Why are so many women afraid to strength train?
Strength or weight training is a crucial part of a complete exercise program, especially for women. So why are so many women afraid to weight train? I’ve exercised many years and heard numerous women state concern that they will become bulky like a male bodybuilder. This is simply not true!
Many women either refuse to strength train at all, or if they do strength train, many will not push themselves to their full potential.
In a misguided effort to stay thin I see women using only cardio machines in their workout routines. They feel that they are going to loose the most weight this way. While cardio is major part of any fitness routine, and does burn fat, strength training will allow a woman to get fit with optimum results, and in less time!
First of all, as women, we do not have the same capacity to “bulk up” as a men do; at least not without some serious hormonal help! We are simply smaller creatures. Women and men can both develop healthy lean muscle mass, however, a women’s body will be on a much more reduced scale than a man’s. Look at all those Hollywood stars and models, many have trainers that incorporate both strength training and cardio into their exercise routines. How many Hollywood actresses can name that look like bulky male bodybuilders? I for one would have to seriously consider that one.
Strength training has many vital benefits.
1. Strength training has many vital benefits for women. For one thing strength training helps decrease the overall risk of osteoporosis. When women strength train they not only strengthen their muscles, they also create strong bones. Osteoporosis occurs when bones become less dense, they become porous leading to weakness and thus leading to fractures.
2. Strength training is what allows a woman’s body to change its shape. Strength training both large and small muscle groups is equally important, however, training large groups like the quadriceps and biceps will change your physical appearance faster than just cardio alone. When women strength train they see results in less time. This will also reduce the appearance of cellulite and will help get rid of that bat wing appearance. You know that underarm flabby appearance many of us worry about.
3. Strength training allows the body to burn fat more effectively. When strength training is incorporated into out workouts, our body burns more fuel than just performing cardio as it tries to rebuild the muscles. This speeds up the metabolism and optimizes fat burning.
Important things to keep in mind while strength training.
1. Never underestimate the importance of varying your routine. What I mean by this is do not exercise the same muscle group two days in a row. Allow for adequate rest in between workout sessions. This will allow your muscles to fully recover and will reduce the risk of over training injuries.
2. Stretching is vital! Stretching before a workout should be light and should be followed by a 5 to 10 minute warm up to get blood circulating. This will allow optimal performance during the strength training period. Also, a longer stretching session after the workout will ensure that the muscles do not become too tight. You should stretch all your major muscle groups to maintain optimal performance.
3. Overall, strength training will allow a woman to look and feel her best. Do not be afraid to incorporate weights into your regimen. If you are just starting out, try to use lighter weights and gradually increase weight and intensity as your strength and endurance increases. You’ll not only look great, but you’ll feel great as well.
How to get started strength training as a woman
Here’s a list of Do’s and Dont’s to help you get started with your own routine.
Do: Stretch muscles pre and post workout to reduce the risk of injury.
Don’t: Train the same muscle groups on consecutive days.
Do: Take a day off to rest your body at least 1-2 times per week.
Don’t: Perform only cardio, this will help you gain cardiovascular endurance, but remember by strengthening muscles groups cardio performance can be optimized.
Do: Keep a workout journal to track your progress.
Don’t: Worry about if you are starting out lifting too light. The goal is to increase strength, this it is a building process.
Do: Have fun!