I’m a fierce advocate for women regularly including strength training in their workouts.
Not sure if strength training is for you? I get that. I was a cardio queen before I discovered strength training through a Personal Trainer many years ago. And I would NEVER have known where to start without her guidance.
Strength training. Resistance workouts. Lifting weights. All are terms that as a women, you will have likely heard or read before, but perhaps don’t fully understand the how and why.
There’s also many myths surrounding strength training for women, that it can be confusing, intimidating and even make it scary to start thinking about lifting heavy things. But don’t let that deter you. You can start incorporating strength training at a very basic level, and then progress through the different stages and phases as you get stronger.
Every exercise can be progressed (made harder) or regressed (made easier) to suit your personal situation and any coach or trainer worth their salt can help you with that.
The How of strength training for women
As an absolute beginner, the weight of your own body can be used as resistance to exert force on your muscles.
Squats, lunges, push ups, planks etc are all strength based exercises that can be done using your body weight. And there are many ways to progress or regress each exercise to find your own starting point.
When body weight exercises are comfortable and completed pain free, you can start incorporating additional weight. This might be with the use of small hand weights, resistance bands, light weighted balls, kettlebells etc and you can then start targeting smaller muscle groups such as biceps, shoulders, back etc.
To reap the maximum benefits from strength training, you should include a minimum of three (3) strength based workouts into your weekly exercise schedule.
Lifting weights, or strength training, regularly helps improve your bone density, fights osteoporosis and improves postural imbalances.
Women who strength train often experience less pain in their joints, decreased lower back pain and can reverse skeletal muscle aging factors.
There’s a strong link between resistance training and stress/anxiety reduction and improved body image and confidence.
And finally, a reason that should be talked about more is the importance of building and maintaining body strength and balance as we age, to reduce the risk of falls and the injuries associated with falling. Of course, anyone can have a fall, but falls are a major health concern for those aged 65 and over, with women at a greater risk than men.
You can decrease a number of key risk factors associated with falls, during your midlife years, by keeping active, strong and by improving your balance.
Now that you understand a little more about the how and why of strength training for women, would you like help getting started?