Strength Training for Women
A semi-pro female figure skater and budding writer named Amber Sass contributed to this post. We hope readers of both sexes find it helpful – women in their own training, and men in encouraging the women in their lives to get fit and stay healthy.
One common misconception we hear frequently is that women shouldn’t lift weights or engage in any type of strength training. Some worry about developing bulging muscles, while others claim that women risk injury by lifting weights. First off, many men wish it were so easy to build muscle. Women hardly need to worry about sprouting man arms overnight. As for risking injury, women should know that strength training, done correctly, is not only safe but can actually prevent injury. Now, having dispensed with two of the more common objections, let’s consider some benefits.
Improved confidence and well-being.
Women who strength train commonly report feeling more vibrant, capable and confident as a result. Improvements in posture and mood really do go together.
Increased physical strength.
As women become stronger, formerly strenuous activities become easier, so more strength often means more independence in daily living.
Improved body composition.
Along with an increase in physical strength, women usually experience significant improvements in body composition and muscle tone. The number on the scale may not change much initially, since women new to strength training often replace fat with muscle, but they soon see the difference in the mirror, and can feel it in the way their clothes fit.
Decreased risk of various diseases.
Studies show that strength training helps prevent heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, back pain, and depression – just to name a few.
As increased strength makes physical tasks easier, women discover that they have energy to spare.
Strength training increases bone mineralization, making bones more resistant to fracture. Women, coincidentally, experience higher rates of osteoporosis than men. Strength training helps offsets that risk.
Strength training helps any Beauty fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.
This is just a sampling of the benefits that women can gain from strength training. As you can see, far from an aesthetic blunder or physical danger, strength training actually helps women both look and feel better.
How to Get Started…
Even when they understand all the benefits of strength training, many women still struggle to get started. If the variety of free weights, resistance bands, machines, and bodyweight exercises seems overwhelming, we encourage women to start very simply, with just a few basic exercises, 2-3 times per week, and then progress to more demanding exercises from there.