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Women can lift a greater percentage of their one-rep-max than men.
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How soon will you see results from lifting weights? Most likely, not as soon as a man would, due to hormonal differences. Outside of that, the answer is: It depends. Probably not the answer you want to hear, but the reality is your results will depend on things you can control, such as intensity and frequency of your lifting, and things you can't control, like your DNA. It will also depend on what you mean by "results."
Personal trainers will tell you to expect about six to eight weeks of lifting before you see noticeable results, if you haven't exercised consistently before that. If you have engaged in regular cardio and resistance training but just started lifting weights, results will probably show on the lower end of that range or even as early as four weeks. This assumes you are lifting at least twice a week, allowing adequate rest time -- at least 48 hours between muscle workouts -- for muscle growth and doing two sets of eight to 12 repetitions.
Your body type could provide faster or slower results. ACE fitness says women's bodies generally fall into three types: round or voluptuous -- think Salma Hayek or Jennifer Lopez; slim and angular -- Keira Knightly -- or muscular, as in bodybuilder. The third type is likely to build actual muscle mass, similar to, though not as massive as men, and it will happen faster. Thin and angular women will probably never look "muscular," though they will see benefits in terms of strength gains. Voluptuous women will probably need to lose fat as well as lift in order to change shape and body composition.
An analysis published in "Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise" in 2003 concluded that untrained individuals -- those who had been training consistently for less than one year -- gained as much as 20 percent more strength by training three times a week rather than just two. They also saw greater gains doing multiple sets; however, ExRx.net points out that too many sets may not be a good idea for novice lifters who need to adjust to lifting and learn proper form. If you're new, stick with just two sets for the first six to eight weeks. If you have been a regular exerciser, you will probably see faster results with four sets.
Lifting heavier weight will bring faster results. It can also lead to injury in a novice who may not know how to lift properly or may try to do too many reps or sets. If you're new to exercise, start with what is called your 12-rep-max, that is, the maximum weight you could lift for 12 repetitions without breaking form. If you already resistance train, consider using a percentage of your one-rep-max. According to ExRx., women can actually lift a higher percentage of their one-rep-max for more repetitions than men. You could either do more reps at about 70 percent of your one-rep-max or increase it to 80 percent and do fewer reps.