How will a resistance training program differ for men and women?

The training programs for men and women are basically the same. The main difference is the goal of the individual. There are different programs and progressions for weight loss, muscle gain, hypertrophy and power. If your goal is to build large muscles you use heavy weights, low repititions and many sets - say 5 sets of 6 reps, to lose weight or tone you use low weight, high repititions - 3 sets of up to 20 reps. Many women are afraid of starting to look masculine if they start a resistance program. The fact is women lack the necessary amount of the hormone testosterone to develope large muscles. The goal of any fitness program should be to increase fat free mass (muscle) and decrease your body fat percentage. For every pound of muscle gained you burn an additional 50 calories a day.
Resistance training programs do not necessarily have to be different for men and women. The training program will change only depending on the goal. If both a man and woman are new to exercise and seeking weight loss, then they will begin a resistance training program consisting of intensities between 50%-70% of their 1 repetition maximum. They will perform 1 to 2 sets of 12 to 20 repetitions on 2 to 4 days per week. They should accompany this with cardio that sustains a heart rate of 65%-75% of their estimated maximum heart rate. However, if a man wants to increase muscle size and a female wants to lose weight, then the resistance training program should be adjusted for each. The man needs to increase intensity and volume in order to achieve his desired result. The woman should continue with a lower intenisity and higher repetition workout to increase the amount of calories burned. Many women do not seek a goal of gaining muscle mass, so it is common for them to want to avoid resistance training. It is important to understand that resistance training alone will not increase muscle mass. Women do not produce the necessary amount of the hormone needed to drastically increase muscle size (testosterone). For this reason, resistance training will not produce the exact same results for both genders. To increase muscle size, it will typically take a woman much longer than it will take a man to produce the desired result. In addition, muscle size increase will be limited for women. However, both women and men need to put the stress of resistance training and cardio on their body to help improve health and appearance.

Continue Learning about Strength Training & Exercise

Strength Training Without Injury
Strength Training Without Injury
Since Arnold Schwarzenegger flaunted his bulging biceps and quads in the 1977 docudrama "Pumping Iron," the rule of thigh (if not thumb) has been that...
Read More
What should I know before I try weightlifting?
David BuerDavid Buer
The first thing you should do is see your physician for a physical exam. You need to make sure your ...
More Answers
Why should I do strength training as I get older?
Dr. Michael Roizen, MDDr. Michael Roizen, MD
As you get older, you are more prone to stiffness and orthopedic injuries. Your muscles become stiff...
More Answers
Need Help to Quit Smoking? Lift Weights!
Need Help to Quit Smoking? Lift Weights!

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.