How to Build Lean Muscle for Females?

To tell you the truth, it’s not easy for females to build muscle, but it’s definitely doable when you know how and take it seriously.

Some women at the gym only concentrate on being lean, delicate, graceful, and dainty. But there are also females who want to know how to build lean muscle quickly for looks, physical power, and a muscular body.

The fact is, there are things that differentiate women from men when we talk about bodybuilding and building muscle.

Without understanding this from the get-go, you’ll just wind up frustrated and following the wrong means to reach your goals. So let’s have a look at the differences and the things women need to keep in mind to increase muscle mass without getting fat.

How to Build Lean Muscle for Females?

  • Building lean muscle as a woman requires commitment and consistency with both diet and exercise.
  • To build muscle, women need to lift weights or do bodyweight exercises that target all the major muscle groups, focusing on compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, and presses.
  • It’s important to progress by gradually increasing the weight or difficulty over time. A high-protein diet supports muscle growth by providing the amino acids that repair and build muscle tissue.
  • However, calorie intake should not be severely restricted, as this can limit muscle gains.
  • Getting enough rest and avoiding overtraining are also keys to allowing muscles to recover and grow.

While that covers the basics, there are some important factors that women should understand in order to optimize their muscle-building results, so keep reading.

Females vs Males Building Muscle

Before we get too deep, you need to remember the two main factors that make building muscle different for women and men. 

  1. Metabolism. Metabolism is going to play a crucial part in the process, especially if you’re a little overweight when you start. Women have to exert more energy and effort than men to metabolize fat and convert it to muscle tissue. 
  2. Hormones. Men produce testosterone, which is something women’s bodies don’t do. Because testosterone plays such an important role in increasing muscle size, it’s usually easier for men than females. 

So, when you find yourself in a gym full of musclebound men, it’s important to stay aware of your own goals and not waste your time comparing your progress with the progress of your male counterparts.

Are you thinking of doing your workouts at home? Check out one of the best home gym machines at a very reasonable cost.

9 Tips for Females Wanting to Build Lean Muscle

1. Know Yourself and Set Goals Accordingly.

Everybody is different, looks different, and reacts differently to new routines. It’s important for you to take a look at things like your diet, present activities and obligations, body type, and level of physical activity. 

Whether you are female or male, taking up a bodybuilding campaign and producing results is going to take a lot of sacrifice. You will just make it all more difficult if you start out without setting realistic goals based on your present situation and with no false ideas about what you can do.

2. Increasing Muscle Mass Means New Challenges.

It’s easy to look around the gym and see a lot of females doing the same exercises and workout routines forever. That will tone your body and burn calories to some degree, but not increase muscle size. 

Because your muscles quickly see what you’re up to, you must continuously vary your exercises and reps and increase weight slowly but steadily. The best way to accomplish this is to keep a planner or simple spiral notebook by your side at all times in the gym.

Have different sections for each routine, and never fail to enter the weight and reps for each and every one, each and every time you are in the gym. If you wait until you leave the gym, you will neglect or forget to make the entries. Keeping accurate and up-to-date records keeps you moving in the right direction.

3. Correct Posture Is Vital.

Knowing and using the correct posture for each routine is vital to:

Don’t bother thinking you can just start slinging some weights around and make a difference. Without knowing what posture is and adhering to it, you risk injury and waste your time.

Employing the right posture while working out is crucial. In fact, you should always start with easy-to-handle weights and stick with them until you understand the correct posture for each routine. 

If уоu аrе nоt tо sure оf how tо go аbоut а particular exercise оr regime, make sure уоu do іt under thе guidance оf а professional trainer or spend some time on youtube.

4. Ovеrаll Muscle Building.

You will also notice many females sticking to the exercises and routines they feel most comfortable with. You’ll have to get past how you appear to others in the gym and commit to constantly learning new techniques and building strength.

Forget skipping legs just because you think they may be weak, strong enough, or whatever. Legs, glutes, shoulders, biceps, triceps, chest, back, and every set of muscles you have need to get in on the action. Accept the challenge and begin your journey into total and overall muscle building and bodybuilding. 

5. Using Supplements.

You can easily find hundreds of bodybuilding supplements that all say they are the best. The fact is that there are some great protein supplements, while many are a waste of time and not helpful at all.

The first thing to remember is that supplements aren’t going to build muscle. That takes learning how to build a solid workout routine, dedication, and hard work. If you take a protein powder supplement, check out this page for something to mix them in

6. Professional Trainers.

Most gyms will either have professional trainers or someone to dedicate some time to the success of your efforts. If you can afford it, this will produce the best and safest results in the shortest amount of time. 

Finding someone to mentor you and teach you about posture, techniques, and weightlifting in general will keep you from wasting a lot of time.

7. Measure BMI, Not Weight

Sometimes females work diligently to gain muscle, notice their weight increasing, and freak out. Their next step is to get involved in the latest weight loss programs and diets and wind up losing muscle instead of increasing it.

To avoid this scenario, forget the scales because they have no way to differentiate between muscle weight and fat. Keeping track of your BMI is a more accurate way to see how you’re doing. 

8. Avoid Confusion

There’s so much information online and in bookstores related to bodybuilding, fitness, and health that it’s easy to get overwhelmed and confused. Having your own trainer takes care of this problem, but you may be looking for information on your own.

If that’s you, it’s important to find a program, book, or website author with the information you need at the time and forget everything else. Trying to digest several different sources causes you to not trust any of them, and you’ll just wind up confused.

9. Proper Diet

Just because you are working out several times a week does not license you to eat everything you see or want. Part of building muscle is taking care of your body with a systematic diet that is healthy and suits your purposes of muscle gain. 

For the best results, you must be just as dedicated and disciplined about your diet as you are about your workout efforts. 

10 Mistakes Women Make When Building Muscle

Building muscle is not easy or fast for men or women. When it comes to female muscle building, if you are not doing it right, you can hurt yourself, or you can end up doing all the workouts while not actually building any muscle.

Building muscle takes time and effort, regardless of your gender. But women often face additional challenges and make preventable mistakes. Nevertheless, it is possible for women to achieve the muscular physique they desire; it just might take a little longer and require a bit more work.

female building muscle

The first step is to understand how muscle growth works. This process is known as “hypertrophy,” and it occurs when your muscles are exposed to repetitive strain (such as lifting weights). This strain causes small tears in your muscle fibers, which your body then repairs by rebuilding the muscles bigger and stronger than before.

So, the key to building muscle is to progressively overload your muscles by doing more than they’re used to. Putting on muscle as a woman might mean starting with lighter weights and doing more repetitions, then gradually increasing the weight and decreasing the reps as their muscles get stronger.

In addition to weight training, eating a balanced diet is essential for muscle growth. Protein is especially important, as it’s the nutrient that helps repair and rebuild muscle tissue. Aim for 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day. And don’t forget to include plenty of healthy carbs and fats in your diet.

When women try to build muscle, they often end up making a variety of mistakes that make the job much harder than it needs to be. Here are the top 10 mistakes that women tend to make when trying to build muscle.

Avoid These 10 Mistakes if You’re Into Female Muscle Building

#10: Repeating the same workout multiple days in a row

An intense workout will break down the muscles that were targeted during the workout. In fact, the only way to build muscle is to work it to the point that it tears the tiny muscle tissues. So, after a workout, female muscle development requires time to heal and repair itself.

If you do not give the muscle time to heal itself, then you are not actually going to build any muscle. In fact, you might end up damaging the muscle instead. Generally speaking, you should give a muscle at least one full day of rest before working out that specific muscle again.

So, if you just did a major workout session where you targeted your triceps on Monday, then you should not do a workout targeting them again until Thursday. Make sure you design your workout schedule around this. A good workout schedule should focus on a different muscle or muscle grouping each day.

#9: Not lifting heavy enough weights

woman lifting heavy weights for muscle building
Building muscle means stressing muscles more and more

Some women are interested in building muscle but are afraid of getting too big.To a certain extent, that is a fair thing to be worried about.

Society has a very strict view of what is considered pretty, and women with bulging muscles typically do not fall into that strict view. But many women take this fear way too far. Some avoid heavy weights, and others avoid weights all together in the hopes that they can avoid looking like competitive bodybuilders.

While this is understandable, it is the wrong view to take. Lifting weights is essential to building muscle and burning fat, so if you avoid lifting weights altogether, you are not going to end up building any sufficient muscle. Sure, by focusing on things like cardio, you can burn some calories, but you will still have a very flabby look because you did not bother to build up muscle.

The idea that if you lift weights you will become too big is wrong.

Men struggle to get as big as they would like. In fact, many have to turn to growth hormones to even get close to achieving as much muscle mass as they want.

This is all despite the fact that men have the natural advantage of higher testosterone. So, building muscles in women, who have naturally lower testosterone, doesn’t really come with the fear of getting too big.

If you want a toned body with a sufficient amount of muscle, then you need to start lifting heavier weights.

Plus, lifting weights has a bunch of other health benefits, like increasing bone density (which is going to be very important when you get older and bone density starts becoming an issue) and increasing the number of calories you burn.

#8: Not getting enough protein

Women tend to be a bit more conscious of what they eat when compared to men. This can lead to some women not consuming enough protein. However, just like men, the development of muscle in women requires plenty of protein.

When you are trying to lose weight and/or build muscle, protein is a godsend. It helps prevent damage to the muscles, helps prevent them from wasting away, and is a lot more filling than fat or carbs.

There are a lot of pros and cons to protein supplements, but women building muscle can usually benefit enormously from these best protein supplements.

The rule of thumb when it comes to protein is one gram of protein for every pound of weight. But many women do not measure out exactly how much protein they are consuming, which leads to them underestimating how much protein they have consumed.

You should really make sure that you are measuring out your meals exactly to ensure that you are getting the necessary amount of protein. Also, while one gram per pound of weight is the standard that you will see thrown around by bodybuilding experts, you might benefit from eating even more protein per pound.

#7: Not eating enough

Simply put, if you want to build muscles, you need to eat. Now, obviously, this does not mean that you can bust out the sweets (or at least you shouldn’t feel good about it), but it does mean that you need to try more food if you are not already getting enough calories.

There is no straight answer as to how many calories a woman trying to build muscle needs to consume a day. Every woman has her own number of calories that she feels are sufficient. Some consume in the vicinity of 2000 calories a day, while others will go up to 3000 a day. But you should at least be consuming over 2000 a day, and anything less is not sufficient.

The problem a lot of women have is that they do not eat enough, or they will eat like birds, picking at small snacks every couple hours. This is harmful to your goals.

If you are serious about building feminine muscle, you need to come up with a meal plan that includes the best foods for burning fat and building muscle, and stick to it. A lot of bodybuilders will prepare meals on a certain day (usually Sunday) and then simply eat them throughout the week.

This way, they know exactly how many calories they are consuming on a daily and weekly basis. If you are not eating enough, you are going to end up starving your body, which will retaliate by making you crave fatty and processed foods to compensate for the lack of calories.

#6: Not taking the time to warm up

Warm ups are key to building muscle
Warm-ups and stretches prevent injuries

A lot of women and men alike tend to treat their gym time as a burden that they want to get over as quickly as possible. Because of this, women tend to try to make the experience go as quickly as possible by cutting out things like pre-workout warm-ups.

Stretching before you actually start working out is crucial. It ensures that good blood flow goes to your muscles, and it helps ensure that you do not injure one of your muscles while working out; nothing hurts your progress more than accidentally tearing one. So, no matter how much you hate working out, make sure you take the time to do the proper pre-workout stretches.

#5: Focusing too much on the waist

Every woman wants a toned waist with visible abs. But some women want it so much that they end up spending way too much time on abdominal workouts that either barely work or do not work at all.

Here’s the thing: you cannot actually burn the layer of fat on your stomach by doing abdominal exercises like crunches; it just does not work. (Wondering if it’s possible to spot reduce belly fat?)

In order to get rid of the fat, you just need to focus on burning fat the normal way, through cardio and other exercises. So, if you want some nice abs to go along with your muscles, do not take time away from the rest of your body to focus on your abs. Just do your regular exercises, and the abs will come eventually.

#4: Being afraid to sweat

This is related to #9. Some women have been conditioned to think that being sweaty is gross and very unappealing. If you look around online, you can find a lot of people (predominantly women) asking if it is possible to get a really good workout without getting sweaty and disgusting.

Look, getting sweaty at a gym is natural and healthy. You are there to get a workout and the sign of a good workout is a good, healthy sweat. Do not ever avoid doing a workout because you are afraid of getting a bit sweaty. Face it, women’s bodybuilding requires sweat!

If you are so worried about your appearance at the gym, maybe it’s worth starting to exercise at home.

#3: Poor form

If you are not using a machine properly or making mistakes with form, then you are just wasting your time and you could also end up seriously hurting yourself. Strength training for women requires correct and strict form to get the results without harming yourself on the way.

When done properly, a workout will engage every part of your muscle and help build it up. If you are not doing a workout properly, then simply put, your muscles are not going to grow.

You may need to get rid of sore muscles and you may feel like you are gaining muscle, but you are not. And that’s not to mention that bad posture and form when doing exercise of any kind can and does cause injuries. Thankfully, in most gyms, there should be someone around to help make sure that you are doing every workout correctly.

#2: Overdosing on cardio

If someone has ever told you that there is no such thing as too much cardio, then they are wrong.

Cardio produces what is called “cortisol,” which is a growth hormone. This can lead to your muscles being damaged easier and can seriously mess with other things, like your diet.

In a standard workout plan, you should not be doing more than 2 hours of cardio a week. Doing so will make it harder for your body to gain muscle.

#1: Not staying hydrated

During a serious muscle building session, your body will need a huge amount of water. It helps keep your muscles and joints healthy, it helps keep you energized, and it helps keep your metabolism engaged. All of this is essential to building muscle. If you have ever watched a serious bodybuilder, you will probably notice that they keep big, gallon sized jugs of water with them. While you will not need that much water, you should make sure that you remain properly hydrated throughout the entire workout session.


Most women think that the only way to lose fat is to do cardio and eat less. However, this isn’t necessarily true – especially for women. In fact, research has shown that gaining muscle and losing fat is the most effective way to sculpt a lean and toned physique. Here’s why:

When you do cardio, you burn calories – but you also end up burning muscle. This is because cardio exercises are generally low-intensity, meaning that your body relies more on stored glucose for energy rather than burning fat.

On the other hand, resistance training (weightlifting) is a high-intensity exercise that forces your body to burn more calories and build muscle – both during and after your workout. In addition, lifting weights helps to build lean muscle mass, which in turn boosts your metabolism and helps you burn more fat.

Key Points

  • It’s not easy for females to build muscle, but it’s definitely doable when you know how.
  • Most women have to exert more energy and effort than men to metabolize fat and convert it to muscle tissue.
  • Metabolism is going to play a crucial part in the process. Whether you are female or male.
  • Taking up a bodybuilding campaign is going to take a lot of sacrifice.
  • Keeping accurate and up-to-date records keeps you moving in the right direction.
  • Knowing and using the correct posture for each routine is vital to: Preventing injury and reducing recovery time.

Building lean muscle requires knowing how to discipline yourself to learn all the right techniques and methods, whether you are male or female. Then it takes dedication to stay involved and change your body.

Taking all of the above suggestions into consideration eliminates much of the difficulty of going down the wrong paths and wasting a lot of time. In the end, knowing you are doing your body, mind, and spirit a favor with the hard work makes it all worth it.

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