The truth about strength training for women

Women have always thought that strength training is something only men should be doing. It builds large muscles, it creates a masculine shape, and it allows the person to gain weight. But these aren’t the results a woman would get from strength training. Women can benefit tremendously from strength training.

What to expect?

First of all, strength training in women will not see the muscles that men typically can build. Men have a hormone called testosterone in their bodies in larger amounts than women do, and that hormone allows their muscles to grow.

While women also have testosterone, they also have more estrogen to balance their hormones out and this allows strength training to shape their bodies in different ways.

Women who strength train can expect their muscles to become more defined and shapely, rather than large and bulky. While some women do not like the look of well-defined muscles, it is much healthier and sexier for a woman to have some muscular definition.

How often?

Women require adequate strength training workout each week. Some women find that switching between lower and upper body muscles on alternate days works well. Others enjoy and prefer a full body routine.

With strength training, women will also want to add cardio exercise to their schedules in order to burn more calories.

Strength training enhances the metabolism, and when used in conjunction with aerobic exercise and proper diet, it can help to burn fat and tone the body faster.

Strength training is a powerful tool for weight loss and it has been overlooked for a long time. The benefits are as follows:

1) Increased Metabolic Rate – Strength training increases your metabolic rate by increasing the calories you burn on a daily basis. The more calories you burn, the more chance you have to reduce body fat.

2) Increasing and Restoring Bone Density – Strength training prevents and fights osteoporosis.

3) Increased Lean Muscle Mass – Women will not get big and bulky by strength training! If you have 10 pounds of lean muscle mass then you burn between 350-500 calories. If you have 20 pounds you burn between 700 and 1000 calories per day! This is one of the biggest benefits of strength training for women.

4) Injury Prevention – Strength training strengthens the muscles and tendons. The stronger we are the less chance of an injury. This is especially important as we grow older. The benefits of strength training for women and men too are highly touted for injury prevention.

5) Improved Balance – Strengthening legs and core section means an increase in overall balance and coordination.

6) Decreased Risk of Coronary Disease – Strength training can reduce blood pressure. It can also decrease cholesterol levels.

7) Aids in Rehabilitation and Recovery – Strengthening the muscles around our joints is one of the best ways to prevent and recover from an injury. For example, the best way to recover from a knee injury is to strengthen the quads and calves.

8) Enhanced Performance in Sports, Exercise and Life In General – The benefits of strength training for women boils down to one point – a better overall quality of life. They can perform activities with more ease and less pain.

9) Aging Gracefully – Strength training is a major factor in aging well. Enhancing muscles and reducing body fat are prime ways to remain healthy and fit.

10) Feeling Better and Looking Better – As we explore ways to look young, we need to make strength training a vital part of our fitness routine

Strength training need not be complex or overly time consuming. It can fit easily into any woman’s lifestyle, since it requires minimal equipment and time. Free weights, weight training machines, resistance tubing or your own bodyweight will all enhance muscular strength and endurance with as little as 20 minutes to one half hour a day of training. All major muscle groups need to be worked to avoid muscular and postural imbalances.

Again, for the safest, most effective program, you should seek the advice of a certified fitness professional.

Y. Ramakrishna.

The writer is a Sports Performance Enhancement Specialist

Also read:

Dumbbells can rid working women of neck, shoulder aches
Overcoming barriers to physical activity

Follow a scientific approach to build muscles: Kaizzad Capadia

Image: Flickr Creativecommons DrGimiGlide

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