Is Strength Training Good for Women?
Strength training for women is often a scary idea for many but, contrary to popular belief, strength training isn’t just for those who want to put on muscles and bulk up. Unfortunately, many women steer clear of strength training under the impression that training with heavy weights or training too extensively with weights will leave them looking like the Hulk. In fact, strength training is an excellent form of conditioning and is a great way to tone all parts of your body, especially the hard to reach places. Strength training is a great option for both fitness devotees and more casual exercisers.
Why Should Women Strength Train?
Strength training is necessary to build muscle and to achieve that ellusive “toned” look. Cardio may burn calories, but if your fitness routine is all cardio, cardio, cardio, you won’t achieve the results you want. If you want a slim, aesthetically-pleasing body, training with heavy weights is the way to go. Period. Even beauty pageant contestants train with weights in order to accentuate their bodies in ideal ways.
Lifting weights will not automatically give you Rambo-like proportions. What it will give you is confidence, a great body, and more energy. If you’re scared you’ll end up looking like a female body builder, don’t be. That requires many many hours of heavy weight lifting plus the consumption of copious amounts of protein and calories. That physique requires a totally different lifestyle. If you eat a healthy diet and maintain a moderate regimen of exercise with weight lifting incorporated into it, you’ll achieve your ideal body — nothing less, nothing more.
A Few of the Benefits of Strength Training for Women
- Metabolism – Lifting weights has a huge effect on fat loss. The more muscle you have, the more fat you burn at rest. In short, muscles speed up your metabolism, which means you’ll shed all those unwanted pounds faster. It’s a win-win: you’ll be able to eat heartily but lose weight as well.
- Independence – Being strong means you can do more things on your own. Forget about asking a friend or your spouse to help move furniture or carry groceries. Once you start strength-training, you’ll be able to do all kinds of tasks on your own. It’s a great feeling!
- Confidence – Once you achieve outer strength, you can much more easily tap into your inner strength. Confidence is an attractive quality on everyone.
Myth: Strength Training Makes Women Look Too Muscular
Again, this is simply false, due to a variety of reasons. First of all, most women simply do not possess the level of testosterone necessary to support a bulky physique. Moreover, your training model will play a significant role into how your body develops. Bodybuilders must work extraordinarily hard to ensure that their training program encourages maximum muscle growth in as short a time as possible. This is not the goal of most gym-goers.
Another key ingredient to bulking up is what you eat. A bulking diet looks much different than a well-balanced toning or fat-loss program. A diet rich in protein, vegetables and healthy fats is the way to go for most women. If you're not looking to "bulk up" then eat accordingly and it's easy to avoid while still doing your strength training.
Women's Strength Training Exercises
Your ideal exercises are ones that use big, compound movements involving a lot of muscle mass. Be sure to strength train every major group of muscles in your body at least 2-3 times per week. Here are a few exercises to try, but you can find lots of interesting variations online.
- Lower Body – Barbell squat, barbell deadlift, dumbbell lunges, split squats
- Upper Body – Pushups, dumbbell bench press, barbell bench press, incline bench press, dumbbell shoulder press, handstand pushups, chin-ups, lat pulldowns, dumbbell rows, seated cable rows
- Core – Planks, ab roller, hanging leg raises
Don't Be Afraid
Don't let an unreasonable fear of over-bulking keep you from adding strength training to your exercise routine. Millions of women use strength training to tone and harden their bodies in exactly the right places and in exactly the right way. You'll still be feminine and beautiful, but you won't need anyone's help opening the pickle jar!
For the Equipment and Accessories You Need, Come to RX Fitness
If you're giving some thought to adding strength training to your fitness routine and you'd like to discuss it with a professional, RX Fitness works with hundreds of coaches, personal trainers and nutritionists. We'd be happy to refer you to one who can help. And, if decide that you do want to add some equipment to your routine, we carry the top brands to fit every goal and budget and we're here to make your fitness routine more productive. Stop by any of our three store locations or give us a call. And don't forget to check out Tim's best-selling book, Fitness Equipment – A Shopper's Guide, available at Amazon and other online book sellers as well as in our store.