4 Ways To Help Women Build Muscle

You may have noticed a slight trend appearing of late. The tide seems to be turning against the skinny minnie look and more women are wanting to look toned- to the point of ripped!

It’s long been on the wish-list of our male friends to look like Stallone circa 1985, but it seems now women are following suit too.

So where does one start in the quest for muscles? Well, first of all you need to address your diet.


Eating whole foods will help you to achieve a lower body fat percentage, enabling the muscles you’ve been working so hard to build to show. You could be very muscley indeed but sadly, if you also happen to be covered in a little layer of fat, you’ll have no definition. If that’s what you’re after you’ll be looking to eat the following foods:


Proteins have a very high thermic effect (the energy expended by our bodies in order to consume and process food).

You need 1g protein per pound of body-weight daily to build & maintain muscle. That’s 140g of daily protein if you weigh 140lbs/10 stone.

Excellent sources of protein include:

  • Red Meat: Steak, beef, venison, pork.
  • Poultry: Chicken breasts, turkey.
  • Fish: Tuna, sardines, salmon fillets, mackerel, prawns.
  • Eggs: White is full of protein and yolk is full of vitamins and good fats.
  • Dairy: Whole milk, cottage cheese, yoghurt.
  • Carbs- Oats, whole grain pasta, whole grain rice, quinoa (also an excellent source of protein), couscous.
  • Vegetables- Spinach, broccoli, green beans, leafy greens, salad.
  • Fruits- Bananas, apples, pears, berries, pineapple etc.
  • 'Good' fats- Olive oil, rapeseed oil, nuts, flax seeds, sunflower seeds.

*Make sure you eat enough. You need to give your body the food it needs for optimal recovery. Don’t make the mistake of not eating enough in order to lose body fat; you’ve got to eat more if you’re trying to build muscle, male or female. Not only will you look better, you’ll feel better.

*Have a least three square meals a day, plus 3 snacks like nuts and fruit throughout the day.Always eat after working out to help muscle recovery and replenish your energy stores. Complex carbs and protein are best.

*Get enough calories in. You’ll need to exceed the recommended calorie intake for your sex if you’re working out more.

Working Out

According to experts, the best way to build muscle is by doing what the fitness experts call ‘compound’ exercises. Basically this means you’ll be exercising many muscle groups at the same time, rather than spot training just one muscle- after all, you’re after that all-over look, not just two huge biceps!

*Squats work your whole body at the same time, they're considered to be the most important exercise in weight training circles.

*To attain your goal you should be looking at around 3 workouts per week of about 1 hour each which include compound exercises such as Squats, Deadlifts, Bench Press, Overhead Press, Pull-ups, Dips, etc.

*Mixed in with this you can include 15 minutes on a tri-plane vibration plate twice a week. Carrying out both light exercise and using it to relax and massage your muscles. Tests carried out on gym volunteers by the University of Oklahoma have also established that using a vibration plate for a few seconds prior to lifting weights makes them easier with less risk of injury.

The following muscles are used when doing each of the following exercises:

Exercise Name Major Muscle Groups Worked Minor Muscle Groups Worked
Squats Quads, hamstrings, glutes, lower back Lower legs, upper back, core stabilizing muscles, hip complex
Deadlifts Grip, lower back, hamstrings, traps, back of shoulders Lower legs, core, upper legs, isometric work for biceps, and virtually everything else
Bench Press Pecs, triceps, front of the shoulders Serratus muscles at side of ribs, side of shouders, neck
Pull Ups Lats and upper back, biceps, grip Core, neck
Overhead Pressing Shoulders, triceps Core stabilizing muscles, neck


Remember rest is very important. Muscles grow when you rest, not when you’re working out. Start with 3 full body workouts per week and focus on intensity, not time spent doing your workouts. Make sure you get at least 8 hours of good sleep per night to allow your body time to recover.


Persistence pays off. You should be getting stronger week by week, track your progress and keep going until you've built the muscles you want. You'll notice a huge change in your body after just 2 months.