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Effect of strength training on women visible after just three weeks

Strength training can do more for a woman's figure than plastic surgery, but many don't even contemplate it. Most people think strength training is not only heavy going, but it also takes months before the effects become visible. Not true, say sports scientists at Texas Tech University in an article in Human Movement Science. According to their study, women's muscles become significantly bigger after only two or three weeks of strength training.

The researchers did experiments with 3 groups of 15-16 female students for a period of four weeks. The first group did nothing at all during the study and functioned as the control group. Two experimental groups trained twice a week in a gym. They did squats and deadlifts to train their lower body.

One experimental group did 2 sets of squats and 2 sets of deadlifts per workout. That was the Low Volume Training group. The other experimental group did 4 sets of squats and 4 sets of deadlifts per workout: the Moderate Volume Training group.

Each week the researchers did scans to measure the circumference of the muscles in the women's legs, hips and buttocks. This enabled them to see that in the Low Volume Training group the women's muscle circumference had grown significantly after just two weeks of training. This was the case after three weeks for the women in the Moderate Volume Training group.

* = statistically significant difference.

Effect of strength training on women visible after just three weeks

The researchers' findings are not only encouraging for women who are not sure whether to start doing strength training. They are also scientifically interesting. Textbooks say that people who take up strength training gain strength initially because their nerve messages to muscles improve, and that muscle growth only kicks in later. This study suggests that muscle growth starts earlier than sports scientists thought.

Human Movement Science 45 (2016) 722.

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