Luckily, most athletic women today are no longer afraid of lifting heavy weights. So how should they train with them? Almost exactly like men, with a few minor differences. Here they are:
- Slightly more reps per set: Women don't have the capacity to recruit as many motor units as men do. As such, they'll need 1-2 more reps to fully stimulate their muscles. So when training for strength, a man should use between 1 and 5 reps while a woman will benefit more from doing 3-6 reps. When training for muscle gains, men will benefit from doing 5-10 reps while women should stick to 7-12 reps.
- Slightly more sets per exercise: Most women will need to perform 1-2 more sets of an exercise to achieve the same degree of stimulation as a man, again because of their lower motor unit activation.
- Slightly less intensity: This isn't to say that women shouldn't lift heavy, but since they need a few more reps and a few more sets, the relative intensity must be decreased a little to allow for proper progression.