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Will lifting weights make me look muscle-bound?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Many women fear that lifting weights will make them look like an Eastern European shot putter. Understandable concern (though I have nothing against Eastern European track and field athletes), but somewhat of a mistaken one. Adding muscle - by doing strength training - doesn't mean that you're going to develop arms the size of Hummers or legs the size of redwoods. Why? Muscle requires something else to feed it to really bulk up. That substance? Androgens, which are relatives of testosterone, cause muscle fibers to grow. They're the reason men get bulky when they build muscle and women can lift weights and still remain Jaguar-like sleek.
So if what you're trying to do is just tone, shape, and tighten, you can still lift weights and do resistance training.

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No, lifting weights will not make you look muscle-bound as long as you maintain balance in your workouts. Be sure to utilize each of the major muscle groups (eg. Legs, back, shoulders, chest, arms, and abs). People that are muscle bound exercise one muscle group disproportionately to the rest of the body. If you maintain balance in your workouts, you will maintain proportion and look great!

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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.