on their upper body.

The study expressed its conclusion as; the data obtained in the research work further debunks the crazy myths that may be stopping the younger women from strength training for fear of excessive hypertrophy.

Lessons to be learnt

For women to change their bodies, they should use weights that are at least 50% of 1RM. When they lose the status of their novice, that weight may require an adjustment. In short, they may need something heavier and challenging.

Training with 50% of 1RM may be useless unless women train with intensity and consistency for an adequate time until they reach a momentary failure point. This phase is where they cannot do any additional rep. They further need to stop their fear of grimacing (or making ugly faces). It will work when they stop and overcome their fear of becoming unfeminine, at least for some couple of seconds.

Be it heavier weights on less reps or lighter weights on more reps, they are not going to be that bulkier they imagine of. Only they need to know that they should not take drastic changes to increase the training intensity, volume and diet (e.g. more calories and more protein).

And for result to be optimal, protein adjustment to 2.0 grams per Kg bodyweight may be recommended to women in this fit. This considers women seeking to have a beach bod and those who want muscle mass gain to appreciable amounts.