The benefits of strength training for women.
You know that upstairs bit of Bootcamp?! With all the weights and contraptions?! That’s one of my favourite places in the whole wide world….it’s not just for boys, body builders and people who can lift cars over their heads….it’s for you too.
I get that (carefully!!) messing around with weights may not interest you….not yet or not ever. Of course that’s ok. But for those of you who are curious…who wonder ”what if’….TRY IT! Ask Craig and Ryan to show you how it all works….maybe just one lift at a time to get started. Honestly, if I can manage to find my way round up there without breaking equipment or myself, then anyone can.
Strength training is awesome….especially for girls! It will make incredible changes to your shape, and no you won’t end up with no neck or boobs! Personally I think it does even more amazing things to how I think and feel. Nothing makes me feel more confident and ready to face the big bad world than feeling strong!
Learning to lift has been, aside from joining bootcamp in the first place, the best decision I have ever made for my physical and mental health.
From working my triceps on the pulley thing (technical aren’t I!?) to learning how to deadlift with free weights. I’ve taken ages to learn particular lifts and had hissy fits with frustration, I’ve had cried happy tears after reaching a back squat target, needed rescuing from under the bar after failing a bench press and done joyful little dances when I’ve bicep curled a heavier dumbbell than the week before. I love it all.
Fitting it in in around bootcamp sessions and real life if hard, I know that….the odd hour of open gym, a 20 minute blast before or after bootcamp and PT sessions work for me.
Why women should lift weights.
Strength training is more efficient than cardio at burning fat. If you carry fat on your tummy it will become leaner. Studies show that using weights will help you burn around 40% more fat than cardio as weights just burn fat while cardio burns muscle too.
Your muscle mass determines your metabolic rate so the more muscle you have the more calories you will burn….even when not exercising. Those biceps you keep tucked up your sleeve are actually helping you burn calories as you make a cup of tea or watch TV….your workout carries on long after the Dumbbells are back on the rack.
Be mentally stronger
Lifting a heavy weight…one that you never thought you could ever manage….is incredibly empowering and your confidence will soar. The strength you feel has a bizarre way of impacting and improving every area of your life.
Tone and muscle definition. Great legs and bum. A strong, firm feminine look.
Who doesn’t want that?!
Become more flexible
Being strong and lifting heavy won’t make you clunky and awkward. Aim for full range of motion when lifting. If you struggle to complete the move correctly then simply move down a weight, crack the technique and then move back up the weight scale. Do this and you’ll shine in any yoga class.
Strengthen your bones
When you lift your muscles will tug on your bones. The bones respond by creating new cells to repair….this makes them more dense and subsequently stronger.
This is especially useful for older women who may be more at risk of osteoporosis.
Lose a dress size
Strength training will not make you “bulk up.” Unless you want it to….and even then it’s very hard to get a big as a body builder. Women produce around 7% the amount of testosterone that men do. This limits how much muscle we can build.
In fact if you have a higher proportion of muscle to fat in your body you will be smaller than before you started training. Body weight will go up with lifting but dress sizes will go down.
Joint pain will reduce
I’ve struggled with my knees for years and I was dubious about how squatting with a heavy weight would affect them. In fact they are much, much better now. Stronger muscles hold joints in position better so niggles you have should improve and there will be more protection from injury.
Protect your heart.
Cardio-vascular exercise….well it’s exactly that, it exercises your heart. But pounding along on the treadmill is not the only way to keep your heart healthy. Resistance training can reduce blood pressure significantly and that’s a great thing for your ticker.