Learn how to build muscle faster with these 8 easy-to-master tips (even if you’ve never lifted weights before).
Science-backed and proven with thousands of real women at Ultimate Performance, these are some of the key ways that work for women to speed up their strength gains exponentially.
Grab a pen or tap a screen shot for these 8 tried-and-tested tips to maximise the benefits of every rep you perform in the gym.
1. Increase your training volume
Volume is simply the amount of work (reps and sets) performed in your workout.
Women do not need to train differently to men. Exercise selection may vary depending on your goals. Progressively increasing your training volume over time will lead to muscle growth.
Beginners – Do 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps per exercise
Advanced – Do 4-5 sets of 10-15 reps per exercise
2. Do more workouts
It sounds obvious to say, but train your muscles more frequently and you will get better results.
Beginners can benefit training two times per week, while more advanced trainees will benefit from working out three or four times per week.
3. Lift heavier weights
You won’t build muscle if you’re lifting too light. Women in one study were found to be lifting loads of no more than 50% of their one-rep max (1RM).
But to produce the ‘overload’ needed to build muscle, you need to be lifting anywhere from 65-80% of your 1RM in the 8-15 rep range. Anything less is likely to be a waste of time if muscle building is your goal.
4. Control the weight through every part of each rep
You will be able to stimulate the muscle maximally if you control the load effectively through every part of the rep.
Every rep should have a clear beginning, middle and end over a consistent range of motion.
Following a set tempo (speed of the rep through the full range of motion of the exercise start to finish) can allow you to do this.
5. Prioritise big ‘multi-joint’ exercises
You will get more ‘bang for your buck’ prioritising multi-joint exercises that recruit more muscle fibres.
Targeting larger muscle groups doing exercises like deadlifts, squat variations, presses and rows will help build strength and muscle more effectively.
Then single-joint exercises that target smaller muscles, like biceps curls or calf raises, can then be used to fill in any gaps and minimise the risk of injury.
6. Make your training more efficient
Supersets-style training with two consecutive exercises paired together before resting can be a good way to structure your training to maximise your work output in a single session.
However, don’t forget to rest fully (anywhere between 60-120 seconds depending on the exercise and rep range) before your next set. This ensures you can maximise the load you can lift and therefore your training volume.
For instance, you may need several minutes’ rest between sets of a heavy deadlift to fully recover. Whereas you may only require 60 seconds between sets of a single-joint movement like triceps extensions.
7. Prioritise quality nutrition
Your body won’t grow muscle and get stronger if you don’t give it the building blocks of nutrition it needs.
One of the key macronutrients you need to help recovery and muscle growth is protein.
Overall, women should aim for a palm-sized portion each meal (that will roughly equate to 25-30g of protein per serving).
Don’t be scared to include healthy fats, such as oily fish, olive oil and nuts, and good-quality carbs, such as root vegetables and whole grains, in your diet too.
Pack your plate with a variety of vegetables too to help keep your hormones healthy.
8. Work with a personal trainer
Ensuring you are training with enough intensity and progressing properly with the weights can be tough when going it alone.
A professional coach or experienced training partner will keep you accountable, keep you lifting the right weights, and give you that objective eye that will prevent you cutting corners that slow your progress.
If you’re a woman unsure where to start building muscle, see how Ultimate Performance can create a personal training and diet program for you.
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