Strength Training For Women – Your Essential Fitness Program [Bonus: Safety Too!]

Want to stay fit and also defy age to be that head turner, ladies? Strength training for women is your answer - go the weights training way.

Want to stay fit and also defy age to be that head turner, ladies? Strength training for women is your answer – go the weights training way. 

There is this prevalent misconception that women are not supposed to do weights or strength training as our bodies will bulk up and develop a masculine build. Some say that women are not strong enough for doing strength training. But we ladies lift weights far heavier than the ones in the gym while doing our daily work. The grocery bags that we lift our way back home from shopping are heavier than the initial weights that we would lift while strength training. At times we lift our kids effortlessly with their heavy bags in the middle of the road.

We do all such heavy work without even us realising but the idea of strength training for women or lifting weights as part of our fitness regime somehow scares us, and too many doubts pop up in our mind as to whether we can take weights or not. Whether we would be over stressing ourselves with the weights when just light exercising or a twenty minute cardio is all we need.

Why strength training for women is important

Women’s strength is vital as she ages. As we age, be it male or female our muscle mass becomes thinner and gradually loses its strength. And for women the tumultuous hormonal changes bring in a vast change to the bones as well. This is when strength training comes in handy.

Strength training for women helps them remain strong, burn calories and builds healthy bones. Lifting weights increases women’s strength, and preserves the muscle and bone mass irrespective of age.

This is definitely an activity which helps us stay young and healthy. We women can also do the strength training as much as men. When women do weights their muscles gain strength and endurance. The result being a firm and femininely toned body as opposed to our idea of a bulky manly structure.There is no reality in the fact that we will look masculine. The high levels of estrogen in our bodies make it difficult for us women to become overtly muscular.

It’s just that men and women have their own share of strengths and weaknesses. All we need to do is plan our workouts accordingly and concentrate on building on our strengths and eliminating the weaknesses, instead of just following what everyone does.

How and where to begin the strength training

As far as my knowledge goes there is no such thing as a perfect strength program which would suit all. It really depends on your personal goals and how well you can take the weights.

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Make sure never to hurry with strength training. Some fitness trainers often advise lifting heavy weights if you are aiming for maximum strength. But personally I feel it’s always better to go gradually with the routine instead of rushing to prevent muscle tear or any serious injury to the body. Consulting a proper fitness trainer or referring to informative videos before beginning with strength training would be safer, as it would give a good idea of the concept if you are not familiar with it.

The next step would be to figure out your weak areas. It’s always great to work on our strengths but we must work more on weaknesses to build the muscle strength when it comes to strength training for women. Follow this link for detailed exercises on building women’s strength.

Points to follow when strength training for women

While strength training it’s always a feast to watch our muscles fill up in the gym mirror. You would be beaming with pride and confidence looking at your toned body; well that’s how it should be, right. But it’s always wise not to get too carried away with the results. Stay focussed on the workout and ensure you follow a few safety measures all through for effective strength training.

  • Always warm up before beginning weights and cool down after finishing each set. Stretching is a good way of warming up and cooling down after the weights.
  • Make sure your body is aligned properly and your movements are smooth throughout the strength training. Avoid any jerky movements, as these might injure your muscles.
  • Pay attention to your breathing while exercising. This might sound simple but it is very important. Exhale as you lift and inhale slowly as you release.
  • Maintain the right tempo when strength training instead of rushing and compromising with your strengths. This helps you stay in control and your strength gains momentum through this steady movement. For instance, raise and lower your weights on a count of three. This indeed helps.
  • To increase your strength keep challenging your muscles through each workout by a gradual increase in the weights. Choose weight that make your targeted areas or muscles tire for every third repetition.
  • Any time you workout always stick to a consistent routine. Begin with three weight training sessions each week, says Joe Dowell, founder and co-owner of the New York City Gym.
  • Work on all your major muscles two or three times a week. Split your workout in these three days – total body workout for a day, and work on your lower body the second day and upper body on the third day.
  • Always give your muscles some time off before your next weight training. Let the muscles rest before for about 2days before your muscles can take the load again.

The advantage of strength training for women is that it keeps our muscles working even after the workout. In proper fitness terms this is popularly known as “after burn”. Our body continues to burn the calories even hours after the heavy strength training. Such is the benefit of strength training for women.

So ladies, go ahead, start working on weights, and bust all the myths attached to strength training for women!

Header image is a still from the movie Mary Kom

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