Should women train in the same way as men?

Should women train in the same way as men?

Historically women have been led to think they can’t reach the same physical strength as men, or have been discouraged from doing certain types of sports, or weight training, for fear of gaining an “unfeminine physique”. However, women can and should train in the same way as men. 

Rather than generalising by gender, it’s important to realise that everyone is different – regardless of whether man or woman. More and more women are realising that their ability to achieve what men can is entirely possible.

For women, lifting weights is one of the most effective ways for a woman to improve physique.  The way women are designed means that by lifting sensibly, fat will be burned from areas it’s not wanted, and muscles will become toned. Women won’t bulk up – which is a common myth – from lifting, as most women just don’t have the level of testosterone necessary to support a bulky body.

Whereas spending an hour on the treadmill can be dull and uninspiring, training which includes deadlifts, push-ups, and other strength moves can make a workout more interesting, and long-term achieve better results.

In most cases both men and women should train largely in the same way – however there are obvious exceptions (like pregnant women).  Exercise programmes should be tailored to the individual’s goals, rather than gender.

Exercising three-five days a week using compound, combination and full body movements like squats, press ups, kettlebells and interval training, will achieve a strong and sculpted body.

Women may wish to steer clear from quad exercise that enhance their thighs as these muscles are naturally dominant in women, so there are things that women may want to focus less on than men, and often pull-ups are a bigger challenge for women as naturally upper body strength isn’t as high as men naturally.

However this is not to say it can’t be improved by spending more time on these areas.

Physiologically women are better built for fast-paced circuit-style workouts than men, are less powerful generally, due to lower muscle mass, but they also have greater recovery rates.

Where men and women can do the same exercises, it’s important to know that how they’re applied and structured can determine their effectiveness. Women can benefit hugely from doing similar training to men if they just tailor it to their needs.

The Author

Laura Briggs

Laura loves running, Pilates and Yoga, and is forever trying to find the time to fit these activities into her life around a busy family. When she's got time to herself you might find her knitting, or in the kitchen trying out an elaborate recipe - healthy of course!.


Mike D.
8 February 2016

Mike D.

Matthew, my partner does lots of free weights at the gym - definitely not just for men.

Matthew C.
4 February 2016

Matthew C.

try telling my partner this. She won't go in the weights section at the gym as sees it as 'for men'.

Emma C.
3 February 2016

Emma C.

Already having a fairly strong, muscular build, I am too worried about increasing this and looking too bulky, so I deliberately don't do too many arm exercises. If I do choose any, I certainly wouldn't do the ones designed to bulk you up like a man would probably want to!

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