I've tried weight lifting here and there, and I find that when I do, my legs immediately bulk up. Like in a matter of weeks, I find myself having to go up a pant size.
Does anyone else bulk up when lifting weights? Would love advice on how not to bulk up when lifting weights.
Well -typically lifting weights won't make women bulky. BUT - the legs (quads, glutes) are larger muscle groups than say your triceps so they can hypertrophy faster .... it can depend on what type of weight and how much... are you squatting with a heavy barbell vs. body weight squats and lunges? But if you feel that your pants are tight ... change the type or way you are lifting ... without knowing you - hard to say... and always remember that a healthy diet is the number one key to health!
I would recommend looking at more lean-and-shred programs like a barre program.
In my experience (and I'm no expert) this may be temporary @aquagal49! Lifting is SO important to our longevity and overall health that it would be tragic to stop because you felt like this was happening. The best best way that I have ever lost fat is through lifting, even if there was a period where it felt like I was going to hulk-style tear my jeans. I think once the first burst of little inflammation from the new practice (and tiny tears) goes away and you settle into a routine you'll find that the pants may *feel* different on a new set of muscles, but will fit...and you will potentially grow to love the look of a stronger you and what it means you are able to accomplish. Also, if you can build muscle quickly that is something to celebrate, in my opinion 🙂
Interesting point @aquagal49! It could be a variety of reasons as to why your legs adapt so quickly. Genetics, hormone cycles/water weight, lifting weight/exercise choice (programming) all play a role in how quickly skeletal muscle changes. There is some interesting research on "response plasticity" in people who have trained prior as well. Exercise selection as well may be useful in targeting different muscles a bit more. For example, step up's have a higher glute recruitment rate than forward lunges. You could hypothesize that depending on what area seeems to be growing faster you could switch things up. BUT the most consistent research points heavier resistance = more hypertrophy. So maybe take down your weights used, pick and choose a series of exercises that work for you and your goals, and then keep it fairly light or within a range so things so the nervous system doesn't get bored 😉 . There are lots of exercises that target the legs but don't necessarily require the squatting motion! Take single leg RDLs for example. In a nutshell, physiology is complicated and everyone is unique - but there's definitely a program that can work for you! Hope this helps!
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