Strength Training is for Everyone (Part One)

I will be doing a 4 part series on Weight Training for Women. Part One:

Typically, weight lifting is associated with guys and jocks, but strength training benefits EVERYONE – men, women, young and old! With a regular strength training program, you can reduce your body fat, increase your lean muscle mass and burn calories more efficiently. Women, in particular, see tremendous benefits from strength training.

Traditionally, women have relied on low-calorie diets and cardiovascular exercises to change their bodies.  But this alone can be a dangerous habit that slows the metabolism and causes injury.  Strength training is absolutely necessary if we want to see visual changes in our bodies more quickly. Women further benefit from strength training because of the increase in resting metabolism created by strength training. Because of this increase, women who are trying to reduce bodyfat will do so more easily. When done sufficiently and consistently, strength training increases muscle fiber size. Once muscle fibers enlarge, they consume more energy – which boosts our metabolisms.

Many women are afraid of weight training because they fear building large, unattractive muscles. However, the majority of women cannot build large muscles simply because of genetics.  Lifting lighter weights with higher reps keeps your muscles lean.  However, most women lift too light in fear of building too much muscle.  Doing 20 reps with 3-5 lb weights is simply ineffective, and  will keep them from achieving their goal of “toning up”. In order to achieve the toning women want, they must lift heavy enough to create muscle fatigue. Muscle fatigue or failure means that you are unable to do another rep with correct form. Even working their muscles to extreme fatigue will not create large muscles in women due to their lack of testosterone.

Strength training does not require a lot of equipment or time. Free weights, resistance bands, and your own body weight are some options for at home training.  Gyms have an array of weight machine options. Women who strength train at least 30 minutes every other day should start seeing the benefits of resistance training within just a few short weeks. Results from strength training can happen quickly, but not if the majority of a woman’s diet consists of processed foods. A woman who strength trains should ensure she has a healthy diet.

Next: How to get started on a strength training program.