My Top Five Strength Training Tips for Women

Everyone else is doing Strength Training Tips for Women, so I might as well too, since I’m a woman and all. You really only need to know a few things and here they are:

1. There’s no such thing as ‘too big’ in regards to quads or shoulders or traps or backs or glutes or calves. You’re allowed to look however the hell YOU want to look. If someone else doesn’t approve it’s THEIR problem, not yours. It is not your obligation to try to please anyone other than yourself. If you want to be big and muscular go for it. If you don’t, don’t. It’s your body. If someone else thinks it’s appropriate to criticize your body for whatever characteristic they don’t approve of, they are aren’t worth your time and mental energy.

2. Most of the meatheads grunting and slamming weights in the weight room have no idea what the fuck they’re doing. Don’t let them intimidate you.

3. There are plenty of decent, considerate men in the weight room too. Those kind of men are happy you are there and will be supportive and respectful. Give them a chance to be awesome and they will!

4. You are stronger than you think you are. Just because lifting a 5 pound dumbbell 25 times makes you tired does not mean you aren’t capable of lifting a 25 pound dumbbell 5 times. You will get more out of lifting the 25 pound dumbbell. Trust me on this.

5. Eat the food. Eat it. You have a right to not exist in a state of semi-starvation. You have a right to be strong and healthy and have opinions and enough energy and mental bandwidth to stand up for yourself. You have a right to have a body that takes up space and makes a statement of presence and strength when you walk into a room (if that is what you want). You have a right to live to your fullest potential, and to pursue more meaningful goals than conforming to an aesthetic ideal. And it starts with finally allowing yourself to eat enough food to be healthy and strong and not HUNGRY all the time.


Whoops, that turned into more of a manifesto than a list of fitness tips. Am I sorry? Not one little bit.

26 thoughts on “My Top Five Strength Training Tips for Women

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  2. Excellent tips! Getting motivation and energy for regular trainings is one of the most important things when you start working out. Otherwise you won’t achieve your goals. When I started going to the gym my friend advised me to try nutritional supplements. At that time I thought I did not need them, but I changed my mind after I’ve tried. It was little more than a month I’ve been taking Military Grade nutritional supplements, when I realized I did not feel fatigue in the end of the day. And even more: after workouts I still had energy to spare. As time went by, my shape was improving more and more. I was loosing fat and gaining muscles. Now I feel really fit!

  3. Thank you for this post!

    I’m so with you on point three. The once scary gym bros in the weight room have turned out to be nothing but extremely nice, respectful, and helpful to me – without ever crossing any boundaries. And I really appreciate friendly faces and encouraging words.

    And for point five, I need to read that to myself every day.

  4. Love all of these tips, but particularly #3. A lot of women seem to get really freaked out by all of the guys in the free weights area, but for every crappy experience I’ve had with bros in the weights area, I can think of at least ten that were awesome.

    Also, last week some guy was grunting like crazy while doing leg presses with a ton of weight. I tried to ignore him but I couldn’t help it, and when I looked at him I was not at all shocked to see that he was totally doing it wrong, with his hips coming off the seat and everything. I’m sure he was intimidating the hell out of other people, but I thought he just looked like a fool.

  5. If you will be shy than you can’t workout hard to lose weight. It requires strong determination and self-motivation to lose weight, have a fabulous body. Doing regular exercises can work wonders for you.

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  7. As a 56 year old born again gym rat, I love your site. My gym is wonderful-though a bit ageist. Always getting told I should not be doing that at my age.

  8. Agreed – most men are super cool to me in the weight room, with only two notable exceptions: 1) the old guy who interrupted to offer me unsolicited advice as to how I should hold the barbell for high pulls because as a girl I couldn’t possibly know how; and 2) the guy my age who tried to convince me to let him rest his barbell on the outside of the squat rack so he could do rows more conveniently while I was *in* the squat rack doing squats, which was totally unsafe and unnecessary, not to mention inconvenient for me – I’m certain if I’d been a guy using the squat rack he’d have let me have my space and waited till I was finished, but clearly he wasn’t taking me seriously. At the time I was focused on getting my lifts done and was just like, whatever, but afterward when I started to think about what was really going on there I was pissed. He ended up backing down and finding some other place to do his big manly rows, but if any guy tries that s*** again with me I’m going to tell him to stuff it.

    But yeah, all the other guys in the weight room are totally respectful; most of them are focused on their own workouts, as they should be, and the ones who do notice me seem to be happy to have a woman in the weight room, not threatened or dismissive. If anything, it’s the women who seem to be enforcing sex segregation at my gym – I’ve only seen a few women venture from the cardio section into the weight room, and not one of them was lifting anything heavier than 10 pounds. Come on, ladies, your *purse* weighs more than that!

  9. What ticks people off in the weight room is using the equipment for other than its intended purpose. Examples I have seen:

    1. Using the flat bench to do step-ups. It’s a padded bench for people to put their backs on, why would you put your feet on it? Don’t use it to do leg raises either, it’s a WEIGHT LIFTING BENCH.

    2. Doing lunges while holding 10 pound barbells in a squat rack. Why would it occur to someone to do that? But I have seen it done for 20 minutes at a time.

    3. Using any of the weight lifting stations as an aid to stretching. There are plenty of places in the gym to stretch.

    Also, leave 2 1/2 pound plates on a barbell …. you can’t rack those?

    • You mean, what ticks YOU off because as far as I’m concerned (speaking for MYSELF), when I go to the Gym, I’m there to do my workout and not waste time giving a crap if someone is using a Bench press for something to step up onto, or lunging their sweet ass into oblivion ANYWHERE. Are you offering your services to get on your hands and knees and let them step up on your back? Jeeze dude! Mind your own. I think you’ve completely missed the point of this blog.

    • I have to say I agree with Steve. I think it’s irritating (and even disrespectful sometimes) when people mis-use equipment and prevent others from being able to do their workout. The squat rack is a popular area, and monopolizing it unnecessarily is rude (whether it’s someone doing lunges with 2lb dumbbells or the d-bag at my gym who does 25 sets of 3 shrugs at 500# with 3-5 min breaks between sets). Not racking weights is rude. Stepping on benches can damage them and therefore is rude. Doing your dumbbell set right next to the dumbbell rack and blocking other people from accessing it is rude…etc. Many times what I perceive as rude however is merely uninformed- so I try to be patient because we were all new and uncertain once. If you feel like you could approach someone who is “breaking the rules” in a helpful, friendly and non-creepy tone, by all means do it. And if you are new (like I was once too!) don’t feel silly if someone does make a suggestion related to sharing and taking care of equipment. For the most part people are happy to help and glad to share space with other hard working and dedicated people.

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  11. Yes to all of that!! I am often the only female in the weight room, but have been lifting weights on and off since I was in college. You just do you and you will be fine :D It’s so empowering to see the changes in your body and your abilities.

  12. Reminds me of the time a guy in the weight room told me I was lifting too heavy of a weight. “You don’t want to build; you want to tone,” he said. MYOB!!

  13. It was inspring which to me is still tips in my eyes.. I wish many of my friends could see how far you’ve come and know themselves that they could do it as well.. I am working on it day by day.. Thank you for the inspiration!

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