• Zach

Part 3: Does Lifting Weights Make Girls Look Bulky?

Welcome back for Part 2 of “I want to start working out. Why should I lift weights and where do I even start?”

We left off on the last post talking about the common objections people have to lifting weights. For review, those were:

1) “Won’t lifting weights make me ‘bulky’ and look manly if I’m a female?”

2) “Isn’t weight training dangerous? I’ve heard of a lot of people that hurt their backs or have bad knees from lifting weights.”

3) “I have a previous injury or nagging pain that makes it impossible for me to lift weights.”

4) “I’m way too old to lift weights.”

You might remember that I linked a video of an 89 year old man deadlifting 405 pounds for a double at the end of the last post. That should take care of the “I’m way too old to lift weights” concern, but we’ll still go into more detail on that later.

Let’s start this post off by talking about the first concern regarding females becoming ‘bulky’ or ‘manly-looking’ if they start lifting weights. (Image below from Flickr)


(And as always, none of the information provided here should be considered medical advice. It is for informational/entertainment purposes only. Always consult your doctor for medical advice or before starting a new exercise or nutrition program)

First off, just take a second and think about how hard MEN have to try to look ‘manly’ from lifting weights. For every lady worried about getting ‘too big’ from lifting weights, there’s a poor skinny guy somewhere who can’t seem to put on muscle to save his life no matter how hard he trains.

It’s a lot harder than most people think to put on muscle and it doesn’t happen by accident.

Sure, you probably will notice some “novice gains” muscle growth over the first few weeks and months of you starting to weight train properly. But if you’re worried about accidentally looking like the next Miss Olympia after six months of weight training, let me assure you that you can rest easy knowing that will NEVER happen without you being very intentional about trying to look that way (and even then, it won’t happen in six months).

In order to put on significant amounts of muscle, you will have to train consistently (which does NOT mean every day as “consistently” often gets confused with) at a high level of intensity in order to stimulate your muscles to grow. Not only does this burn significantly more calories than you are probably burning right now if you aren’t training, but the muscle you put on requires more calories for repair, more calories to grow, and more calories to simply maintain.

As you get stronger, put on some muscle, and begin training more intensely, you’ll actually find it difficult to even take in enough calories to keep up with your increased level of activity on top of the caloric requirements to repair and simply maintain your muscle composition - FAR LESS put on excessive amounts of muscle.

What does that actually mean in simple terms?

It means that you’re actually likely to gain a little bit of muscle and lose a little bit of fat when you start strength training with barbells for the first time (or the first time in a while).

Plus, why wouldn’t you want to feel a little bit physically stronger in general if you have the option?

To recap, strength training with barbells does NOT:


  • Automatically turn you into a hulked-out bodybuilder

  • Inherently cause you to gain fat or excessive amounts of muscle

  • Raise your testosterone levels so you start growing chest hair, reduce breast size, cause acne, give you cancer, make you stupid, cause loss of bladder control, smelly breath, painful fingernails, tingling shins, dancing belly buttons, make your straight hair go curly, or any other equally outlandish thing with no basis in fact (ridiculous examples used for illustrative purposes only)


Strength training with barbells DOES:

  • Encourage muscle growth if you are eating enough to support muscle growth

  • Encourage fat loss through increased caloric expenditure and increased caloric consumption by your body to repair, grow, and maintain new muscle

  • Potentially make you less susceptible to bone, muscle, and joint injuries

  • Make you stronger, help you look leaner and stronger, and help you feel more confident

Image Source Here (Flickr.com)

If you’re still not sold ladies, I’ve listed five very strong women of various ages from 25 to 43 (see if you can guess their ages!) below who train with barbells. Check out their Instagram profiles to see what women who train with barbells look like (Instagram handles in parentheses).

Lauren Fisher (@laurenfisher)

Marisa Inda (@marisainda)

Bonnie Shroeder (@bonschro)

Liz Ribaudo (@lizribaudo)

Alena Alsruhe (@alenarose620)

Plus, barbells bring out your mad dance skills too.

Check back next time when we cover the second objection:

2) “Isn’t weight training dangerous? I’ve heard of a lot of people that hurt their backs or have bad knees from lifting weights.”

Thanks for reading! What do you think? Share your thoughts below, give it a like, and share this post with someone you know who could benefit from it!

#powerlifting #gym #strengthtraining #weightlifting #benchpress #squat #deadlift #overheadpress #muscle #fitness #workout #girlswholift