Weight lifting was traditionally seen as an activity for men, with women avoiding it for fear of becoming too masculine or big. This began to change in the 1970s and 80s, with the recognition of female powerlifters in 1987, the first Women’s Weightlifting Championship in 1987, and female bodybuilding shows in 1977. The Strongest Woman event was held in 1997.
Since the early 2000s, the idea of female strength athletes has become even more popular with the rise of CrossFit.
However, strength training is not just for sports performance, it is also a critical part of a balanced fitness routine and healthy lifestyle for women of all ages and life stages.
5 REASONS WHY WOMEN SHOULD LIFT
- Development of Good Movement Patterns
- Improvement of Self-Confidence
- Increasing Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)
- Decreased Risk of Metabolic Syndrome
- Improvement of Bone Mineral Density
Many women will begin a weight-lifting program for aesthetic purposes, such as emulating the bodies of lean and toned women they see in social media posts or magazine articles. Some women may lift weights as part of a weight-loss program, believing that it will help them shed pounds.
Despite the fact that intangible motivators, such as improving aesthetics, may hold some truth, the real and often life-changing benefits of a strength training program are much more significant.
The biggest reason I focus on quality movement is to help my clients develop good movement patterns and to reduce pain. The main reason I focus on quality movement is to help my clients develop good movement patterns and reduce pain levels.
Do you remember the old saying that if you keep making that face (or doing that movement), you will get stuck that way? There is some truth to this statement in that the human movement system is very prone to muscle imbalance and the development of dysfunctional movement patterns.
As many as 70 percent of adults will experience chronic neck, back, knee, or shoulder pain at some point in their lives. Musculoskeletal pain and associated syndromes are the leading cause of disability worldwide. This type of pain is often caused by chronic improper movement.
If you want to target underactive muscle groups and improve your overall movement patterns, you shouldstrength train with a qualified fitness professional. This will lead to significant decreases in musculoskeletal pain, and help you keep moving pain-free.
A second reason to pursue dreams is that doing so can improve self-confidence and help people focus on healthy goals. One way chasing dreams can improve self-confidence is by providing a sense of accomplishment. A second way dreams can help people focus on healthy goals is by giving them something to strive for. Chasing dreams can improve self-confidence in a couple of ways. First, it can provide a sense of accomplishment. Second, it can give people something to strive for. Having something to strive for can help people focus on healthy goals.
51% of women avoid strength training because they perceive themselves as too weak, but research has shown that resistance training can actually help improve body image. Body image is an issue for many women, regardless of age. Research shows that strength training can help improve women’s perceptions of their bodies and overall self-esteem, more so than other forms of exercise such as walking. Too many women avoid strength training because they see themselves as too weak, but this type of exercise can actually help improve body image.
Women are often pressured to lose weight and may go on crash diets or engage in other unhealthy eating habits to achieve this. However, weight training programs can help women to focus on becoming stronger, rather than simply losing weight.
Szabo and Green found that engaging in a resistance training program improved women’s psychological outcomes with a history of eating disorders. In other words, strength training programs can free us from a cycle of dieting and unrealistic body image goals.
Approximately 60-70% of the energy we use in a day comes from our resting metabolic rate (RMR). This is the amount of energy our body uses to keep our heart beating, our lungs breathing, and our brain functioning. Lean body mass (muscle, bones, connective tissue, and body water) plays a big role in RMR because it is very metabolically active. This means that it requires more energy to keep it alive than adipose (fat) tissue does.
First, let’s look at Sarah. Sarah has a higher percentage of muscle mass and a lower percentage of body fat than Rachel. This means that she has a higher metabolic rate. Second, let’s look at Rachel. Rachel has a higher percentage of body fat and a lower percentage of muscle mass than Sarah. This means that she has a lower metabolic rate. First, Sarah has a higher percentage of muscle mass and a lower percentage of body fat than Rachel, meaning she has a higher metabolic rate. Second, Rachel has a higher percentage of body fat and a lower percentage of muscle mass than Sarah, meaning she has a lower metabolic rate.
Rachel, a recreational powerlifter, has a much lower body fat percentage than Sarah because she strength trains five days per week. Rachel has 18% body fat, while Sarah has 35% body fat. This means that Rachel has 114.8 lbs of lean body mass, while Sarah only has 91 lbs of lean body mass.
Rachel’s RMR: 1,497 kcal/day
Sarah’s RMR: 1,263 kcal/day
This example demonstrates how, over time, increased muscle mass from strength training leads to greater fat loss. Strength training itself doesn’t require a lot of energy, but it boosts your TDEE, resulting in a leaner body.
Rachel has a much higher calorie burn than Sarah because she has more muscle mass. More muscle mass means a higher calorie burn every day, not just on the days when you work out.
One in twelve adults in the United States currently have type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease is now the number one killer of women in the United States.
The incidence of cardiovascular disease is much higher in individuals with diabetes mellitus, who are also much more likely to be subsequently diagnosed with cardiovascular disease. These two disorders occur because of metabolic dysfunction and inflammation in the body. Strength training can significantly improve insulin sensitivity, metabolic efficiency, and reduce inflammatory markers in the body.
If you engage in regular strength training, you may be able to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by 40 to 70 percent, and in women, reduce your risk of developing diabetes by 40 percent. In other words, strength training can help us significantly reduce our risk of developing diabetes and heart disease.
There are many reasons to exercise, and one of them is to improve and protect your bone mineral density. This becomes increasingly important as we age and our bones become more fragile. Exercise helps to improve and protect bone mineral density by stimulating the cells that lay down new bone. One of the reasons to exercise is that it improves and protects your bone mineral density. This becomes increasingly important as we age and our bones become more fragile. Exercise helps improve and protect bone mineral density by stimulating the cells that lay down new bone.
Osteoporosis is a disease of weak bones that often doesn’t show itself until a person breaks a bone. Did you know that 1 in 3 women will break a bone because of osteoporosis at some point in their life? Osteoporosis is the most common bone disease in the world and has become more common as life expectancy has increased.
The main feature of this disorder is that there is less bone mass overall, which makes the person more likely to get fractures and eventually be unable to move. Bone is a tissue that is always changing, with the body breaking it down and building it up again. For bones to stay strong and healthy, the rate at which new bone is created must be higher than the rate at which old bone is broken down.
Some extra stress must be placed on the skeleton for it to grow. This can be done through resistance training, which helps to improve bone formation.
BENEFITS OF WEIGHT LIFTING FOR WOMEN
There are many reasons why weight lifting can be rewarding, and its advantages are available to people of all genders.
Weight lifting strengthens your muscles and improves your bodily function. When you are stronger, you will be less fatigued and much less likely to cause injury. This will increase your life satisfaction.
LOWER BODY FAT
The average woman who strength-trains two to three times a week for two months will gain nearly two pounds of muscle and will lose 3.5 pounds of fat, according to studies performed by Wayne Westcott, PhD, from the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Massachusetts. Because lean muscle increases resting metabolism, you will be able to burn more calories throughout the day.
Weight training will not make you, as a woman, bulky. This is because, women have significantly less of the hormones that cause muscle growth, or hypertrophy, when compared to men.
IMPROVED ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE
Strength training can help improve your athletic ability, no matter what sport you play. For example, golfers can increase their driving power, cyclists can ride for longer periods of time with less fatigue, and skiers can improve their technique and reduce their risk of injury.
LESS BACK PAIN, INJURY, AND ARTHRITIS
Strength training not only builds stronger muscles but also strengthens connective tissues. This acts as reinforcement for the joints and helps prevent injury.
Building up the muscles in your glutes can help get rid of or lessen low-back and knee pain. Lifting weights can also help strengthen joints and reduce the pain of osteoarthritis.
LOWER RISK OF CERTAIN DISEASES
Weight lifting can improve your cardiovascular health in a few ways, like lowering your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, increasing your HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and lowering your blood pressure. Adding cardiovascular exercise to your workout routine can help you get the most out of these benefits.
Weight training can make your bones stronger by increasing their density and improving their structure. This, along with getting enough calcium in your diet, can help protect against osteoporosis, which women are more at risk for than men.
Weight training may improve the way the body processes sugar and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
BETTER MOOD AND INCREASED CONFIDENCE
Strength training leads to decreased depression because it results in the production of mood-improving neurotransmitters like endorphins, dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.
Additionally, women who strength train often feel more confident and capable than before. These are important qualities to have in order to fight depression.
HOW MUCH WEIGHT TRAINING DO WOMEN NEED?
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend at least two days per week of resistance training that focuses on every major muscle group.
Working out more often can provide additional benefits, as long as you allow your muscles time to recover between workouts. For most people, this means resting for 24 to 48 hours between workouts for a particular muscle group.
The guidelines advise adding at least 150 minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise, 75 minutes of more vigorous exercise, or a combination of the two to improve heart health and help with energy balance.
HOW TO GET STARTED
If you have not done much weight training, it is advisable to get guidance from a personal trainer so you can learn the proper form. This will help to prevent injuries.
If you want to start weight training, you can either join a gym or do it at home with some simple equipment. If you’re not interested in going to a gym, you can still lift weights at home with dumbbells or kettlebells.
You should try doing 6 to 8 repetitions of different exercises that target each muscle group. Focus on compound movements, such as the squat, deadlift, bench press or push-up row, and shoulder press.
Start with no weight, or very light weight, until you get the form and movement down. Add more weight, repetitions, and sets gradually to make progress.
WEIGHT-LIFTING CONSIDERATIONS FOR WOMEN OVER 50
It is possible for women to participate in strength training programs even after they have gone through menopause. Even though they may not gain as much muscle mass because of the reduction in hormones (estrogen and testosterone) and muscle cells, they can still increase their strength with the right training program and diet.
There is no reason why a woman cannot be extremely strong at this stage in her life, but there are some factors to consider.
Age-related cardiovascular complications are more common in this age range. In addition, conditions such as high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, and DM may make certain types and intensity of exercises more difficult or require medical clearance from a physician prior to starting an exercise program.
Osteoporosis is a potential risk for women in this age group, so exercises that may cause a fall or put a lot of pressure on the spinal cord may not be recommended.
CAN YOU LOSE WEIGHT BY LIFTING WEIGHTS, OR SHOULD I FOCUS MORE ON CARDIO?
Skeletal muscle plays an important role in weight loss. The more muscle an individual has, the higher their resting metabolic rate will be. This means that they will burn more calories even when they are at rest. Similarly, having healthy amounts of skeletal muscle improves insulin sensitivity. This means that the body will be better able to regulate blood sugar levels, which can help to prevent cravings and overeating. These factors will help you lose more weight over time if weight loss is your goal.
We can see that recall our Rachel and Sarah example that skeletal muscle is a major contributor to someone’s TDEE. This is because it is metabolically active tissue and skeletal and cardiac muscles usually account for around 30 percent of the TDEE in a healthy individual.
Cardio is like your income and strength training is like your spending. However, cardio is also an important part of any weight loss plan. Weight loss occurs when there is a caloric deficit, or rather when the amount of calories you burn in a day (TDEE) exceeds the total amount of calories you eat in a day (TDEI). The act of strength training may utilize fewer calories per session than cardio exercise, and cardio is therefore needed to increase the overall amount of calories you burn in a day. Think about it in terms of a financial analogy. Cardio is like your income and strength training is like your spending.
Cardio is the daily income you receive from your job, while strength training is your investment in the stock market. Cardio will increase your daily caloric expenditure directly, while strength training will increase your skeletal muscle mass and increase your daily caloric expenditure more indirectly by increasing your basal metabolic rate. The bottom line- a well-rounded exercise program with a goal of fat loss will include both cardio AND strength training.