Can women get too big lifting heavy weights?

Can women get too big lifting heavy weights?

There are a ton of articles going around the internet these days on women and weightlifting. Most of these articles are focused on reassuring women that if they lift weights they won’t end up getting “too big” or “too bulky”. They like to throw around numbers about women’s testosterone levels vs. men’s and how its literally impossible for women to get too big and too muscular lifting weights. Then they usually show some image of a very fit women in what looks like her underwear to show, hey look at her she’s muscular, lifts heavy weights and she looks awesome…if you lift heavy weights you could look just like her!
Before I get into my take on this issue I should mention that I love heavy lifting. I also make sure most of my clients are lifting heavy as well…even the women. I’ve also NEVER had a client get too “bulky” lifting weights in all my 16 years as a Coach.

I believe everyone can lift heavy without having to worry about getting too big or too bulky. My issue isn’t with lifting in general…it’s with the total generalization that’s happening. “Everyone should be Olympic Lifting and as heavy as possible”, “You will never get too big and you will always look good if you lift”, “If you’re not lifting you’re not working out”. That kind of crap.

This kind of mentality is very narrow-minded and tends to come mostly from strength coaches who have been solely focusing on helping people get strong over the years and not working with clients who have other types of goals. They live in a strength and weightlifting bubble. There is nothing wrong with that bubble as it helps them be amazing at what they do. BUT there are other types of training and there are other types of individuals out there with goals other than just getting big and strong!!  Shocker I know :) 

Ok so can women actually get “too big” or “too bulky” lifting heavy weights?

First up you should know that it is extremely hard for both men or women to get too big or too bulky just by lifting weights…especially if we don’t eat enough food to go with our heavy training. Most of us are just not meant to put on and hang on to large amounts of weight…this includes fat or muscle! 

It’s important to understand that women do not produce as much testosterone as most males…but some produce more than others. Most women do not put on much muscle when they hit the heavy weights…but some do, especially in certain areas. So to totally generalize women and say they’ll never gain too much muscle lifting heavy weights is not actually true.

Over the years I’ve worked with lots of women who can easily put on too much muscle for their personal goals. That part must be understood, so let me explain…

I’ve worked with many past professional athletes who put on muscle extremely fast in their quads when they train their legs too often or too heavy. Years of being a pro ice skater or gymnast have given them the ability to put on muscle in their thighs very quickly. Personally, I’m attracted to fit women and muscular thighs so I don’t see this as a problemBUT I’m not the one who has to fit into skinny jeans and wear skirts every day. So when I get a client who tells me “hey Jade I put on muscle really easy in my arms or really easy in my thighs and I currently don’t want huge muscular thighs” I better pay attention! If I don’t and I just run with the theory that all women should lift heavy and CAN NEVER put on too much muscle I’d be an idiot…I would also get fired.

The truth is, some men put on muscle really easy while some men will struggle their whole lives to put on 5-10 pounds of lean muscle. The same goes for women. Some women will always be the Gwyneth Paltrow types and never get too big from lifting weights….but then you have some women who are just built more to be an athlete and they gain muscle much easier than other women. Some women love that they put on muscle easily and some women do not.

It’s not up to you or me to decide how someone should look or how they should train. We are all different and we all have different ideas of how we want to look and feel. Some of it is personal preference and some of it is for professional reasons. If I get an actress who needs to fit into a tight leather outfit for a specific movie role and I know her legs could easily get too big to fit into that outfit why would I do lots of heavy squats with her? If I get a model who needs to look lean and toned for her upcoming swimsuit shoot and I know she builds upper body muscle fast why would I do tons of heavy overhead presses and pull-ups with her?

I think more than ever people are generalizing how we “should eat” and “should train” and they are doing it from a very narrow minded viewpoint.

If you’ve chosen to be a vegetarian who loves to run and do yoga for your exercise then all the power to you. Who the hell am I to say “you should be eating paleo and olympic lifting as everything else is irrelevant.” Once you start to embrace the fact that we are all different, have different genetics, different tastes and goals it becomes much easier to not only help people but also encourage each other and love people for their differences. We are all unique and that’s what’s amazing about us!

Ok so this is the part of my writing where I have to summarize why I’ve taken the time to totally contradict what mainstream fitness is telling you as a women, which is: you are exactly the same as every other woman on this planet…you will never get too big training with heavy weights because having big muscular thighs is sexier than skinny toned legs, being able to squat huge poundages makes you a better person than someone else, Crossfit bodies are more functional that everyone else’s and everything you think about your body is totally wrong as someone with a blog tells you so ;)

Most of us (men and women) won’t ever get too big or too bulky lifting heavy weights, but some people just have the gift of muscle and depending on their personal goals they might not want to train a specific way…even if it’s currently popular.

 

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About

Jade is a Vancouver Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach with over a decade of helping people get fit and healthy.

27 Comments

  1. Rachel /Reply

    Thank you so much for this. I had to pull back my leg training because I have packed on more muscle than I am comfortable with, and I still feel guilty doing only bodyweight movements! Guilty! For working out!

  2. Shauna /Reply

    I’m struggling with how I should work out. I’ve always loved lifting heavy, but I’m feeling bulky and tired of pant legs feel tight when I get them the size that fits my waist. I currently do cardio five days a week and lift for lower body twice a week and upper body twice a week. I keep my reps at 12 and up but I still put on muscle fairly easily. My legs do not look lean unless I lose a lot of weight so I work them hard but getting them stronger is just making them bigger but not necessarily looking better. How should I work out to look more lean and less bulky? I’m 43, 5’5 and waver between 140 and 145.

    1. Jade /Reply

      Hey Shauna…thank you for the message!
      Finding jeans that fit strong legs and a small waist are hard to find!

      It sounds like one of those lower body days you may need to avoid “lifting”. If this was one of my clients I’d get them only lifting for lower body once per week and the rest of the time we’d be doing bodyweight lower body movements. On that bodyweight day I’d focus on things like single leg deadlifts (for the hamstrings), jump squats, single leg glute lifts, skaters (side to side lateral jump lunges) and whatever fun movements you can think of. Give that a try for a few weeks and see how you feel. Bug me again anytime!

    2. Lauri /Reply

      Keeping your reps at 12 and up might actually be the culprit here. High rep ranges around 8-12 and more encourage muscular hypertrophy and are a favorite among bodybuilders for that reason. If you want to focus on pure strength rather than hypertrophy you should consider powerlifting rep ranges. That is, reps of 1-3.

      1. Jade /Reply

        Actually you can build quite a bit of muscle and size with heavy weight/low reps…just look at power and olympic lifters (and some crossfit). While not super shapely they are quite big and thick. Most body builders use low reps and heavy weight for strength and thickness, medium weights and reps for building and lighter weights with higher reps for sculpting/shaping their bodies. It can really depend on whether or not an individual is predominately fast or slow twitch muscle fibers, how long they’ve been training, their age and of course their goals.
        If someone comes to me and tells me they are training a muscle group twice per week with heavy weights yet they want that muscle to stop increasing in size the answer is pretty simple…you either reduce the amount of volume or reduce the load/weight for a period of time. Usually it’s hard to convince someone to stop lifting which makes reducing the load the best choice :)

        All of that being said…Showing “leanness” in the legs will come down to nutrition (plus water/salt intake) more-so than training.

    3. Sarah /Reply

      Shauna and Jade- this is exactly my problem right now… I do Les Mills (Body Pump, Combat, sometimes Attack… I know people sometimes snub Les Mills, but the classes have worked so far for me), spin, and other cardio (walking, elliptical, stairs). I am 33, 5’2″ and haven’t gained one pound in two years but my jeans are way tight (inner thighs especially seem to have exploded) since I started wanting to see more definition, and went to lifting about 1.5x – 2x depending on the area in January … I’m surprised how big I am getting so fast, although nothing is more defined than it was before. SO I know that I need to cut back, and your posts helped guide me quite a bit. The hardest part is that I am going to lose my booty (heavy has been the only thing to offset wide hips and bump it out)- it looks great and my husband loves it. :-( Any tips to keep some junk in the trunk?… And how quickly do I cut back, and by how much? I keep track of macros (also has worked for me), not sure if that helps provide a better answer. Thanks!

  3. Mary /Reply

    Thank you for writing this. I don’t do Crossfit and have nothing against it but have come across people who try to get me to do it but I simply am not interested. I do boot camp classes and perfectly happy with that. We do Crossfit style workouts without the use of the weights and bars. I am perfectly fine with that. I just am tired of some people making me feel like I don’t care about my fitness level because I don’t do the heavy weight lifting (I do lift and try to go heavy) or demeaning (yes, some people laugh at what I do, as if it is a joke) the type of workouts I do. I am really surprised that the fitness snobs haven’t jumped your case yet.

    1. Jade /Reply

      Hey Mary…thank you for the message!
      I used to do a bit of Crossfit when it first came onto the scene and wasn’t super trendy. Eventually I found it too repetitive and it started to get in the way of my regular training.
      I didn’t really feel like doing pull-ups and overhead presses every damn day!

      What a lot of people don’t realize is that Crossfit is mostly geared towards helping you get better at Crossfit…specifically competing in Crossfit competitions. The reality is that most people just want to be healthy and get into great shape, they have no desire to “compete”.
      So while the intensity and community of Crossfit can be a nice change we don’t all have the same goals for our health. Most of us just want to feel great and look great!

      I train out of a gym thats full of crossfit trainers, so I totally know what you mean about doing your own style of training and getting that “looked down on” feeling because you aren’t doing some weird butterfly pull-up, cleaning some heavy barbell, and making a big scene on some WOD.

      All I can say is to keep doing your own thing, put your headphones on, try to tune them out and focus on you. If you let that stuff get into your head it can kill your motivation and progress…I know first hand.

      Some of us workout because we love moving our bodies, and some people workout because they are following the bandwagon. A year from now most of these bandwagon followers will have stopped working out all together while you and I will still be training hard and in great shape :)

  4. Pinky /Reply

    Hi Jade,

    I’m Pinky and i went through your interesting article. I’m so so confused reading so many things online as whether women would bulk up lifting weights or not. I’ve been working out for 5 yrs now. I’m 31yrs old and have a 8 year old son, 5 feet in height and weigh 58kg. I luv lifting weights. last year i would do alternate days of cardio and weight lift. From Jan this year i have started weight lifting four days a week and one day of cardio. This workout is for an hour now. Mon and thursday i do lower body workout and tuesday and friday i do upper and abs. So the lower body workout consists of one leg bumbell squat (20kg in total), Dead lift (30kg in total) Lunges( 5kg in total) Leg press(55Kg) Hamstring (10kg) Inner thigh squat(20Kg) , Dumbbel rows(7.5)3 sets of 15 counts and in between this i skip 1000 ropes. Upper body workout Benchpress (15kg in total) inclined Benchpress(15kg), Shoulder press(10kg), Bicep curl(10Kg) , flies (6kg) and in between these i do sides and abs. I have managed to loose 3 kg since January as in thtat month i was 60.4 kg. Now in the gym everyone scares me saying are you going to do this lifelong, you are going to get bulkier and so on. My question to you is I want to loose another 4 kg and then maintain that. Do i need to keep doing this workout forever or once i reach my target i can switch to lighter weights and other forms Please please do advice.

    1. Jade /Reply

      Hey Pinky…thank you for the comment/question!

      I would pay no attention to those telling you that if you plan to do this long-term that you will bulk up. You’re workout sounds like it’s working…and the weights don’t sound too heavy so I wouldn’t worry about becoming bulky from your training. If for some reason you did start to gain too much muscle in a specific area you could just back off on the volume or weight for that muscle group.

      Will you need to be doing this workout forever to maintain your weight when you get to where you’d like to be?
      Eventually you will get very bored of your workout if you don’t mix it up…you will also see less and less results doing the same workout repeatedly. So over time your workout will change regardless. It will change with your goals, energy and your age. Some months you might train harder than others, some months might be heavier, some lighter…it all depends. But I will say working out to some degree will keep you healthy and in shape so I’m assuming you’ll still workout in some capacity. Weight loss wise you’ll find that once you reach your desired weight that your nutrition will play a bigger role in keeping you where you want to be than your training. So focus on a clean eating plan and you’ll find you won’t need to train as hard. If you need help with the nutrition my New You Program is a fully structured, clean eating plan that is geared towards helping people get lean!

  5. Meg /Reply

    Hi Jade-

    Thank you for this great article, it definitely has me thinking about my current work out routine. I started at a gym in January, and also splurged for a personal trainer because I was tired of joining gyms, going for a week and giving up. Working with a trainer has been great- its motivating me to get in the gym 5-6 days a week, but I am frustrated because I dont feel like I am losing much weight. I know I am building muscle, and I feel stronger- but of course, being a 29 year old woman, I am worried that I am going to “bulk up” too much, and not lose the weight I want. I currently weigh 158 lbs at 5’6. I’m lifting weights a few times a week, going to spin classes, and doing lots of planks/push ups/pilates but I am so worried that I am going to look too muscular. Its hard to talk to a trainer/nutritionist about wanting to look “thin” and not “muscular”…I feel like they are going to think I’m in the gym for the wrong reasons. Is being “thin” about what you eat, or what you do for exercise? Its all so much to think about!

    1. Jade /Reply

      Hey Meg…thank you for the question!
      Unless you are lifting quite heavy and consuming loads of extra calories and a lot of protein you shouldn’t have to worry about getting too bulky…that is of course unless you are genetically predisposed to muscle. I have some clients who are…they make me jealous as I am not :)
      For most people…average people like myself getting too bulky is actually very hard to do. Although some of us have specific body parts that can bulk up more than others. For those body parts its best to go light with your weights if you don’t want them too big.
      It sounds like your eating plan is where you need to focus. There is a huge misconception that exercise is the key to weight loss when really it’s mostly diet related…and not just calorie related, but quality calories mostly.

      If you switch your mindset to thinking that exercise is the key to shaping your body and making it nice and strong…then what you eat as the key to what your body-fat percentage is it will make things easier. Even though exercise does have the ability to help you lose body-fat and nutrition has the ability to help you put on muscle it’s much faster to lose weight/fat through diet and much faster to build your body through exercise.
      More exercise is usually not the answer when someone is working out as much as you are…focusing on nutrition is. Perhaps a medium to low carb approach would work well for you…

  6. Stacey Grover /Reply

    Hi Jade,
    I really enjoyed your article :)
    I love lifting weights especially heavy weights. I do legs Monday/Wednesday and upper Tuesday/ Thursday followed by 20 min steady state cardio on stair machine after each session. I also do a weights circuit on the Saturday.
    I am currently squatting 50kg, dead lifting 50kg walking lunges 12.5kg each side so lifting quite heavy weights for lower workout. I feel very bulky at the moment especially my legs but I’m not sure if this is just water retention/fluid on muscles. I am looking to get really lean but I don’t want to get bigger. I was thinking about lowering the leg workout to once a week? I would be very grateful for any advice you can give me
    Thanks

    1. Jade /Reply

      Hey Stacey…thank you for the question.
      You have some impressive lifts there…nice work!
      If you were my client and you had these same concerns I would turn one of those leg days into a light training day. I would focus on mostly bodyweight movements and a nice mix of movements you may not do often…like split squats, step-ups etc…but do them high rep and low weight if any weight. This may effect your circuit on Saturdays and you may have to do less leg work on that day…or focus on hamstrings, calves etc…

  7. eboni /Reply

    Hi,
    Thank you for your article. I ran track in undergrad and as a part of my program, I lifted heavy. I’ve always been naturally good at it and I have always enjoyed it. Now I am 30 and I do full body, heavy lifting twice a week. (I have 3 kids so its easier for me to do fullbody twice a week then come 4 times a week to split upper and lower.) I put on muscle FAST. But I’m 5’2 and not as thin as I used to be (30 pounds heavier) so I just look bulky. A few years ago I had done pilates and loved it. Do you think this can effectively replace weightlifting for someone who gets bulky fast like me. I squat 220 and bench 135 easily for 10 reps. I just dont know if bodyweigt will produce the results I want to be toned again like when I ran track. Final note, I was a sprinter so the idea of running on a treadmill for an hour is mortifying but I dont know if short fast workouts will get the weight off of me. I never did it to lose weight in the past?! and p.s. i’m a girl

  8. rhinaa /Reply

    Hi Jade great article!! Im trying to get a bigger lower body and a smaller upper body and smaller waist – i do tons of lunges desdlifts rdls and hip thrusts and my legs have gotten bigger but not as big as id like it to be :( i do leg day twice a week but am thinking of bumping it up to 3 times a week – is that too much?

    Also my upper body is quite fatty! If i do heavy weights on upper body once a week but eat no carbs after my workout – will that make it smaller?

    Im an apple lookin to get that hourglass shape!

    Thanks so much for your input! :)

  9. Charlotte /Reply

    Ah I am SO glad to read this! I have been doing the tacfit commando programme with trainer, so no major lifting involved, but it does include a lot of pressing and work with weights. I originally started training to slim down and tone up. I was fairly overweight (age 34 female).

    A year along, I have developed muscular shoulders, neck, upper arms, calves and back, so much so that I now cover up more of my body than when I started. Far from feeling slimmer and more attractive I feel more masculine, I especially hate my back and no longer wear backless, strapless or shoulder-less tops.

    To add to the frustration, the areas of my body which needed the most work (tummy, thighs, butt) are still wobbly! I am still carrying a lot of fat.
    I train x4 times a week, it is pretty intense and it is important to note I do feel fit, but I am not happy with how I look, at all.
    My personal trainer sees looking good as a by product of being fit and I am frustrated that he doesn’t take my concerns seriously. He said it is impossible to sculpt specific areas, but this seems illogical to me, sure if I did less upper body work and focussed more on my lower body then I wouldn’t have so much muscle up top!

    Have you any experience of tacfit? I really enjoy the fitness element and the workouts themselves, my recovery is amazing and I am more agile and flexible than I have ever been in my life. However, as vain as it sounds, I started training because for once in my life I want to look good, for me it is the fitness that is a by product, I want to look good naked, JUST ONCE IN MY LIFE.

  10. Robin Wallouch /Reply

    I am a cyclist, have always been fit. My question is two fold: how does a female cyclist avoid getting larger thighs. The other question is I discovered in last Oct. I had a thyroid issue and was put on meds. Secondly, I’m 48 and at that same time started bio identical hormone treatments of progesterone and estrogen. Since having these 3 issues I have gained about 6 pounds. In the butt and thigh area. This is highly unusual given my weight has never fluctuated like this. Not only do I cycle, but I teach 7 spin classes a week. Have you had other client’s with similar issues? I find the extra weight very frustrating given the amount I train. Thx

  11. angela /Reply

    Hi Jade love the article!
    I have this exact problem I was originally doing 12- 15 reps and I was getting quite lean.. Then I had people telling me to get more lean you need to increase weight and do 8-10 because girls don’t get big… the problem is at 8-10reps I can squat 130kgs and lunge 95kg’s (209lbs I think) which is more than most females can.. now I’m left with a big butt, big thighs and I’ve noticed my waist has gotten thicker… in terms of fat I haven’t put any on matter of fact I have lost fat but look overall bigger then than before and gained 2 kgs (4lbs)…. I do a lot of cardio because I do kickboxing 2 hours a night 5 nights a week a night, plus lifting on top that 6 times a week different muscle group each night… I’m thinking of dropping my lifting to 3 nights week and going back to 12-15 reps… What is your take on it? I just really want to decrease my size I hate it…
    I’m taking 2 weeks off lifting soon to train kickboxing overseas 2 x a day in total 5 hours a day.. I’m really hoping I’ll burn this extra muscle I’ve packed on over there from all the intense cardio by the time I get back haha

  12. Amy /Reply

    Thanks for writing this! I have always felt this to be true, but sooo many trainers and articles have assured me that it’s “impossible”. I work as a fitting model for pattern making, so maintaining my size down to the quarter of an inch is critical to my job, and it’s really hard to do when your body loves muscle! I’m struggling now with a lot of the new workouts out there, wondering if the cardio/strength circuit style classes are maybe not right for me. I’m thinking about asking if I can do some modifications to what I do (like what the people with injuries get to do) but I’m not sure those trainers will buy what I’m saying because of the prominence of that “impossible” thinking? I have the same prob some of the other women mentioned, and for me it’s my shoulders especially that I notice, as well as calves. I’ve actually had testing done so I know I have relatively higher testosterone on the scale for women, so maybe this is part of it. I never ever lose tone in my legs, and my shoulders are naturally broad (just the bones). People always ask me if I play sports…whenever I go on a workout kick to lose weight the first thing that happens is my jackets and skinny jeans no longer fit…obviously the opposite of what I’m going for. I’m 5’7′ and about 150lbs. I’m not sure if I’m a pear or an hourglass bc I’m smaller chested but the darn shoulders… I just started working out again with kickboxing, and then cardio boxing and gained 5 lbs :-( Now I’m doing one of these cardio/strength circuit places that is treadmill intervals, rowing machine & floor exercise combo but I’m wondering if I should just go find a treadmill and leave the rest alone for awhile? Goal weight for me is 140 lbs which is like a size 4/6 for me – medium bones, and plenty of muscle.

  13. Mari /Reply

    From what I have read all over the internet that women will “lean out” not get huge and bulky? Just like you said us women dont have near as much testosterone as men but…..as you said there are other women who have more then others.

    Does this also have to do with genetics as well? I am sure this plays a pretty important role as well?! My Father is 6’5 320 lbs I am 6’0 and back in 2007 I was at my heaviest which was 329 I am now down to 261 68 lbs down and still losing. My Father’s side of the family are all tall and big boned. I love to lift I enjoy it and its really shaping my body up the way it is meant to be. But my other worry is losing the boobs? :'( But I also know that doing chest exercises also helps tighten the chest up so it naturally lifts?

    I have seen alot of female bodybuilders who have literally NO BOOBS at all or they had implants that still dont look right but there are others who are 100% natural and look amazingly well. Thank you for this article it helped me out a bunch. Never will I ever be afraid again to lift heavy!

  14. luna /Reply

    Great article. Wish I knew more trainers with this way of thinking since my previous experience is they want to shape you ihow they feel is good. I trained a lot and lifted, circuit training and was lean and toned but i felt like my thighs are getting big, so i tried to change it up. i was doing hiit and yoga and lifted for mt upper body to maintain. I was advised to lift heavy, very low rep to build strenght and not bulk. i didnt know my upper body will respond that quick.Well, that backfired big time. Now i look like inexperienced bodybuilder. Broad back, traps and neck, and since my legs shrunk a bit and i have narrow waist it looks horrible. Is there any way i can reverse it or i should try to accept my gorilla style? Any advice would be really appreciated.

  15. Jessy /Reply

    I have a huge problem,
    I’m trying to lose weight since I was 14 years old en now at 18 I’m bulky.
    I started weightlifting a year ago and first I got good results. Now I’m called the ‘Shehulk’ by my parents.
    My legs are wide en my butt( was always nice) is now a bit too big. My shoulders are wide en my bellt fat is still there.
    I workout 4 times a week, have a busy school life. I eat overall maybe a 1200 calories a day, I’m 173 cm tall and I weigh 68 kg.
    My boyfriend tells me to do only cardio and I do that 15min. Per workout but I find it really boring.
    I’m feeling really depressed of my figure and I don t know what to do.

  16. June /Reply

    Hi. I have been lifting for 19 months. The first 14 of those were strong lifts, then I went on to Wendlers. I am not trying to compete, just trying to be in good shape and age well (I am a 54-year-old woman). I have worked my way up over 91 kg with squats and deadlifts many times, then I will drop lower for a while and do it again. With benches and presses my highest is about 52 kg. Here is the thing, when I started I was 139 and trying to go to 130, got down to 135 then started going up, but, I still wear the size 6 (US) small I wore then, although it is a little tighter I have not bought larger jeans. I went to the Doctor and was weighed, I weighed 77 kg. I left scratching my head, last time I weighed that much I wore a size 10-12 US. I can visually see I have some “poof” and I do tend to retain water, especially the time of month I went to the Doctor, also although I have not hit it yet I have to hit menopause pretty soon, probably next year like my Mom did, so hormones could also be involved, but I am trying to figure out how I can weigh that much and still be this size. Even if I factor in everything, I must have gained around 10 kg of muscle. I so seem to gain it easily, but I cut some of the time and bulked other times, what do you think? I would like to get some of this weight off without losing the muscle so I have cut a small amount off my food but I am not doing anything radical, maybe a little more cardio. Like I said I do Wendler’s, 4 workouts a week, bench, deadlift, military press, squats, all accompanied by accessory lifts. What do you think would be the best thing I could do to get smaller but keep my gains. I want to see my body fat go down, not my muscle. I have started taking tumeric to help with the water retention and I am also going to up my magnesium.

  17. Louise /Reply

    Hope I’m not too late to join. I have been doing upper body exercises heavy for 6 months and I’ve notice my back is getting too wide just under my arm pits. How do I stop my back from being so wide?

    I’m already an inverted triangle body type and the last thing I need is to get wider in the back.

    I’ve been doing wide grip pull downs, pull ups, etc.

  18. Steph /Reply

    Thanks for this article! Something I don’t often read about but what you have written has kind of validated how I am feeling right now. The last 6 months I have been focusing on lifting heavy weights, and I love it. The sense of accomplishment when you get through a set, seeing your progress to lifting heavier and heavier weights, seeing the change in your body and muscle definition when you look in the mirror. I really enjoy it. I started working out this way because I am in a wedding in 3 months and wanted to improve the look of my body, and all these articles and advice from people saying as a female it’s impossible to get big muscles from lifting weights, it will instead make you stronger and leaner. Which was my goal! But now the bridesmaid dress has arrived, and it’s apparent I have absolutely packed on muscle and gotten bigger in my back especially. The dress barely fits. I am devastated. Now I need to put my training on hold I cannot risk getting any bigger. All my progress will go out the window. I don’t know what to do. My thoughts are to really restrict my calories, and cut all exercise (weight training to avoid gaining any more muscle, and cardio because I am scared it will increase my appetite and increase my caloric need). I don’t know if this is the best idea or not. Any thoughts on how I can lose size rapidly (less than 12 weeks)?

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