Strength Training Myths for Women
When it comes to strength training, there is a countless amount of false information and myths. This can make it pretty difficult to tell the difference between fact and fiction. This is especially true when it comes to women and weight lifting.
Because of all these myths many women stay away from strength training and end up in a never-ending cardio routine that doesn’t get them the results they want. So what are these strength training myths? How can you avoid them?
#1: Weight Lifting Will Make You Bulky
This is one of the most frequent weight lifting myths I’ve heard, and it’s simply not true. Lifting weights builds muscle and will subsequently burn fat. Numerous studies have shown that women who perform resistance training were better able to build strength, improve their body composition and bolster their metabolism.
Most women do not fully understand the amount of training required to put on a lot of muscle. Having said that, women have much lower testosterone levels (the growth hormone needed to build muscle) when compared to men, so the risk of being “muscly” is far lower.
However, there’s no escaping that some form of weight training will build muscle, but the muscle you put on will, as a whole, will help you achieve a much leaner and trimmer physique. So basically weight lifting will help you achieve that toned look, not make you look like a bodybuilder.
#2: Cardio Burns More Calories Than Weight Lifting
This is a pretty bold claim, and honestly it couldn’t be further from the truth. While cardio certainly has its place in keeping you fit and healthy, it’s not the only outlet. If you are looking to run at a competitive level, several studies have shown that resistance training can aid aerobic output and performance.
Training for endurance doesn’t help build strength or help you achieve an aesthetically proportional physique. Performing cardio day in and day out may actually be moving you further away from your goal. It goes without saying that adding some resistance training into your fitness regime will help you develop lean muscle mass, which in turn will burn more calories.
Don’t sell yourself, or your results, short. Prioritizing strength training will fast track your fitness and fat loss results like nothing else out there!
#3: Light Weights Are All You Need
When starting out, it is imperative to begin lifting a light load in order to perfect your form and get a better understanding of how to manage resistance. However, progression is key in order to get the most out of your physique.
This is no different for women because it’s easy to stagnate on your progress without challenging yourself. It is all too common to hear about women who are afraid of lifting heavy weights and instead focus on “toning” their body using light weights.
Heads up — there is no such thing as toning. The real meaning of “toning” as it is commonly used just means building lean muscle tissue and shedding body fat to reveal the newly built muscle that lies beneath.
You can develop lean muscle mass and burn fat, but lifting light weights can only take you so far before you need to begin maximizing your efforts. Consistently lifting light weights builds up a tolerance while diminishing effects.
In order to increase strength, stamina, endurance and muscle mass, you’ll eventually need to drop those light weights and move on to the next set of weights to truly reap the rewards of your effort. This will also affect your daily life by increasing your body confidence, reducing stress and helping you feel more vibrant overall.
#4: You Shouldn’t Strength Train As You Get Older
After women reach menopause, and the potential for osteoporosis kicks in, many women tend to shy away from strength training for fear of injuring themselves.
It goes without saying that the older you get, the more at risk you are to bone and muscle deterioration, reduced flexibility and a slower metabolism. Frequent exercise, especially weightlifting, can help slow down the aging process and keep your body in top shape. In fact, exercising as you get older is crucial.
Studies have repeatedly shown that regular and progressive strength training is one of the best ways to increase bone density as you age.
By incorporating a strength-training program as part of your lifestyle, not only are you able to build muscle effectively, but you’re also better able to increase the strength of your joints and tendons.
Overall, lifting weights can help improve the quality of your day-to-day life and can reduce the likelihood of preventable injuries and falls in old age.
In the end there are a lot of myths when it comes to strength training, particularly for women. However, it is important to look at the facts and not get swept away by all the misconceptions. Strength Training will not make you look bulky and it is a crucial part of any exercise routine.
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Author: Chris Friesen
Chris Friesen is a gym owner, personal trainer, online fitness coach and former “fat dad” living on 60 beautiful acres of countryside in rural Canada.
He specializes in helping busy parents shed body fat quickly, WITHOUT becoming gym rats OR giving up the foods they love to eat.
In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and 3 kids, sitting in his hot tub out in the snow with a glass of bourbon, and yelling at his (many) misbehaving barn cats.