I’m writing this post to debunk some of the myths associated with female strength training and shed some light on the actual benefits of doing such. Are you a female who participates in strength training? If so, good for you. If not, why don’t you?
When discussing strength training and lifting weights, the first image that comes to the mind of any female trainee is typically that of a female bodybuilding athlete. Well, in all actuality this is a false representation and we need to disassociate the two immediately and here’s why – strength training will not cause you to explode with muscle mass like those you see on the competitive stage.
Bodybuilding athletes – both female and male – are dedicated to a specific training modality that promotes optimal muscle growth and that’s it. They’re not particularly focused on their strength levels or athletic performance, but more so on their physical conditioning and symmetry leading up to their show. It takes a lot of training volume (reps and sets), especially for the female population (you produce MUCH less testosterone than males), to achieve an extremely muscular physique and even more effort within the nutrition department to become as lean as possible for competition.
That being said, basic strength training will not promote the same effects seen with competitive physique athletes. Instead, it will provide a long list of benefits for the female population, geared towards health, wellness, longevity, well-being and will provide a cascade of internal physiological perks. Here are 8 big things to expect from strength training if you’re of the female sex.
1. Moderate Increases in Lean Muscle Mass
Participating in strength training will allow you to build a moderate amount of lean muscle mass spread evenly across your entire body. This will leave you feeling firm, looking shapely and athletic while still maintaining your feminine curvature.
2. Decreased Body Fat
We now know that lifting weights in an intense fashion will promote fat loss to a greater degree than running long distances. Also, a larger amount of muscle mass will inevitably increase your resting energy expenditure, causing you to burn more calories at rest.
3. Increased Bone Density
Strength training will strengthen your entire skeletal system, increasing the density of your bones. This is particularly important for the female population as it will delay and/or prevent the onset of osteoporosis that typically comes with age.
4. Increased Athletic & Life Performance
Lifting weights will have direct carryover to everyday activities and athletic performance. It will optimize all capabilities from daily chores and playing with your children to your mid-morning runs and weekly spin class. There’s no arguing that being stronger will allow you to live a more inclusive and adventurous life.
5. Improved Mood and Well-Being
Being stronger, leaner, athletic and more capable in general will provide a very strong sense of empowerment. Not only does strength training have a positive effect on us physically, but it also shifts us on a mental and emotional level. Confidence and feelings of self-worth will skyrocket. You’ll develop a stronger “can do” attitude where anything and everything is possible.
6. Injury Prevention & Pain Management
Having a little more muscle and a lot more strength will allow you to buffer wear and tear much more than the average person. You’ll have the capacity to move more efficiently, your joints will be stronger and you’ll be able to maintain optimal posture for longer periods of time.
7. Disease Prevention
Exercise in general is one of the best ways to fight and prevent chronic disease and illness. You’ll be decreasing your chances of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and much more.
8. Improved Hormonal Profile
Your strength training will also have an impact on your hormones. You’ll become more insulin sensitive which means that your body will require less insulin to lower your blood glucose levels. Your intense training will promote the production of growth hormone, a vital hormone that plays many rolls within the body. These include building muscle and oxidizing fat, the health of your joints and the appearance of your skin.
I truly hope that this post has removed some of the negative associations with female strength training. I’ve witnessed amazing transformations with my female clients by incorporating strength training as their primary exercise protocol. We’ve eliminated chronic pain, enhanced mood and promoted amazing body re-compositions with the mind set that anything is possible. So go ahead, pick up that barbell, you’ll thank yourself for it.