Prevailing wisdom suggests that women should avoid all forms of strength training. The idea is that doing so would lead to significant muscle growth, making women ‘bulky’ and ‘Hulk-like.’
These claims are nothing more than myths because:
- Muscle gain doesn’t occur nearly as fast as people think
- No person gets big and bulky by accident
- Women don’t have the same capacity to build muscle as men do
Luckily, women are growing interested in weight training because it is a fantastic form of exercise. If you’re still on the fence, read on to find out what wonderful benefits you can reap from lifting weights.
1. You Become Stronger And More Functional
The most obvious benefit of weight training is that it makes you stronger. As a result, you become more functional and independent, better able to handle everyday tasks easily (1). Things like carrying groceries, walking up a flight of stairs, and doing manual labor become easier.
Lifting weights is also an excellent way to improve your athletic performance and get better at sports (2). Of course, you might not aspire to become a professional athlete, but it never hurts to participate in some sporting events and show others what you can do.
What’s perhaps even better is that strength gives you the confidence to know that you can handle physical tasks without relying on others. As a result, you feel happier, more fulfilled, and more confident in your abilities to get things done (3).
2. Strength Training Helps You Achieve The Physique You’ve Always Wanted
Weight training is one of the best ways to improve your body’s appearance and achieve a lean and athletic physique because it promotes muscle growth and fat loss (4, 5). In fact, beginners are often in an excellent position to do both things simultaneously. The process is called body recomposition.
First, lifting weights is great for building muscle, shaping your body, and improving your physical capacity (1, 6). Second, weight training is valuable while dieting for fat loss because it allows you to maintain more lean tissue (7). The stimulus from lifting weights signals your body that muscle is necessary for everyday life, and it shouldn’t be broken down for energy.
So, aside from adding shape to your body, weight training supports healthy fat loss, allowing you to achieve a lean and athletic physique.
Cardiovascular activities like jogging and riding a bike can also be beneficial, but they come with caveats. First, most aerobic activities focus on a specific body part, whereas weight training trains all major muscle groups. Second, the metabolic pathways responsible for aerobic adaptations differ from those that promote muscle and strength gain. So, there is always a risk of interference that can hinder your progress (8).
3. It Elevates Your Health On Many Fronts
Many people are surprised to learn that weight training is quite beneficial for their health.
Lifting a heavy barbell might seem dangerous, but weights strengthen your heart, improve your lung capacity, promote insulin sensitivity, and regulate your appetite (9, 10, 11). Weights also strengthen your bones, promote a healthy body weight, and help you manage blood sugar levels (12, 13).
On top of that, data shows that lifting weights improves sleep quality, which is linked to better cardiovascular health, good metabolic outcomes, weight maintenance, a lower risk of mental conditions, and much more (14, 15, 16). Plus, getting good sleep makes you feel better, boosts your productivity, and increases your chance of reaching your goals.
4. You Don’t Have to Train At a Gym
A considerable benefit of strength training for women is that you don’t have to use traditional weights or work out at a gym. Reaping the benefits of strength training is about causing the necessary muscle stimulus, which you can do in various ways. You can use:
- Adjustable dumbbells
- Resistance bands
- Suspension straps
For instance, you can get a pair of adjustable dumbbells and a few resistance bands for home training. You can mix many of these movements with bodyweight exercises to have fun and varied workouts.
Strength training is excellent for women, men, older individuals, and teenagers. Everyone physically capable of moving their body safely should leverage strength training.
Lifting weights might only seem good for meatheads and bodybuilders, but that’s far from the truth. The simple activity boosts your health on many fronts, reduces the risk of disease, and contributes to a happier and more fulfilling life.