How Women Can Build Muscle Fast

Female athlete stretching, studio shot
Muscular woman. (Image: Siri Stafford/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

If you're a woman trying to build muscle fast, these tips can get you to your goals. Since gaining lean muscle mass rapidly requires changes to both your workout and diet, consider a resistance training plan that works all your major muscle groups and a diet that contributes to muscle building.

Tailor Your Workout

Athletic woman preparing for race
Female athlete. (Image: Jupiterimages/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

For rapid muscle building, women need programs tailored to their gender. Testosterone and growth hormone have a significant effect on muscle building, but women have much less of this hormone in their body. Weight training stimulates women's bodies to produce greater amounts of these two hormones, allowing you to gain muscle much more rapidly than other types of exercise.

Use Myofibrillar Hypertrophy

Fitness woman
Lifting weights. (Image: iofoto/iStock/Getty Images)

Myofibrillar hypertrophy is a type of exercise that builds muscle. This exercise involves using relatively heavy weights and performing sets of two to eight repetitions. A shorter number of repetitions with a heavier weight increases both the quantity and size of the muscle fibers, resulting in more lean body mass. When you reach the seventh or eighth repetition, the weight should be too heavy for you to lift easily. Pushing your muscles to the point of exhaustion stimulates testosterone release and increases microtrauma of the muscle fibers. Microtrauma involves small tears in the muscle cells, and your body will respond by repairing and replacing the damaged fibers with stronger and larger tissue.

Use Sarcoplasmic Hypertrophy

Male instructor giving weight training to woman in gym
Dumbbell chest press exercise. (Image: Chris Clinton/Photodisc/Getty Images)

In addition to increasing the size and number of muscle fibers, you can also increase the fluid within muscle cells, allowing them to grow larger. This type of training shows the greatest results in beginners and leads to fast gains within a few weeks of training. With sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, you engage in circuit training with 12 to 15 repetitions per exercise and a minute or less of rest between sets. Choose three or four exercises and perform them back-to-back. Some of the more effective exercises include incline dumbbell chest press and chest fly, bench dips and dumbbell side raises. This type of training does not cause muscle fatigue, but instead stimulates the body to produce more growth hormone for muscle building.

Outside the Gym

chocolate and peanut buttered toasts
Banana and peanut butter. (Image: Olga Nayashkova/iStock/Getty Images)

Your workouts make up the primary way to build muscle. However, rest and diet also contribute to building muscle. Rest gives your body time to repair and build muscles, so experts recommend 48 to 72 hours between workouts. Additionally, eating before and after a workout contribute to muscle gain. About an hour to 90 minutes before a workout, eat a snack that contains about 50/50 carbohydrates and protein. Examples include a banana with a tablespoon of nut butter, energy bars made with fruits and nuts, or a half sandwich with whole grain bread and roasted turkey. You'll want to replenish the body's stores of glucose and protein within 30 minutes post-exercise. Low-fat chocolate milk and bananas with peanut butter make up easy options for a protein and carbohydrate-rich post-workout meal. These foods contribute to lean body mass building.

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