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Hear me roar! How to build strength as a woman

By Ellen Phillips

Physiotherapist at Life Ready Physio + Pilates Bayswater


Many women are fearful of the gym and lifting weights as they believe that it will make them look ‘bulky’. However, this is definitely not the case! Women can benefit in many ways from building strength, so here are our tips to starting targeted strength exercises as a woman. 

Heavy lifting

To gain strength, stress must be placed upon muscle. Many women avoid lifting heavy weights due to the fear that they will look “big”. However, lifting small weights that are comfortable for three sets will not result in significant strength gains. Getting out of your comfort zone and putting greater stress on your muscles during strength exercises will enable your muscles to hypertrophy and grow stronger. A general rule of thumb is picking a weight that you can complete 10 repetitions of, with the final two repetitions being a challenge. This will increase strength gains while reducing the risk of injury. 

How much and how often?

An important element of reaching any fitness goal is consistency. To see results, a good aim for strength training is a minimum of 2-3 times per week. General recommendations for building strength are 2-3 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions of each exercise. Rest is an important part of muscle building, so exercises can be alternated or a short rest between sets can be employed.


Strength training has many benefits, including improved sleep, decreased risk of injury, increased metabolism and increased confidence. Strength training is also increasingly important as women get older as it can increase bone density, which limits the risk of osteoporosis and fractures. 


Physiotherapists can assist you in creating a strengthening program that targets your specific health and fitness goals. Our team can modify your program where needed if you are managing an injury or have specific areas you would like to work on. 

Physiotherapist-led Clinical Pilates can be a great way to begin building strength and is especially useful if you are managing an injury — it can be easily modified to assist in injury recovery and is an ideal way to build lean muscle. 

Physiotherapists use exercise physiology principles to select exercises that will help you start your journey to build strength as a woman, so call our team to book your initial appointment today!

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