I am a woman and I exercise to gain weight. This includes weight lifting and I am starting to show biceps. I do not like the muscly look. Is there any way I can avoid that and still gain weight?

EDIT: I usually work out 3-4 days a week alternating between upper and lower body, with 3 set of 12-15 reps for each exercise.


You are missing some info, like how many reps you do, how do you eat and your lifting program in general but I will consider that you are doing 8 to 12 reps. So lets begin...

You don't want to gain weight then, obviously your arms will grow, not like men's arm but they will grow. Maybe you can win weight by training legs and ass, muscles that women love to have, your legs and ass will grow in a still "womanish" way, but again I don't recommend to train only legs and ass, as you will look bad with a disproportionate body. I will later give you some routines and things you need to have in mind.

You could always train for strenght, doing 4 reps on each set with heavy loads, you'll get stronger and you will still grow altough a little bit less than if you continue doing 8 reps -12. Altough I would recommend you to get a personal trainer that will teach you perfect form the first months that way you don't get injured. Or you could do more than 15 reps, targeting resistance it all depends on your goals.

As I said before here is a routine that targets legs and "womanish" body parts:

First of all you can train legs 3 days a week, but the more days you train the better you need to eat, sleep and the less extreme your workouts need to be.

1st Program:

Monday: Legs (including ass too)

Tuesday: Abs and Obliques (If you do too much abs you will start to get rocky vainy woman abs, look above)

Wednesday: Calves

Thursday: Legs

Friday: Abs and Obliques

We are missing back, chest and other body parts, this is a routine that most girls will use as they don't care about upper body.

2nd Program:

Monday: Legs and Calves

Tuesday: Abs and Biceps

Wednesday: Obliques and Triceps

Thursday: Back and Chest (Chest may help your boobs to stay upright)

Friday: Legs and Calves

Remember than legs include ass too. On the second program you could train one week arms and the other let them rest, only training abs and obliques. You could also do cardio on saturdays.

This routines aren't perfect, you need to see how much and what you eat, your goals and then make a routine specially for you.

Here is the rocky vainy abs thing:

enter image description here

  • @PDE Lol other was too extreme, it bullied the arms Oct 6 '15 at 1:02

Among Bret Contreras' recommendations for thin women who feel too muscular are these:

  1. Less squats, lunges, and deadlifts – do them, but go light. Don’t obsess about progressive overload. Feel the right muscles doing the job. Higher rep goblet squats and American deadlifts are good choices.

  2. More glute isolation work – wise choices here include barbell glute bridges, back extensions, and cable glute kickbacks, as are lateral band walks and band seated hip abductions.

  3. No direct ab training – the abs will get activated with most free weight movements. They don’t require direct training past a certain level of competency. Some planks and the like are certainly okay, but there’s no need for intense abdominal/oblique training. Despite what most S&C experts claim, a small percentage of women do get bulky midsections from too much core work, so this needs to be considered.

  4. More variety – this is key. You want challenging workouts from metabolic and muscle activation perspectives. However, you should switch it up, rotate lifts, and employ different techniques and methods. This is also good for preventing boredom.

  5. Less focus on progressive overload – continuous progressive overload can make people very hungry. It’s a natural response. You’re telling the body that you want it to be stronger, so it responds by gaining muscle. For overweight individuals who are dieting, it helps them retain muscle mass while shedding fat for weight loss. But for some ideal weight individuals, it can backfire in the long-run by forcing weight gain. This is why powerlifters have such a hard time staying in their respective weight classes over the years.

    Focus on progressive overload for exercises targeting muscles that you want to grow – usually glutes and whatever other weak parts that are specific to your body. But with exercises targeting muscles that you’re happy with, don’t concern yourself with progressive overload and just make sure you get in a good work out.

  6. Faster pace – you want dense sessions that are metabolically demanding. There’s no need to rest longer than 90 seconds, and you can employ paired supersets that combine non-competing lower body and upper body movements. A 60 second rest period is the usual here.

  • Thanks, I do not do abs that often and I am not much worried about muscles in my legs. What I don't like the most are my biceps. I only lift 10 pounds, yet my biceps look too masculine!
    – Pallavi
    Sep 27 '15 at 21:06
  • I wish I could add muscle by lifting ten pounds. Anyway, the principle is that if you are worried about your arms, and aren't worried about your legs, work out your legs and don't directly target your arms. You can always lose the muscle by losing the weight, too, or by covering it up with fat so it just looks toned.
    – Noumenon
    Sep 28 '15 at 0:05

Just found an answer to my own question-

"This is a concern many women express when asked to train with weights. Women have smaller muscles in the cross sectional areas, resulting in smaller muscle gains and also their hormonal status, which obviously differs from men. Masculinization in females are a result of excessive androgenic hormones, and female weight lifters in the media take steroids to build bigger muscles. Without use of such steroids, lifting weights can possibly not make you look like a man. Instead it cuts your fat, tones you up and helps you get closer to your desired shape."

So awesome :) I don't have to worry :)

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