Some time ago I posted an article on why women should not be afraid of strength training (titled What Women Need To Know About Weight Training). Just as expected, I got plenty of positive feedback for it. However, some women still do not quite understand or accept it, or are simply not convinced yet. As such, here are some of the reasons “repackaged”, as well as some new ones.
One: It increases your mental strength
Ah, I bet you weren’t expecting this one first! And you might not even have heard of this as a reason before. But if you start thinking about it, it makes a whole lot of sense. A proper strength training routine consists of achieving goals, which is an act of empowerment in itself! Be it hitting your weight loss goals or lifting a heavier load, hitting your milestones will start a positive snowball effect!
Two: Your bones will be stronger
Bone health is crucial for both men and women. When lifting weights, you are actually strengthening your bones. Think about it – when you perform an exercise, your muscles will have to work with the bones associated with the movement. The cells in the bones react to this increase pressure by creating new osteoblasts aka bone cells. Over the long-term, they will become denser. Bye bye osteoporosis.
Three: Your heart will be healthier
Whenever we think about exercise for heart health, we instinctively think of cardio. However, some research has shown that strength training can help with your heart health too! To be honest, it might not be as much as your traditional cardio workouts, but something is better than nothing, right?
Four: Increase flexibility
If you do your exercises with a maximum range of motion, your flexibility will increase over time. However, for this to work, the onus is on you to make sure that it is full-range. If you have difficulty moving it to full-range, use lighter resistance.
Five: You’ll reduce joint pain
There is a common misconception that you might have heard before, which is that squats are bad for your knees. The reality is that it is not as simple as that. Proper strength training can be a solution to joint-related problems, because stronger muscles will hold your joints in position better. As always, however, proceed with caution.
Six: You’ll burn more fat
Once again, we always associate fat burning with cardio, and that is absolutely true. However, strength training can also result in weight lost via different mechanisms, some of which are more beneficial. In fact, some recent research has shown that while cardio will burn muscle and fat, weight training burns almost exclusively fat, because muscles are required for the exercise.
Seven: You’ll burn more calories at rest
This point is somewhat similar to the previous one, with a twist. You see, when you perform cardio, most of your fat loss occurs during the workout. If you develop muscle via strength training, you will be burning more calories while being at rest. The reason for this is because muscles require more calories to maintain than fat. Think about it.
Eight: It’ll improve your cardio performance
Okay, I know it seems like I am comparing weight training to cardio as though they are sworn enemies, but this is not what I’m doing. In fact, I’m saying that good strength training will prime your muscles to be better prepared for cardio conditioning exercises like biking and running. So consider that an added bonus!
Nine: You might drop a dress size
Once again, I need to clean out the common misconception that weight training bulks up women. But that is not true. As long as you are building the muscle and cleaning off the fat, you’ll become smaller in size. After all, muscle cells are smaller than fat cells. And it would take a lot of effort and hormonal interjection to get as huge as female bodybuilders. I hope I have made this clear!
Alright, so with this word of encouragement, ladies, go forth and don’t be afraid of incorporating strength training into your workout routine! And don’t be afraid to increase your resistance. As fitness expert Jackie Burgmann says “we’re women, not newborns”. No need to go soft on the weights, as long as it’s right for you!
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