Fibion Blog • Women’s Strength Training - Practical Tricks • Timo Haikarainen

Women’s Strength Training – Practical Tricks

Practical Tricks for Women to train Effectively Blog Series

Women’s Strength Training – Practical Tricks

Gender differences in strength training –series 2/6

In the early stages of training men and women can achieve similar rate in the strength development. In general, however, men are training proportionately with much larger weights than women very soon.

This is often because women tend to do training too gently, while men are waving weights that are even too heavy for their technique and strength levels. Some people may reproach this generalisation, but basically this is the case very often.

To be able to follow weights used in training and strength development, it is good idea to use training diary. And if it is not showing 20-80 % rise (depending on the exercise) in the first months, quality of the training should be checked.

In my opinion, women should pay attention to very powerful and as fast as possible concentric phase of lifting. Continuous slow lifting with too much attention paid to correct lifting technique only emphasizes the relative weakness of women, that is, smaller size of fast twitch muscle fibers and decreased ability to recruit them. Effective way to activate fast twitch muscle fibers is to take weights down with controlled movement and lift up as quickly as possible. I have found that this “mental image of lifting technique” alone can increase maximal strength levels 5-10 % of my female personal training customers.

In the next blog we are examining gender differences in muscle growth.


Timo Haikarainen
Timo Haikarainen

Personal Trainer

Fibion Guest Blogger


Connecting sport science research with practical applications

Timo started his coaching and instructing career in 1990s in martial arts, athletics and fitness exercise. From year 2002 he has worked as a gym instructor, personal trainer, and sport coach. Between 2002 and 2008 Timo studied biology of physical activity in University of Jyväskylä, where he graduated majoring in Sport Coaching and Fitness Testing. During the years Timo has accumulated over 15 000 hours of personal training. Practical coaching continues still active even though during last 6 years expert work and education as well as media work in TV and magazines take a big share of his time. Timo is educating personal trainers and gym instructors at SAFE Education, SATS Finland and Sport Center Pajulahti. Timo’s own sport background comes from martial arts, athletics and strength training.