According to studies, the majority of female trainees only perform cardiovascular exercises when going to the gym. Most women worry that if they strength train they will look masculine and overly muscular. This is a crucial misconception. The female body is physiologically and hormonally different from men. It is simply not possible for a woman who is not using performance enhancing drugs to build a large amount of muscle mass. According to studies, these are some of the reasons why women should lift weights: gain physical strength without bulk, lose body fat, attain overall toning of the body, decrease risk of osteoporosis, enhance athletic performance, reduce risks of heart disease and diabetes, improve overall attitude and fight depression.
Women want noticeable results quickly. Personal training represents a financial and time commitment. At Raw Hong Kong, our personal trainers for women are aware of this. In order to maximize results and minimise time with our female personal training clients, we follow some basic rules and guidelines.
In order look leaner, people must improve their fat mass to lean mass ratio. This is achieved by gaining muscle mass and losing fat mass. Muscle mass can only be gained by performing strength training exercise to failure. Only performing cardiovascular training will do little to improve muscle tone and increase bone density.
According to this recent study: (https://newsroom.unsw.edu.au/news/health/workout-frequency-most-important-factor-strength-gains-women), when it comes to gaining strength and muscle mass, the most important factor is training frequency. At least 3 sessions per week is optimal. The average woman included in the referenced study increased their strength by 25% when they strength trained a minimum of 3 times per week.
This is proven in the following study:
The group who used a higher number of sets (4 to 5 sets per exercise) had significantly greater improvements in muscle mass, strength and body composition than the group that only performed 1 to 2 sets per exercise.
I have worked in gyms for over 20 years. 95% of female trainees choose a weight they can perform 20 times, but only do 12 repetitions. This is a waste of time and it will not lead to any results or benefits from strength training. As long as perfect technique is used for each repetition and the adequate exercise progression is used, there is little chance of injury when lifting heavy weights.