One of the biggest fears of many women is to build up massive muscles through strength training and thus to get a male figure. As a woman you want to look feminine, delicate, and crisp, not masculine, massive, and bulky. For this very reason, many women like to take a break from intensive strength training in the fitness club. For those who dare to do so, it is often suggested to train with little weight and a lot of repetitions, so that no gigantic muscles are formed.
Before a woman thinks about “man-like” muscles, she should take a little look behind the scenes and see the differences between men and women. It is certain that men and women are equally capable of building muscles, the big difference is hidden in the extent and is mainly due to the predominant sex hormones and their effect on muscle building. In men, testosterone dominates (10-20 times more than women).
This hormone has the property of promoting anabolic processes in muscle metabolism and is the reason why men have significantly more muscle mass than women. The sex hormone estrogen, which dominates in women, has far less anabolic properties and thus limits the potential for muscle growth. What is often seen in the bodybuilding scene is in many cases where we can observe the use of anabolic steroids.
Also, a recent study by the University of California has shown that strength training for men deactivates the messenger substance myostatin, which inhibits muscle growth in humans. No inhibition whatsoever could be proven in women, which means that muscle growth in women is permanently inhibited.
Under normal conditions, the woman’s body does not allow for gigantic muscles – regardless of whether training is done in the high repetition range with little weight or with few repetitions and heavy weights. With a high number of repetitions, you train a little more your strength endurance, with a little less the maximum strength – here is the only difference.