Weights are usually lifted by men to lose weight, tone up their muscles and to get a body that looks fit and in shape. But what about women? Can we benefit from this exercise too?
Women generally avoid lifting weights, but, today, some women have discovered the truth and started to take to the weight room more and more. There are no dangers in lifting weights, but, as mentioned earlier, it should be done with the trainer’s guidance and with the trainer monitoring the weight lifting process.
The benefits of weight lifting for women:
Weight lifting is a great way to increase lean muscle mass, while simultaneously shedding excess fat. What’s more, lifting weights increases your metabolism which burns fat faster. Plus, because training with weights causes small microfiber tears in the muscle, your body takes 2 or 3 days recovering and rebuilding. In this time, your body is burning more calories due to the additional energy needed to repair the muscle tissue. This means you’re still burning fat up to 3 days after your workout!
Strength training isn’t just for guys! It’s a form of resistance which requires your muscles to exert against a force such as weights. It’s the fastest way to improve muscle strength and endurance.
Muscle mass diminishes with age. If you don’t do anything to replace the muscle you’re losing, it will increase fat.
You don’t need to spend hours each day lifting weights to get the benefits.
Two or three sessions each week at 20 to 30 minutes are sufficient to improve your fitness and stamina.
Use it or Lose it!
Strength Training can preserve and enhance your muscle mass, regardless of your age!
Health Benefits of Strength Training
– Increases your strength up to 60% within 6 months of regular training
– Increases lean muscle mass
– Shapes and strengthens muscles fibers which minimizes the fatty marbling tissue
– Increases range of motion
– Promotes bone density
– Controls body fat
– Reduces risk of injuries
– Increases your self confidence
– Improves contractile properties of muscles
– Increases structural stability
– Increases your basal metabolic rate
Getting Started Tips
– Always warm up before starting.
– Stretch to increase muscle suppleness.
– Start gradually and work your way up.
– Listen to your body, don’t drive yourself into physical exertion.
– “No Pain, No Gain” is NOT true. Starting a workout program, your body can get sore, but there should be no pain.
– You don’t workout every day. Your muscles need to rest at least a day in between workouts.
Strength Training Techniques
– Good body alignment is important. While standing your feet should be shoulder width apart with your knees slightly bent.
Your movements should be slow and controlled.
– Good breathing techniques are essential. Never hold your breath. Inhale at the beginning of the lift and exhale during the release of each weight.
– You can sit or stand while participating in strength training.
– Never use a weight that’s too heavy that you cannot lift for 8 repetitions per set.
– Start with a light weight to warm up. Increase the weight somewhat with the second and third sets.
– Do two to three different exercises for each body part to work the muscle in the group effectively.
– A set consists of 8 to 12 repetitions per set.
– Do not work out with weights more than 3 times a week.
– Workout time shouldn’t exceed 30 to 40 minutes.
Other resistant exercises you can do are push-ups, ab crunches and leg squats and thrusts.
Try this weight lifting workout to get you started:
We’ve all been told that women can’t lift weights and still lose weight. We’ll get bulky, look big and will actually go up in size. And while many women have heard that this idea is a myth, they aren’t really sure why, and that uncertainty makes them reluctant to hit the gym and lift. But by not lifting, women are missing a valuable component to their exercise regime, one that actually makes losing weight and looking thin easier. So let’s crush this fitness myth once and for all. Why is it a myth that women can’t lift?
The idea goes that when you lift weights, the fibers in your muscles actually accumulate small, microscopic tears. When your body goes to repair these tears, it fills in the damage with extra muscle tissue, and over time, causes the muscle to grow and bulk. And while this process does happen to women when they lift, it just doesn’t create bulk. The bulky, beast-like muscles you see on guys at the gym comes from the acceleration of this muscle building process that comes from excess testosterone in the system. Women just don’t have enough testosterone in their systems for rapid muscle growth to occur (unless they’re taking steroids). Instead women will see tightened, toned and leaner looking muscles from lifting, which is the result that women who exercise are after.
But lifting goes beyond just making muscles look more toned and defined. By adding more muscle mass to your overall body composition, you’re actually making your body a more efficient calorie burning machine and increasing your metabolism. Muscle tissue burns more calories and fat per hour than fatty tissue does, even when the body’s at rest. So if you lift weights and turn some of your body’s fat into muscle, even when you’re sitting on the couch flipping channels, your body is burning more calories than it was when you started lifting. And that can lead to even more weight loss.
So ladies, how much should you be lifting to get toned muscles and a revved up metabolism? Ideally a women who has never lifted weights should start with 2-3 sessions of 25-35 minutes per week, and will focus on total body strength and conditioning. Choose weights that are heavy enough to cause fatigue by the end of the set (typically 8-15 reps of a single exercise) but don’t cause unnecessary strain or pain in the joints.
Try including exercises for the upper and lower extremities as well as the core for best results. Exercises that combine more than one area, like medicine ball lunges with an upper body twist or free weight squats with a bicep curl, are also great to get more work done more efficiently. As you progress, you can add more weights and more diverse exercises to keep your body challenged. And just keep in mind that even if you go up in weight on a particular exercise, that won’t cause you to bulk, you’ll just get more toned.
Lifting weights is one of the best things any women can do to improve her overall fitness level and appearance. And no matter what those pesky myths out there try to tell you about getting bulky, unless you’re taking testosterone shots, you won’t get big. Instead your body composition will change from mostly fat to mostly muscle, and that will leave you with a rockin’ body. So let’s hit the gym with the boys and show them that girls can lift too.