Will weight training make women bulk up?

Will weight training make women bulk up?

No, women will not bulk up.

Weight training will not make women bulk up…even if they lift heavy weights.


Women have much less (up to 15-20 times less) testosterone than men, which means they’re not able to gain muscle mass like men.

Testosterone is one of the main hormones involved in muscle growth.

What about female body builders?

Female body builders featured in competitions and magazines likely:

  • use anabolic steroids (a.k.a. man-made testosterone), and/or other substances to build their large amount of muscle and bulk.
  • follow a very strict and structured high calorie eating plan.
  • have good genes working in their favor.
  • consider lifting weights a part time job.

Body builders generally perform 9-20 sets of exercises for each body part/muscle group and spend as many as 20 hours in the gym a week just lifting weights.

National Strength and Conditioning Assocation (2008). Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, 3rd ed. Hong Kong :Human Kinetics
Schwarzenegger, Arnold. (1998). The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding. New York City: Simon & Schuster.

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Stephanie Averkamp

About the Author was created by Stephanie Averkamp, a recognized health and fitness professional and sole-author of the content on this website. Stephanie's approach to weight loss emphasizes making small, realistic, and permanent lifestyle changes. Read more...

Stephanie Averkamp

Our Approach: Short-term solutions (like dieting) are unrealistic and ineffective because at some point they end. As soon as a diet or program ends, so do the results. Permanent weight loss is a journey; it's not a race or competition and there is no finish line. Read more...