All About Female Bodybuilding

Female bodybuilding has created a lot of controversy in society due to the use of drugs to achieve a higher muscle mass. However, it's a discipline that, among other things, improves the cardiovascular system. In this article, we will explain all you need to know about this practice. 
All About Female Bodybuilding

Last update: 12 January, 2019

Female bodybuilding has shown us in recent years that this is not just a sport for men. However, there is a lack of awareness regarding this sport, which is viewed with many reservations. This is because the protruding muscles of its participants contrast greatly with female beauty ideals.

It’s obvious that the image sometimes associated with female bodybuilding is that of professional bodybuilders. It is even speculated that the majority of them use anabolic steroids such as synthetic testosterone, along with other drugs to achieve as much as muscle mass as possible.

However, this doesn’t mean it’s the general rule, as there has been an evolution in female bodybuilding. There are now new ways to give greater relevance to the female form.

No amount of physical training will give you the body of a bodybuilder if it’s not combined with nutrition. In fact, diet is the most important aspect of bodybuilding.

Among other things, the athletes who compete must be confident in themselves and have an enormous amount of discipline. These attributes must combine together with the physical ability to train five or six times a week.

Preparing for a bodybuilding show involves months of intense dieting and exercise. In addition to increased muscle tone, female bodybuilders can experience other physical changes or health problems. Below, we will take this opportunity to debunk some myths related to female bodybuilding.

Myths about female bodybuilding

1. Weights don’t make you gain volume

The first thing you should know that women don’t produce as much testosterone as men, one of the hormones responsible for the increase in muscle size. Therefore, it’s impossible for women to gain large amounts of muscle mass.

It’s true that the majority of female bodybuilders have excellent genetics in addition to an incredible work ethic. This allows them to gain muscle mass quickly through weight training. Even women who don’t use steroids can achieve a muscular physique without cellulite.

Woman using handweights to train arms in gym female bodybuilding

On the other hand, women who focus only on cardio will have difficulties achieving the appearance they desire. When an exercise involves lifting little weight, there’s no worse mistake. Muscles respond to resistance and if the resistance is too light, there will be no reason for the body to gain muscle mass.

2. Exercise can increase chest size

You should know that it’s impossible to increase breast size through weight training, but what it does do is increase the size of your back. Sure enough, the only way to increase breast size is by gaining fat, exactly the opposite of what you are aiming towards by bodybuilding.

3. If you stop training, muscle turns into fat

Lastly, you should take into consideration that fat and muscle are two completely different types of tissues. What happens in many cases is that when a woman decides to suspend her bodybuilding program, she starts losing a lot of muscle due to inactivity.

You might also like: The Truth About Burning Fat

As a result of bad eating habits, along with a slower metabolism due to inactivity and decreased muscle mass, you can lose muscle and fat begins to accumulate.

“For me, life is continuously being hungry. The meaning of life is not simply to exist, to survive, but to move ahead, to go up, to achieve, to conquer.”

–Arnold Schwarzenegger–

What are the benefits of female bodybuilding?

Without a doubt, there is no other discipline that provides results quite like bodybuilding for the female and male physique. The benefits that weight training provides, along with nutrition and appropriate supplements, speak for themselves.

Weight training, technically speaking, works every part of the body, inside and out. Weightlifting activates the muscles of the body, increasing heart rate and, as a result, blood flow. Weightlifting, in particular, allows the athlete the work the muscles so that they regenerate and become big and strong.

Woman in gym prepares to lift deadlift female bodybuilding

As the muscle fibers become stronger, bone density increases and the body starts to function better in general.  This translates to better sleep, an increase in energy and hormone production, and greater sexual desire.

How does bodybuilding affect health?

Firstly, for bodybuilders who use drugs, the consequences can be numerous and appear early on. Among the main consequences of partaking in this activity are personality changes, impotence, hair loss, back acne, and heart and kidney problems.

Additionally, overtraining has a negative effect on your health and it’s very important to know when to take a break. Intense training and the risk of injury go hand in hand, especially for joints. In fact, joints deteriorate much faster as they are not meant to support so much weight.

However, you should keep in mind that if training is done properly and without drugs or steroids, bodybuilding is a great sport that improves the cardiovascular system, delays the appearance of diseases related to age, and prevents back pain.

Lastly, remember that female bodybuilding can be just as important for women as it is for men, as long as a few precautions are kept in mind. Among its many benefits, training helps to improve strength, tone muscle and improve physical condition.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Ian, M. (2001). The Primitive Subject of Female Bodybuilding: Transgression and Other Postmodern Myths. Differences, A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies12(3), 69-100.
  • Bunsell, T. (2013). Strong and Hard Women. An Ethnography of Female Bodybuilding. Routledge.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.