Can Starting Strength be done by women? I'm following everything correctly except for the bulking (for obvious reasons). 10 lb weight increases happen every few weeks (as opposed to every few days). This is probably because I'm on a ketogenic diet (Atkins).

  • It may or may not be diet related. It may help if you outlined what/when you are eating and when you are working out, and why you think you need a ketogenic diet.
    – JohnP
    Dec 8, 2014 at 17:12
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    When you're saying "workout every day", do you mean you're doing barbell compound lifts every day?
    – Eric
    Dec 8, 2014 at 17:42
  • Women do the program and it works. They generally progress slower and stall earlier. If something isn't working for you, tell us the details and maybe we can debug. Right now it's unclear why you're asking--is it working? Is it not working? Are you afraid of it not working soon because the weight is getting heavy? Have you read the book?It sounds a little weird to me to do 10 pound increases every few weeks instead of 5 or 2.5 pound increases every workout or every other workout. Dec 8, 2014 at 20:50
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    Make sure you're eating enough. If you are dieting, Rippetoe would say You're Not Doing The Program.
    – G__
    Dec 9, 2014 at 2:59

3 Answers 3


Any fitness regimen can be done by women.

As far as the gains, that is going to be highly personally dependent. Another woman (or even man) might increase every few days, someone else might only go up every couple months. It will depend on many factors, only one of which may be nutrition.

Training history, regular sessions, proper form/technique, proper rest, proper nutrition, etc. These are all factors in the success and efficacy of an exercise routine.


Absolutely. Muscle and strength gains will vary from trainee to trainee, but there is no reason not to begin a program like this. Being on an Atkins diet will likely make it a bit more challenging to increase hypertrophy. I would recommend getting in some complex carbohydrates in the hours after you train. (potatoes, yams, rice, oatmeal, etc) You need to replenish your glycogen stores for your next workout. If you are depleted your body will start using amino acids (protein stores) as fuel. That is something you want to avoid.

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    don't 'sign' your answers. The system tags your answers with your username already, so it's not needed.
    – john3103
    Dec 9, 2014 at 16:37
  • If it is a problem for you. I won't then. Dec 10, 2014 at 18:02

Of course it can be done by women. The only thing that is a bit more difficult is progression on OHP and bench; for those lifts I would recommend microplates (you can find more info on them here). This will allow you to add just 2.5 lbs per session instead of 5 lbs... SS and also SL are very suitable for women. As a matter of fact a trained women will in many cases outlift an untrained male. No reason at all why women should not lift heavy!.

  • Excellent answer, you're right, welcome to the community! I'd only add that as a man I use fractional plates too.
    – Eric
    May 15, 2015 at 3:56

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