Building Muscle For Women: Put Down the Pink Dumbbells

building muscle for women Kristi Joy Wilkins

Building muscle for women, is not that different than it is for men. Yes, goals might be different, and the hormonal response is different, but the principles are the same. Sometimes I think this is simple, but there are a lot of misconceptions out there, so perhaps it needs explaining.

How do you build muscle as a woman? Same way men do. Lift heavy things. Rest and recover. Next time lift something a bit heavier. Repeat. Tweet This!

It needs to be heavy and feel challenging (for you). Lifting 5 or 10lbs is not heavy for anybody, and is not going to give you sexy shape.

That’s the how.

Okay, okay, you probably want more detail than that.

If you’re a beginner, start with a bodyweight-only workout plan.


Pick up a FREE copy of the Beautiful Strength Bodyweight Workout to walk you through the basics.


Get the technique right, do corrective and mobility work, foam rolling, and make sure you have correct movement patterns.

You don’t need to start with a lot of equipment. Start by downloading this free report:


3 Pieces of Home Exercise Equipment
that everyone should have.


They won’t break the bank and they are a great way to start strength training and start correcting bad movement habits.

Then, from there, move on to kettlebell strength training, and/or barbell training. Start your kettlebell training with deadlifts, kettlebell swings, and high intensity kettlebell workouts. After you’re proficient with single kettlebell work, you can start double kettlebell training. You can also do more advanced bodyweight circuit training.

Whatever form of strength training you choose, the important thing to keep in mind is the principle of progressive overload. You cannot expect change to occur in your body if you keep lifting the same amount of weight that you’ve always used. Tweet this!

What’s the definition of insanity? Riiight. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Keep your reps low to mid range to build strength and muscle. There are some exceptions, but generally the 5-10 rep range is what you want to be doing.

The 5lb pink dumbbells are not going to help you! I was challenged to think of some way they could be used in a program with my clients, and I could not come up with anything. Oh, wait, they work well as door stops!

If you are a beginner, or an advanced beginner, you should be moving up in weight or giving yourself a new challenge, every time you train–certainly at least every week. Being a beginner is exciting because you will see your most dramatic gains in strength and changes in body composition at the beginning of your journey.

Example: If you did 3 sets of 5 incline push ups on a chair or box last workout, next workout, move to a lower surface or do a couple more reps. If you did 3 sets of 5 deadlifts at 100lbs, next time go for 105lbs, or even 110lbs. As you get stronger you may not get all your reps for all your sets. That’s okay. As long as you are continually challenging yourself, you will see progress in your strength and in your physique.

As you advance in your training, your progress will slow, and this is normal.

If you are looking specifically to gain shape in the booty, take a look at Building Muscle in the Booty. Check out Bret Contreras’ website if you’re serious about kickin’ ass in this department.

Breakin’ it Down

Building Muscle for Women

  • Start with the FREE Bodyweight Workout Plan, get your form spot on.
  • Then start with single kettlebell training, move on to double kettlebell training or barbell training.
  • Add weight, or do a more challenging variation every workout, until you can’t anymore.
  • Make sure you are getting recovery days in between workouts–that is when the muscle is growing–as it repairs itself.
  • Oh, and eat some damn protein!


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