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Why don't Girls lift like Guys?

I know there are obvious differences and all (like general strength and ability to put on muscle mass), but guys are always doing squats and bench press and bent over row and military press and so forth - these are SO basic in weight lifting and extremely effective for gaining muscle.
Now I know you ladies do weight training, why don't women seem to base their strength training on these basic compound lifts that are the cornerstone of bodybuilding the way guys always do?
It seems similar to skipping protein powder as a basic supplement and only using NOS or glutamine instead...

No offense intended at all, just want to know...

(and I know we are all over that lifting will make girls look bulky thing right?)

Tue. Apr 1, 2:05pm

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I don't think everyone is "over" thinking that lifting will make them bulky, even though they should be.

I am female and I focus about 40 percent of my workout routine on weights. I lift heavy weights (at home) and I love it. Too many women ignore it, or say "I'll lose the fat first, and then start lifting to tone up." Surprise! It doesn't work like that. You need to keep adding muscle to fuel your metabolism and re-shape your body, and prevent the weight from coming right back on when you stop dieting and doing step aerobics. I digress...

Because of the body images portrayed in the media, I think men focus on the muscles they want to be big, and women focus on the muscles they want to look good in a bikini. Men want strong impressive chests and biceps. I actually feel like a lot of men who lift over-focus on their chest and arms and end up with tiny chicken legs.

Women want flat abs, lean, waif-like arms, round (but not big) butts, long, thin legs, small hips... you get the idea. The weight-routines I frequently see in women's magazines focus on abs, buns and thighs, with a few bicep curls and tricep dips here and there.

For all the women out there, I recommend the FIRM videos (older ones, from the mid- to late-90s), which I think are an excellent mix of core strength moves and the focused training to get a "bikini" body. There are tons of squats, leg press, push-ups and overhead press, mixed with lunges, dips, hip abductions, bicep curls, French press, kick-backs, lat row, chest fly, shoulder work, and abs. They also mix in some aerobic intervals which help burn fat.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008, 2:39 PM

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Women do really still believe that, crazy as it seems. That's why you see women sitting on the "thigh master" machine with 10 lbs on it, flapping their legs so fast they might fly away.

Plus, I think many women just start lifting based on what they see other women in the gym doing rather than getting real advice/input on it. I used to think a little bit of resistance was good because I didn't want to get all Arnold-like hahaha! It wasn't until someone showed me proper weight and form that I saw a huge change in my weight loss and body shape!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008, 2:44 PM

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2:44 - lol - flapping away on the thigh machine! That made me laugh.

There are lots of (lean) women who take the weight lifting class at our gym, but you rarely see that many women on the floor doing weights. I think it might be intimidating for some women. I only started doing weights in the last 5 years (and I just look back on those cardio years and shake my head! ) but the idea of working out among the guys was very nerve wracking. Why?? I have no idea!! Probably just afraid of looking foolish trying something new. Now, I have no problem with it and I love the results!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008, 2:50 PM

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Maybe my gym is different. I think most of the women who work out in my gym are VERY serious and do the same types of exercises as the serious men. There are several women who have fabulous bodies -- I love to watch them lift weights and see their muscles.

Of course there are other women who are less serious, but then there are also lots of men who are not so serious, too.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008, 2:54 PM

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very interesting...thanks...

I just love basic lifts and they seem to be by far the most effective, I will do something like the below and put on 5 pounds of muscle fast:

Quad Ext 10 – 8 – 6
Squats 10 – 8 – 6
Dead-lift 10 – 8 – 6
Smith Calf raise 10 – 8 – 6

Dumbbell Press 10 – 8 – 6
Machine flye 10 – 8 – 6
Skull crusher 10 – 8 – 6
Front, side, & rear
delt raise superset 10 – 8 – 6

Bent over row 10 – 8 – 6
Roman chair 10 – 8 – 6
Preacher curl 10 – 8 – 6
Hanging raise 12 ea.

So it seems learning the form, being intimidated by the "weight room" and being encouraged to do these is the main problem ?


Tuesday, April 01, 2008, 3:04 PM

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Probably. That and women seem to just love the cardio. And I can't tell you how many women friends of mine still talk about being afraid of bulking up. ARGH!

Are you on a mission to get women in the weight room, OP? ;)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008, 3:07 PM

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3:07 Ha ha, no I am just a nice guy and hate to see wasted effort in the gym,
I used to coach girl's gymnastics and we were very careful to train the athletes with the best techniques for performance - most of what we did was similar to weight lifting in a way and so when I see all the women in my gym sticking to weird isolation moves and pilates and stuff - I wonder what advise is being thrown around.
Gymnasts are usually quite lean and muscular because of all the the careful anaerobic training.
Besides, I just like to share the fun of finding something that works well.


Tuesday, April 01, 2008, 3:23 PM

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Most women are in the gym to keep their weight under control. The best way to incorporate weights into a routine with that goal in mind is the light weights/many reps approach like you get in the dumbell/bodybar sculpting classes.

So maybe the question should also be - why don't men lift weights like women? I love when guys do those classes because they pick 10 pounders instead of 5 pounders and then have all kinds of shame issues when they can't finish the set.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008, 3:29 PM

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I'm a female and I LOVE lifting weights. I currently bench 125 pounds and my legs are killer for muscle. I do, however, have a layer of fat over the muscle from having kids, life, etc. Trying to get rid of that. Until then, I was told to do 60% cardio and 40% muscle building, just to help burn calories faster.

And when I can't get to the gym to lift weights, I make sure I do my resistence bands for strength.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008, 3:36 PM

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What I am saying is - go ahead and do your "light weights/many reps approach" (say 12 reps max though) but if you actually want to gain muscle why not do what works for that and not waste your time. If you did 3 sets of 12 reps of squats you would gain a lot more muscle in your quads than ANY other way.

And yes I will admit I did the 10 pound weight and can't finish thing once. Those classes are hard - it's true - But I don't want to be "toned" - I want to be muscular and lean

Tuesday, April 01, 2008, 3:47 PM

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