The fact that women have ~15 times less testosterone than men is often cited to explain that, as a woman, you can’t build much muscle mass. However, this argument alone is simplistic to a fault and fails to analyze other important hormonal factors. Although men exhibit a greater muscle hypertrophic response to strength training than women, the difference is not as great as you might think.
The person in the picture is Liliana Fernández Steiner, Spain’s Olympic representative in the beach volleyball discipline. She weighs 73 kg and her fat percentage is minimal. Her muscle mass and strength is brutal (especially in the lower body) and we are not talking about a powerlifter or weightlifter.
Natural female athletes have 85% muscle and 75% strength compared to elite male athletes, at least in the lower body. In the upper body the difference is somewhat greater due to fewer androgen receptors.
Women can seem to gain strength more efficiently with high-intensity, low-volume training rather than moderate-intensity, high-volume training
• Women, in general, can introduce more workout frequency, as they don’t fatigue as much as men and recover faster after training. This makes it less easy for them to overtrain.
• Women tolerate more training volume than men for muscle hypertrophy. Having more type I fibers allows women to handle more training volume than men. Estrogen is an anti-catabolic hormone that aids in muscle repair, reduces protein breakdown during exercise and protects against muscle damage.
• It has been shown that oral contraceptive use does not necessarily have a negative impact on muscle strength and there is not much published data on the interaction between muscle hypertrophy. More research is needed to determine the impact of different types and brands of contraceptives on muscle.