One common misconception is that women will develop “large” muscles if they strength train. Generally speaking, women do not experience muscular hypertrophy to the same extent as men. . . . Nevertheless, women will increase substantially in strength in response to a progressive strength-training program. (pg. 83, Essentials of Exercise Science for Fitness Professionals)
This is so true! I hate that so many women have the belief that strength training is for guys. For me, I wasn’t concerned about bulking up; I was just convinced that I couldn’t do it.
However, my fiance is a big weight-training fan, and after my shin splints sidelined me from running after the marathon, I figured I’d give strength training a shot. It did a lot for my confidence, and I have read a lot about the benefits of strength training for the average woman. So, here are my reasons all women should strength train.
1. Moving up to the next weight feels like getting an A…
…or winning a contest, or whatever makes you feel that little high. I’m a firm believer that the best form of competition is the challenge you lay down for yourself. Becoming a better version of you is such a great feeling, and progressing higher in strength training, to me, is a great way to feel a sense of achievement.
2. You will impress people.
Obviously, it’s more important to do it for you. However, I would be lying if I said it didn’t feel good when my fiance raised his eyebrows at the size kettlebell I would need when we were shopping for equipment for our little home gym.
3. It makes your other workouts easier.
I remember when I started training for my first half marathon, my best friend told me to make sure to do push ups. My immediate response was “huh?” She said that, when your legs get tired, your arms will make up for some of the momentum.
I’ll admit, in the beginning, I didn’t listen. But, as the going got tough, I figured it couldn’t hurt. Let me tell you, I really noticed a difference! It also helped so much in releasing some of the tension I would feel in my shoulders when I started to get tired during a run. Instead of locking up my shoulders, I would actually use them. Strength training gave me more power in ways I didn’t expect.
4. It makes you feel like you can conquer just about anything.
Taking a look at yourself in the mirror while you are lifting weights can be one of the most empowering parts of your day. Call it vain, but watching yourself do something so simple –using your strength– means so much more than just doing it. It’s obviously important to check your form, but somehow seeing yourself do it makes a huge difference.
Do you strength train? What do you love about it?
Disclaimer: Although I am studying, I am not yet a certified fitness professional. The advice above is purely my opinion. Please use your best judgement and consult with your doctor before starting a strength training program.