Are you a woman interested in getting stronger/gaining muscle, and you’re curious how often you need to be lifting to get results?
Here’s what the science says:
*Brand New Athlete (never done strength training before)
1-2 Days Per Week (minimum)
*Athlete Lifting for 6 Months to a Year
2-3 Days Per Week
*Athlete Lifting for 1-2 Years
3-4 Days Per Week (or increasing volume of training sessions)
*Athlete Lifting for 2-4 Years+
4-5 Days Per Week (or increasing volume of training sessions)
The reality is, most women who have never lifted weights before can come in to the gym for as short as 30 minutes 1-2 times per week and see changes with their bodies.
As your muscles get stronger it requires more work to create change. You will also need to vary up what kind of work you perform AND challenge yourself to go heavy.
How heavy? It depends on what your goals are.
If you’re seeking just to build muscle for physique (what you look like) you want to perform reps in the 8-10 rep range, which then determines the weights you pick.
If you’re trying to maximize how STRONG you get (the force output of your muscles), then you want to perform lower volume reps (3-6 rep range) which allows you to lift more weight.
Eventually, as you get closer to how much muscle your body is designed to carry (every woman’s body will differ to some extent) you will notice smaller strength increases over time while requiring more time in the gym to get those increases.
On average, women can put on 1-2Lbs of muscle per month depending on how often they are lifting, how long they’ve been lifting (newer athletes will see faster and more growth versus well trained athletes) and how heavy they challenge themselves to go.
If you’re trying to get stronger, you also need to make sure you are eating enough to fuel that muscle growth!
Ready to get lifting? Check out our Lifting Program (no experience required!).
Iversen, V.M., Norum, M., Schoenfeld, B.J. et al. No Time to Lift? Designing Time-Efficient Training Programs for Strength and Hypertrophy: A Narrative Review. Sports Med 51, 2079–2095 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-021-01490-1
Schoenfeld BJ, Grgic J, Van Every DW, Plotkin DL. Loading Recommendations for Muscle Strength, Hypertrophy, and Local Endurance: A Re-Examination of the Repetition Continuum. Sports. 2021; 9(2):32. https://doi.org/10.3390/sports9020032
Ralston, G.W., Kilgore, L., Wyatt, F.B. et al. Weekly Training Frequency Effects on Strength Gain: A Meta-Analysis. Sports Med - Open 4, 36 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40798-018-0149-9