If you’re a woman who wants to build muscle without all the bulk, this is something that’s very much possible. In fact, what many women don’t realize is that achieving bulk like most men do so easily is a lot more difficult for women.
This is why women can confidently work on building muscle without having to worry about going overboard with their results. If you’re ready to get started but aren’t sure what to do first, the steps below can be of help. They’re some of the best ways to build muscle without the bulk and can help give you the strength that you desire.
1. Lift Heavier Weights
Most women are under the impression that lifting heavier weights will result in having huge bulging muscles in a short amount of time. This is actually not the case, as heavier weights simply means you will be increasing the strength of your muscles. So, the next time you are at the gym, try focusing on doing heavy repetitions rather than a large number of repetitions. As you feel your muscles burning during the workout you’ll be working towards achieving incredible strength.
Tip: Don’t try to lift heavy weights your very first time in the gym, or else you’re likely to hurt yourself and tear a muscle. Start with something you can handle and eventually move to heavier weights that test your strength without causing you to over-exert yourself.
2. Rest and Recover
When you first get started with building muscle, it’s essential to give yourself time to rest. This is because muscle is actually built on those days that you rest, so you have to give your body time to recover. As a general guideline you should start with two days of muscle building per day and then work your way up to three as you get stronger. You can still do cardio on the other days, or you can relax knowing you’re getting stronger on a daily basis!
3. Challenge Yourself Daily
Do you normally ask your husband to carry something heavy or make several trips to the car to unload the groceries? Rather than underestimating your strength, use it! Pick up more grocery bags, try and lift something heavy (with the proper form), and use your body weight to help make you stronger every day. You could even do a few squats with a couple of gallons of water in each hand after bringing in the groceries to help build your strength in a casual and easy way.
4. Try a Simple Workout Routine
You don’t have to spend hours at the gym every day just to build up your strength. While you certainly can if you ever do want to try to achieve bulk, you can instead do a simple workout routine two or three days a week. Some exercises in particular to become familiar with include:
- Leg Rear Delt Raises
- Arm & Leg Lifts
- Monkey Push
- Chair Twists
- Quadriceps Stretch
To learn how to do any of these exercises, you can ask a trainer or look up videos online. The benefit of seeing someone else do them is being able to get a full view of the technique you should be using so you’re doing it properly. There are many other exercises you can do to build muscle, from lifting a dumbbell to trying kettlebell workouts. Find what you like the best and go from there to develop a personalized workout plan that you can stick with.
5. Exercise With Your Own Bodyweight
Don’t have time to go to the gym or the funds to hire a personal trainer? Don’t worry! You can build your strength with your own bodyweight at home, in the office, or even while traveling. Some of the best exercises to do include:
- Pull Ups
- Push Ups
- Walking the Stairs
While these exercise are incredibly convenient and can be done no matter how strong you are to begin with, they are also great because they don’t require any equipment. You will also be able to challenge yourself to do more as you become stronger, such as squats with weights or pull-ups with only one hand. There are so many variations of these exercises you’ll never run out of ways to keep them fun and exciting.
6. Eat a Healthy Diet
Protein is one of the most important parts of getting stronger, especially since protein nourishes growing muscle after it’s been torn down and worked hard at the gym. To help your body progress even further, make sure you’re eating a diet that’s high in vitamins and nutrients. Most nutritionists recommend lean protein, fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, and complex carbohydrates in particular because these provide the body with what it needs to get stronger every day.
7. Focus on Compound Muscle Movements
When you’re in the gym working out, one of the best things you can do for your body is do exercises that use multiple muscles and joints simultaneously. When you do this types of movements you’re essentially getting more benefit from one movement and experience more growth when you recover. Examples of compound exercises include:
- Triceps Dips: These work your back and biceps
- Pull Ups: These work your chest and triceps
- Military Presses: These work your traps, shoulders, and triceps
- Dumbbell Pullovers: These work your back, lower chest, and rib cage
- Flat Bench Press: These work your shoulders, triceps, and chest.
Additional Tips for Building Your Strength
Don’t Push Yourself Too Hard
It takes time to build your muscle, which is why you shouldn’t expect to see results overnight. Don’t push yourself too hard at the gym or else you could end up hurting yourself.
Explore the Gym
While you might get used to doing a few different workouts at the gym, you shouldn’t get stuck in one spot. Give yourself a chance to see what other workouts you’ll like by exploring other machines. You might end up finding one that you really enjoy doing and that helps you see more muscle tone.
Eat Enough Calories
Don’t forget to up your calorie intake as you build muscle, otherwise you could end up decreasing your muscle mass by accident. Use nutrition apps to determine how many calories you should eat; these programs base this info off of how much you workout, how much you weigh, and your height.