One of the biggest things I’ve heard from female clients as well as the general population is that lifting weights will make them bulky. Despite how many articles or interviews dispel that fact, the myth continues to prevail.
However, the strength work that a typical woman does is not enough to cause bulky, “manly” muscles. We simply aren’t built for it and don’t have the testosterone required to build muscle the way that men do. Fortunately, I think the perception of strong female bodies is changing, but many women I know are still wary of picking up heavier weights.
STRENGTH TRAINING FOR WOMEN
What strength training does do for women is improve athletic performance, increase metabolism, and build confidence.
The more muscle a woman has, the faster her metabolism is. This means that even during sedentary activities like working at a desk or relaxing on the couch, women with more muscle burn more calories than women with less.
STRENGTH TRAINING VS CARDIO
A common misconception for women concerning workouts is that they should focus more on cardio in order to lose weight. While cardio is important for heart health and metabolic conditioning, too much can actually cause muscle loss as the body starts to use muscle as a source of fuel.
Picking up a set of weights not only helps retain and build that muscle, but also burns fat at a quicker rate than cardio alone.
If you’re crunched for time during a workout, the priority should be on strength training over hopping on a treadmill for 20 minutes. Working on improving your strength also tends to yield results quicker than excessive cardio, typically leading to detectable differences within a few weeks.
STRENGTH TRAINING FOR LONGEVITY
One of the most overlooked reasons why women should strength train is that it is extremely beneficial as we age. Most of us aren’t looking that far into the future when we pick up a dumbbell, but increasing your lean muscle actually helps ward off degenerative conditions such as osteoporosis later in life. Increased muscle mass helps protect our bones as we age and make us less susceptible to falls and breaks.
DUMBBELLS NOT REQUIRED
You don’t always need to have a full set of dumbbells to strength train. Using your own bodyweight as resistance is another way to help increase muscle and improve strength. Workouts done at home or outside that incorporate movements such as push ups, squats, pull ups, tricep dips, and anything that stresses muscle groups with added resistance will help develop strength and muscle tone.
Ultimately, strength training for women is important for many reasons. It helps increase your metabolism, burns more fat, and protects your bones as you age. Women are not genetically built like men, so it’s time to move away from fears that weight training will cause us to look like them and grab that dumbbell with confidence!
Ready to get started? Try these:
- 7 toning moves in 20 minutes (all you need is a towel and some dumbbells)
- Resistance band moves to do at home
Traveling soon? Pack these three pieces of equipment to stay fit on-the-go.