Will lifting weights make me bulky?

Many women are fearful of lifting weights thinking that by doing so they will end up looking more masculine than feminine. This is not true. Women do not have the high testosterone levels that men do, therefore women will never be able to get as big as men unless some kind of supplement is being taken. When performing your weight training routine make sure you challenge yourself and your muscles by lifting heavy weights. Choose a weight that would make it challenging for you to complete 12 to 15 repetitions of an exercise. If you could continue to perform more repetitions in a set then you need to lift a heavier weight. Perform three to four sets of each exercise with approximately 45 seconds rest between each set. Lifting weights is a great way for women to tone and shape their bodies. It also helps reduce body fat, develop strong bones, decrease the risk for osteoporosis and help improve self esteem. Always give yourself at least one day rest before training the same muscle groups. Rest and recovery is an essential part of any weight training program.

Wendy Batts
Not necessarily.  A resistance training routine should not make you bulky unless that is the desired goal of your program.  Generally speaking, you should not get bulky from your resistance training program as long as you monitor your calorie intake to ensure you are not eating more calories than you are burning, which would lead to a possible weight increase.
While there are resistance training programs designed to make you big and bulky, there are number of factors that contribute to making that happen.  These factors include: the number of repetitions performed for each set of an exercise, the amount of resistance being used, the speed of your movements, the amount of rest taken in between sets, and the number of calories you consume in your diet. 

I have been training for a very long time, and most people have said to me at some point or another, I would like to get a little bigger, but not “too big.”  I have to say I have never had anybody call me the next day after a workout and say, “Rick, dude, something went horribly wrong. I woke up this morning and I am unreasonably huge! This is unbelievable. I told you I did not want to get bulky.” Getting bulky is difficult. It is hard to do. I have been working out for a long time and I am not that big of a guy. If you work out really hard very consistently with excellent nutrition and genetics you may get bulky. So, will lifting weights get me bulky?  Unless you try really, really hard, to get bulky the answer is absolutely not.

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
When we think about muscles, we tend to think about really big ones (Hulk Hogan) or really nice ones (Brad Pitt's abs, Hillary Swank's shoulders). But working your muscles isn't necessarily about making you big, brawny, and eligible for the NFL draft. But by focusing on the right muscles and using the right plan, you won't add bulky muscle to your frame. You'll firm up, and you'll stimulate the amount of muscle growth needed to help burn extra calories.

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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.