Can You Gain Muscle With Sissy Pink Dumbbells?

I’d like to talk to the women out there if I may?


Sure, you can gain a little muscle with sissy pink dumbbells (SPD), but not for long!


These are a few reasons why sissy pink dumbbells may work initially…


  1. You’ve never done any strength training before
  2. You’re rehabbing an injury
  3. You’re using the principle of “overload” and have added a pound or two to the SPD’s you started with in #1
  4. You cry and want to go to a coloring room when there is any exertion whatsoever to your body and mind


I guess the biggest concern for women not to use anything heavier than a SPD is this statement I’ve heard repetitively over the years…


“I just don’t want to get bulky.”


With a solemn oath, I promise you’ll not get “bulky” using those heavier blue or black dumbbells! I know, you tried them before and you woke up the next day with two inches of solid muscle on your thighs. Even with my beast-mode testosterone production back in my heyday, I wish I could get that “bulky” response! 


I would love to personally witness that response. To date, it’s never happened in the history of the world.  If you say it has, you my dear, are unique!


Of course, I’m just having fun here but I’m trying to prove a point and relieve your fear about heavy weights causing a “bulky” appearance. Here is the latest guidelines for rep loads and the results they produce…


Power: 1-5 reps (think of power as moving an object from point A to point B in the shortest amount of time).

Example: Shot putter in track and field.

General Muscular Strength: 8-15 reps (think of strength as moving an object from point A to point B regardless of the amount of time).

Example: Decathlon athlete

Maximum Muscular Strength: <6 reps (think of max muscular strength as moving a load so great you can only achieve a few reps with it).

Example: Power Lifter or Olympic Weight Lifter

Muscular endurance: >12 reps (think of muscular endurance as the force you can produce using a certain amount of weight load for an extended period of time).

Example: Soccer player

Muscular hypertrophy (size): 6-12 reps (muscle hypertrophy means muscle size).

Example: Bodybuilder

Rep prescriptions for those with chronic conditions CLICK HERE

Reference to above: CLICK HERE


The amount of reps you perform in general is inversely related to the amount of weight used. For instance, you pick up your SPD’s and perform 20 outstanding reps with them. Sweet!


You get inspired because you saw one of the gals on American Ninja Warrior using heavier dumbbells and you choose the somewhat heavier SBD (sissy blue dumbbells).


Now, these monsters are a full two pounds heavier than your SPD’s, and you gut out a strong 17 perfect reps with them before you lose total control and must put them down.


Ok, you’re getting there, but for your money, you’re still not at rep range nirvana.


With a little coaxing, you obey your trainer and pick up the monster eight pound black behemoths as you exclaim, “If this makes me bulky, you’re fired!”


You manage 11 solid reps with this new weight. BINGO! Coach Trent is acting like he just received a “Scooby Doo Snack”  from Shaggy (sorry, one must be over 45 to get this) because he knows results are coming!


The best news is, several weeks down the road, you wake up with the same size arm, but a little firmer and more toned! Good job.


Testosterone, the primary male hormone, is responsible for various functions, such as muscle hypertrophy (size). Women too have testosterone, but in very small amounts comparatively. 


You’ll be happy to know that, “Most studies have not been able to demonstrate an acute increase in testosterone following a resistance exercise workout for women; resent data show that if increases do occur, they are relatively small.” This is from Essentials of Strength Training & Conditioning, 3rd Ed, by Baechhle and Earle, 2008.


So, relax ladies, take a deep breath and know that, unless your a genetic freak, you’re safe from the bulky zone.


There are several other factors besides rep range and load (weight used) that determine the type of response you get from training. Factors such as number of sets, tempo, and rest periods to name a few.


Here’s My Pitch


Strong muscles make strong bones. Strong bones make strong organs. Overall, a stronger body leads to a stronger immune system!


Yes, it really does. So, be brave, pick up some heavier dumbbells and get some real results from your workouts!


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