Medical Care Help Center.

Weight Training Tips for Women

Weight training tips for women suggest minor adjustments to exercises in light of gender differences. Factors such as: (b) wider hips, (b) smaller upper body, distribution of fat weight, (c) trunk length, (d) height, and (e) size of the feet can affect weight lifting technique and execution.

Starting positions and physical check points for lifts can be slightly different from those of men performing the same lifts and using the same equipment.

These same factors also affect the teaching and learning of the lifts, since cues and perceptions of how successful lifting feels can be different. Both gender differences and individual differences play into technique. See The Principle of Individualization

Using certain weight lifting equipment can pose challenges for women that men generally do not encounter. Women, having less strength than male counterparts, are likely to have to increase weight loads in higher percentages due to the smaller amount of weight lifted. See Fitness Equipment

For example, increasing from 2.5 lb. dumbbells to 5 lb. dumbbells is a 50% increase in weight load. If a man (or a stronger women) increases a weight load, say from 50 lbs. to 55 lbs., the increase is only 10%. The same applies to selectorized machines, if weights can be increased only in 10-lb. increments. See Weight Machines

Certain exercise machines are designed for larger individuals. Smaller women, in particular, may find it difficult to correctly perform exercises on machines that do not adjust for height, limb length, or trunk length. When selecting a gym or training equipment, size adjustments may be a consideration for women.

Weight Training Tips for Women

1. Get an evaluation from a health professional who can provide guidance about personalizing your exercises, especially if you have had a history of joint problems, postural deviations, or other orthopedic issues.
2. When performing a back squat, power clean, or other free weight exercises, keep your knees aligned with your feet to prevent “knock kneeing”. See The Squat

3. Maintain good posture for all exercises. This prevents undue stress on joints and muscles that become vulnerable to injury when in weak, inefficient positions.

4. Use a towel or other soft material to cushion the bar on your neck, such as for the back squat. This will help to protect your spine, particularly if your shoulders (e.g., trapezius muscles) are not yet sufficiently developed to support the bar.

5. Emphasize adbominal exercises to prevent back hyperextension, particularly after pregnancy or if your abdominal muscles are weak. Remember, it is always important to exercise with proper technique, but it is especially important during pregnancy. See Core Strength Exercises

6. Strive to balance opposing muscles (antagonists) to prevent injuries. For example, be sure to emphasize hip and knee joint exercises (for the outer thigh muscles–the abductors) to counter tendencies toward bending the knees inward (medially) during squatting and other knee flexion/extension exercises.

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