How Can a Woman Become Physically Strong?

50 years ago, becoming physically strong was not a beauty standard set by society for women. Now however, physical strength is part of being successful and is something that is regularly encouraged and championed for women.

Tons of female athletes around the world constantly encourage women and young girls to challenge the notion that fitness and strength is a male-only entourage. Many women love the idea of being physically strong, however, the path to physical fitness isn’t so clear cut.

There are so many questions and opinions surrounding fitness that it often leaves people confused on what the right path actually is. There are so many blogs, magazines and commercials that advertise certain fitness plan that guarantee female success.

Almost everyday I see advertisements for certain diets and workout equipment that “guarantee” weight loss or strength, but it’s hard to know how much truth is in their words.

With all this information floating around everywhere, it’s no wonder women everywhere are often overwhelmed and unsure about how to work out and eat right for substantial gains.

So, how can a woman become physically strong? Women become physically strong when they exercise consistently while eating the correct foods to build muscle. More specifically, strength comes as a result of following a measurable regimen of exercise that involves increasing resistance over time periodically.

Being physically strong can not only improve your self-esteem but also improve your cognitive abilities. Exercising releases endorphins which can help you enjoy a better lifestyle.

It can help you perform better at work, give you more energy and get you into the habit of creating goals.

How Should a Woman Train to Be Stronger Than the Average Man?

It’s no secret that society views men as having more natural strength than women. However, this by no means indicates that women can’t be as strong as the average man given the correct lifestyle routine and workout regimen.

If you take sports like Olympic lifting or Crossfit, you may notice that the elite women are typically much stronger than average men.

Their work capacity and strength have been trained with consistency and as a result, they are able to outlift and outperform average men.

The first step in fitness training is to determine where you are currently in your fitness journey. Be careful not to assume the common myth that your body shape indicates your fitness level.

There are plenty of women with larger body types that are very strong and plenty of women with smaller body types that aren’t strong at all.

Generally, there are two types of fitness capacities, your cardiovascular endurance and your muscular strength.

The first centers around activities like how far you can run and swim, while the second is closer to how much weight you can lift or how many pushups you can do.

True fitness is being able to have high capacities in both areas. (This is why I like Crossfit). Functional fitness helps you excel in all areas.

If we look at the facts of male vs. female lifting strength, we can get a good idea of what a woman would have to do to meet the standard lifting strength of the average man.

Remember that deadlifts are a movement that involves lifting a barbell from the floor and standing up with it (while it hangs at arms length).

An average male novice (i.e. with minimal training experience) can deadlift roughly 133% of his bodyweight. Whereas, novice females can deadlift about 101% of their bodyweight, on average.

Dr. Lon Kilgore, coauthor of Practical Programming for Strength Training (2nd edition) Source

So this means that a 180lb male should be able to deadlift roughly 200lbs. The average woman should be able to lift their own bodyweight in this movement.

This means that one you are able to deadlift 133% of your body weight, you are as strong as the average man.

The difference between these two average capacities can be attributed to a lot of factors, but the biggest reason is biological chemistry.

Certain hormones that are more prevalent in men, such as testosterone, allow for more muscular strength and power without strenuous training. This being said, a woman can easily train to lift much higher and run much farther than the average man.

In fact, every professional and most collegiate female athletes are stronger than the average man. A good training plan can quickly get you from only being able to do a few pushups, to shocking your gym partners by being able to get a personal best in the bench press.

Where to Start to Improve Your Strength – Becoming Wonder Woman

Assuming you are starting from scratch with little to no experience with fitness training, the first step to becoming stronger than the average man is establishing a solid base.

Establishing a solid base begins with gaining a strong core. When most people think of the word “core” they automatically think to a set of rock hard abs.

This is very far from the truth. The media has often portrayed fit women as those with flat stomachs and visible abdominal muscles.

Although fitness “can” look like that, sometimes strength looks different!

Core includes your abs, glutes, back, hips and every muscle focused around the center of your body. This area might seem unimportant if your goal is to lift a high amount of weight, but your core is arguably the most important area of your body when it comes to fitness and muscular power.

Your core controls how in sync the rest of your muscles are to each other. You can’t lift a heavy bar without your legs, hips, abs, chest and arms all working together. The core of your body connects everything to each other, which is important for not only performance, but also safety and injury prevention.

If you were lifting a heavy amount of weight, but your hips give out, it wouldn’t matter how much muscle you have in your legs and arms, you would be unable to perform the lift correctly and could get seriously injured.

A good place to start is incorporating yoga and pilates into daily movements with light cardio. Yoga might seem like stretching and meditating on the surface, but it’s actually quite difficult and can significantly improve core strength.

I remember the first time I went to a yoga class, I was honestly in the mindset that the majority of the time we would be stretching with calming music. I was completely wrong.

Instead of laying on the ground for 45 minutes, it was actually a very good workout. Most of yoga and pilates classes alike are centered around building your core strength. It involves lots of stability movements and basic strength conditioning.

Yoga is a great place to start before you move into power lifting, wink.

Taking Your Training to the Next Level

Once you’ve developed a solid core, you should begin to build strength in your legs and arms. This can be done in a variety of ways. The most popular way is of course, good old fashioned weight lifting.

If you have a gym membership, you can start out with using free weights to do bicep curls and squats, while slowly working up to doing lifts on platforms.

Eventually, with time, you can see drastic results in your overall strength and fitness. The key is consistency! Create a workout plan with the help of someone with experience and have an additional person keep you accountable.

The best way to tackle fitness is to have someone go on the journey with you!

Can a Woman Be as Strong as a Man?

The short answer is, yes, a woman can be as strong as a man. However, there are certain areas in fitness that men develop faster in. This doesn’t mean that women can’t achieve them.

Think of it as two people in a classroom. One student is naturally smart while the other student has to study to get the same grade. The average man might have more strength naturally, but women can certainly become strong themselves.

Another important point is that not all men are strong. The average man has a good amount of natural strength, but many women excel beyond some men when it comes to physical strength. It really depends on the person.

A lot of science goes back to simply comparing people pound for pound. Obviously, a five foot-two person weighing 120 pounds cannot be as strong as a six foot-five person weighing 240 pounds.

Size is more important when it comes to physical strength rather than genetic makeup.

Many studies have found that the difference in genetic makeup isn’t as drastic as we think when it comes to muscular strength. The science simply states that more men grow muscle easily rather than the amount of women that grow muscle easily. It depends on the group of people you look at.

How to Become Physically Stronger Without a Gym

Many people think that getting fit requires spending boatloads of money on a fancy gym membership. While there are lots of benefits of belonging to a private gym, it’s completely feasible to achieve your goals without any fancy equipment.

There are plenty of ways to get fit without stepping inside a gym.

My favorites are:

  1. Running
  2. Using public outdoor workout equipment
  3. Working out at home

Running is arguably the most common form of exercise. It’s free, it can be done anywhere and all you need is your two feet. When people train to physically stronger, cardio is often seen as counterproductive or unimportant.

There are plenty of ways to incorporate running into strength training. Workouts that focus on sprinting or running up hills build tremendous amounts of muscle in your core, your glutes and your legs.

A great workout that I’ve before is hill repeats. This workout probably can’t be done if you live in a completely flat area, but any steep incline is good. Start with ten repeats where you sprint up the hill. You can take a few minutes to catch your breath and head back down the hill.

If you live in super hilly terrain, you might want to do less reps and increase the distance you run.

Another way to become physically strong without a gym is by using “public” outdoor workout equipment. This option works best for someone that lives in a city or a suburb that offers such a great resource.

Many parks with have running trails with workout stations along the way. You can easily get a nice jog in, while breaking it up with pushups, pull-ups and everything in between. Even though I’ve only done this a few times, it’s so fun to change things up and workout in your community.

To make things even better, you can enjoy these types of workouts more with a friend. Getting through each station is a lot more bearable when you have someone doing it with you!

Lastly, if you like working out in private there are so many options you can do in your own home. Consider following YouTube channels that focus on working out at home or look into products like P90x, etc.

How to Become Physically Strong at Home

Workout videos changed the game when it came to at-home fitness. Over the past few decades, the internet has made it even more accessible for women to get strong in their own living room.

The great thing is, videos are just the beginning of the options we have to workout without stepping out of our front door.

One of my favorite at-home fitness option is a series of online pilates videos termed Blogilates by a woman named Cassey Ho. She’s a certified pilates instructor that has created hundreds of fun, upbeat workout videos for women that target any area of the body you can think of.

The great thing about these videos, and many other online female workout instructors, is that they encourage you along the way on your fitness journey, while preaching self-love and body positivity.

This website also has monthly calendar challenges that you can check off boxes for when you complete the assigned workout for that day. To top it all off, Cassey has an entire section dedication to healthy recipes and nutrition tips!

Another great online option for working out at home is the Nike Training Club app. I use this app all the time and it’s so easy to unlock your phone and click the workout you want to do for the day.

Nike separates workouts based on the target area of you body you want to get stronger in and creates a list of workouts you should try based on the difficulty level and the equipment you may or may not have.

During the workout, you have a personal coach that talks you through each exercise and encourages you along the way. If you like to keep track of your progress, this app also creates a data sheet of your workout history to see your improvement so you can create goals.

If you want to purchase equipment, or create a mini home gym, it can end up being cheaper than a gym membership down the road.

I personally have a stationary bike and some lightweight dumbbells in my home for me to use at my leisure. The bike helps tremendously to get cardio in without having to go outside on a hot day. It’s also beneficial to have some free weights in your home to build extra muscle in your personal workouts.

How Can I Get Physically Stronger Without Weight?

Getting physically strong without weights is tricky, but it’s absolutely possible.

The key to strength without weights is making your workout harder using resistance. Running up a hill builds more muscle than running on flat surface because you have the resistance of the incline fighting against you.

Swimmers that train competitively often attach resistance to their bodies to make it harder to swim, increasing the muscle they gain from their workout.

So, how can you incorporate resistance to your everyday workouts? The easiest and most efficient option is to purchase resistance bands from your local store. Every Walmart and Target sells them at different levels in their fitness section.

Almost every exercise you can think of can increase in difficulty with the help of a resistance band. The most common exercise people use them for are for squats.

To get the physical benefits of adding weight without actually adding a pound to your body, simply put your resistance band above your knees securely and complete your exercise as its normally performed.

Especially if it’s a thicker band, you’ll notice almost immediately that adding resistance makes for a better workout.

Another great way to add resistance to your workouts is to use wind resistance. You might have never heard of this technique, but it is so incredibly effective if you want to add difficulty to a sprint workout.

Most of the time wind resistant equipment has to be ordered online or bought at a sports store. The most common equipment is a personal parachute resistance kit that attaches at your waist. When you start sprinting, the wind collects in the parachute, slowing you down and making the workout harder.

If you prefer an equipment free workout, body weight exercises can be very effective if they’re done correctly.

Two exercises that work the best for me are burpees and pushups. Probably two of the most hated exercises, but also the most beneficial. Both of these targets several muscle groups at once, and have you lifting your entirely body weight up from the ground.

Many fitness experts even argue that having incredible bodyweight strength translate more accurately to true fitness than being able to lift up a huge weight in the gym.

Regardless of the method you approach your fitness however, make sure you consult your doctor before making any sudden drastic lifestyle changes. Additionally, it’s important to get someone to teach you how to properly complete olympic style lifts, if that’s the route you choose to go.

Lastly, don’t fall into the trap of thinking a certain diet with let you cut corners to a fit lifestyle.

Exercise and nutrition go hand in hand, and one can’t do all the work without the other. Cutting calories should only be done under the watchful eye of a professional, but a general rule of thumb to choose healthy options that give you the energy you need for the day.

Confidence Reboot

I am so glad you are here, and have chosen to spend your time reading my blog. For the past 4 plus years, I have been on an intense mission to read books, go to seminars, and generally turn myself inside out to find out why some people seem to feel good in their own skin while I've struggled with self-worth and low self-esteem most of my adult life. I hope you find insights that help you on your journey!

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