Women’s Fitness: 5 Fitness Mistakes Women Make

Fit women picture. Women's fitness.

In this post I’m going to talk about some common mistakes I see especially in women’s fitness, that I feel are holding many women back from achieving a toned athletic and lean body.

Firstly I want say that men and women are very similar. And the same principles apply to both women and men. Things like:

Progressive overload

Energy balance

The ability to set goals and work hard to achieve them.

There Are A Few Differences That Differentiate Women To Men When Working On Their Health And Fitness – 5 Mistakes In Women’s Fitness

Women can’t consume as many calories as men. This is partly down to women just having smaller frames than men. And the smaller you are the less calories you need to consume to maintain your weight.

Women have a higher proportion of slow twitch / type 1 muscle fibers. If you don’t know what type 1 muscle fibres are they’re the muscle fibres that are predominately used for endurance activities such as running and cycling. And can be quite beneficial when working within a higher rep range, as apposed to doing heavy 1 rep max attempts. Men are generally better at all out max effort attempts. This is because they have a higher proportion of fast twitch muscle fibers.

Women have higher levels of growth hormone and estrogen which promote muscle growth. This means that women can build muscle just as effectively as men.

The reason women aren’t as strong as men generally speaking ( of course there are outliers, like some professional female powerlifters for instance that are stronger than the majority of men) is because they start off with much less muscle than men do because of a hormone that is much higher in males called testosterone. Hence why some men and women get abnormally big on steroids ( testosterone is a synthetic form of testosterone ).

This means that women can build 20-25 pounds of muscle (naturally) over their training career (with proper training) whereas men can gain 40-50 pounds (naturally) over the course of their training career.

But to achieve meaningful physique development there are some common mistakes that stop women from actualising their potential.

The 1’st Mistake That Some Women Make – Not Lifting Weights Because

” They’ll Make You Bulky “

women's fitness. Lifting weights don't make you bulky. Blonde fit woman.

I’ve chosen this one first because if you’re a women, and start lifting weights, you’ll not get bulky. For women to get big, bulky, bulging muscles you need to be taking steroids. But if you stay natural it’s just not going to happen. Most men find it hard to get bulky (without steroids or putting on tons of fat) and men are at an advantage because of the hormone testosterone.

Let me just let you in on something. Getting toned and sculpted from lifting your pink dumbbells just won’t cut it.

There’s only one way that you can get that toned athletic look.

And that’s by lifting weights and getting stronger. Using something called progressive overload.

Progressive overload, basically means doing more than you did the previous week. Week after week.

There are multiple ways to achieve progressive overload such as:

Using the same weight with better form.

Increasing volume in your training (increasing hard sets).

Increasing weight.

Adding reps.

Increasing range of motion. For example if one workout you can only squat 100kg to parallel and next workout you can squat 100kg below parallel depth. This is still progressive overload.

The Second Mistake That Women Make – Just Doing Isolation Exercises – 5 Mistakes In Womens Fitness

women's fitness. Women performing bicep curls.

Now that you know you should be lifting weights. You want to be lifting free weights. Free weights such as:

The barbell squat

The barbell deadlift

The dumbbell shoulder press

Barbell hip thrusts

The majority of your workouts should be focused on these exercises. Why? You might be asking. Because your body functions at it’s best when its working as a whole.

Think about it like this.

When would you ever perform a movement like a glute kickback in real life?


But as human beings we’ve been squatting down to put objects down on the floor (barbell squat). Picking up heavy things (barbell deadlift), and carrying things over head (shoulder pressing barbell and dumbbell) since the beginning of human existence. Far more than we do now.

But the point I’m trying to make is that you need to be prioritising loaded natural human movements. Where the body is working as a unit.

Barbell exercises are the best for this.

Mistake 3 – Doing too much cardio

women's fitness. Women doing cardio.

To really sculpt your body you need to be lifting heavy free weights. And over time this will sculpt and tone your body precisely how you want it.

But in contrast, cardio is good for nothing more than burning a few extra calories, and improving your cardiovascular health.

Don’t get me wrong, this is good.

But if you really want to get that fitness model look, that you’re after. You need to be prioritising lifting weights.

Mistake 4 – Not focusing on progressive overload

A lot of exercise classes just have you doing a certain exercise for a specific period of time. Which is okay if you want to burn a few calories. But not if you want to get that toned, athletic look.

To get that toned, athletic look you need to be, as we discussed earlier, getting stronger every session. And to do this you need to constantly track your workouts and just get a little bit better week after week.

To do this you can use your notes app on your phone, or a note pad. You also want to be following a structured workout plan ( I’m going to show you one later in this article.)

Mistake 5 – Spending Too Much Time On Lower Body Exercises – 5 Mistakes In Women’s Fitness

Men generally speaking want to train their chest and arms. Whereas women have a tendency to train their gluteus and legs.

So much so, that they don’t train their body as a whole. Which is how it should be trained.

For example, to get a toned, athletic, body. The only way to do that is to get good at the barbell squat, hip thrust, bench press (yes women should bench press), dumbbell shoulder press and most importantly the deadlift.

If you get good at the deadlift your whole body will be more toned and athletic looking.

This is because the deadlift trains basically every single muscle in your body, that you want to develop including the gluteus.

And if you also focus on upper body exercises like the bench press and the shoulder press you will a develop an impressive looking torso and an athletic looking upper body. As long as you focus on getting stronger.

So, focus on getting stronger at the most important exercises discussed in this article.

A Full Body Workout That You Can Do To Get That Toned, Athletic Look. Do This 3 Times Per Week, For The Best Results – 5 Mistakes In Women’s Fitness

Barbell squat – 3 sets x 10 – 12 reps

Leg press 3 sets x 10 – 12 reps

Dumbell shoulder press / Barbell bench press (rotate between workouts for instance Monday you do the shoulder press and Wednesday you do bench press then repeat) 3 sets x 10 – 12 reps

Barbell/ hex bar deadlift for 1 set of 10-12 reps

How To Progress – 5 Mistakes In Women’s Fitness

If you were squatting 50kg for your working sets then this is how you would progress over the course of 3 workout sessions.

1 – 50kg x 11,10, 10

2 – 50kg x 11, 11, 11

3 – 50kg x 12, ( put weight up to 52.5kg) 10,10

Regarding warm ups use the bar for the first warm up set to nail down proper form. On the 2nd set do 50% of your hard set weight for 8-10 reps (still nailing down proper form) then do 70% of your hard sets for 3-4 reps. Next go straight into your hard sets and do this for the barbell squat, bench press/ Dumbell press and the deadlift.

For the best results do this on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday or Tuesday, Thursday Saturday. You can also do it twice per week or once per week rotating the bench press with the dumbbell shoulder press.

The Bottom Line On 5 Mistakes In Womens Fitness

Women weightlifting. women's fitness.
  1. The fundamentals of building muscle and getting stronger don’t change between the sexes.
  2. Women need to focus on the fundamental exercises just like males. Although there is a difference in fiber types, and women have a tendency to do better with higher reps.
  3. If you just get stronger on the fundamentals you will do fine. Don’t spend too much time doing glute kickbacks.
  4. Make sure you don’t prioritise cardio over weights, and the one most important thing you should focus on to get toned, is to keep on adding reps/ weight and get stronger. This will give you that fitness model look.

Thanks for reading.

Further reading:

If you’d like a free fat loss ebook click on the link below


I really liked the book thinner leaner stronger by Michael Matthews, and this article by Menno Henselmans click below to read :


Thanks for reading, and I hope You’ve learnt something from some of the mistakes I see in women’s fitness.

If you need any additional help send me an email at henrypaget@hotmail.co.uk

Published by henrypaget

Hi, I'm Henry and it's my mission to help you succeed with your fitness & health.

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