You’ve probably heard a lot of stuff about weight training for women. Almost all of the negative assumptions that people believe about women lifting weights are unfounded and downright wrong. When people say that lifting heavy weights makes women unsightly and muscular, they’re not just spreading wrong information, but they’re also pushing women away from benefiting from the activity. The reality is that weight training for women only serves to make them fitter and helps them live a healthier life. In this article, you will learn more about weight training for women and its benefits.
What Is Weight Training?
Weight training is a form of physical exercise wherein you utilize the resistance provided by weights, such as dumbbells and barbells, to develop the strength and size of your muscles. Also known as resistance training and strength training, weight training can also be used to effectively burn fat and become lean. Some of the benefits that weight training for women offers are explained below.
Burns Body Fat
One of the best ways to burn calories is to weight train. On an average, an hour of weight training burns around 240 to 300 calories. In addition to that, weight training also boosts your metabolism, which effectively helps you burn more calories all day long. This will surely add up over the long term, and before you know it, you will have lost quite a few pounds.
Helps Gain Strength
The muscles in your body are highly adaptable. Therefore, when you train them regularly with a resistance, they’re bound to increase in strength. This increase in strength comes without much increase in the size of the muscle, since women possess far less testosterone than men. And instead of muscle mass, women develop muscular definition.
Reduces Chances of Injury
Weight training does not just increase the strength of your muscles, but also increases the strength and density of your bones, joints, and connective tissues. This drastically decreases the chances of you injuring yourself. Also, thicker bones equal reduced chances of fractures, broken bones, osteoarthritis, and osteoporosis. Strong connective tissues and ligaments also help improve sports performance.
Enhances Your Mood
Surprisingly, weight training also offers a lot of mental health benefits such as reduction in your stress levels and alleviation of anxiety. Regularly exercising with weights promotes the release of endorphins in your body. Endorphins are hormones secreted within the brain that prevent pain, improve the mood, and reduce stress, depression, and anxiety. They also help improve alertness and boost energy.
Weak muscles in the back, shoulders, and the core are the ones primarily responsible for your bad posture. Weight training helps you strengthen these muscles so that you stand taller and more upright. It also strengthens your spine and prevents hunching. By training with weights, you can even bid adieu to the pain in your lower back.
How to Start Weight Training for Women
If you’re new to weight training, it is best to not jump right in. It is important to slowly ease yourself into a routine as going too fast can end up causing an injury. You can start weight training for women by first following some basic training principles that are explained below.
Always Warm Up
Incorporate the practice of warming up your muscles before you start weight training. This is because, cold muscles, which are muscles that have been under rest for prolonged periods of time, are more prone to getting injured when dealing with stress. To adequately warm your muscles up, start by brisk walking for around 5 to 10 minutes. This will activate blood flow to all the muscles in your body, thereby effectively warming them up. You could also incorporate some stretches to stimulate blood flow and activate the muscle tissue before starting your training regimen.
Learn Proper Technique
Before you get into serious weight training, it is imperative that you learn how to execute a particular exercise or a movement in the right manner. Proper form and technique will not only protect you from any injuries but will also help activate and strengthen the right muscles. There are three different phases to lifting weights, namely eccentric, isometric, and concentric. With proper technique and focus, you can maximize your strength gains by stimulating your muscles during all the three phases.
Start with Bodyweight Training
Nobody is capable of lifting huge weights right from the word go. Strength is something that you develop over a period of time. Beginners in weight training for women can leverage bodyweight training to help develop the strength needed to get started with lifting weights. Bodyweight training gives first timers a convenient and easy way to slowly ease into weight training. In addition to the convenience of training from anywhere, bodyweight training also offers you a way to work out without any equipment. Once you start building some strength, you can slowly make the switch to working out with weights.
Build a Routine
Most beginners make the mistake of approaching weight training without a proper plan or a routine. Just going to the gym and lifting weights can only get you so far. There is no one single routine for everybody as it ultimately depends on your fitness goals and strength levels. Draw up a workout plan by taking into account your limitations and goals, and stick to it if you want to see results.
Weight Training for Women Exercises and Routines
Now that you have an idea of where and how to start weight training for women, here are some really great exercises that you can do to get a healthy and fit body.
Dumbbell Chest Press
This is a great compound exercise that hits multiple muscle groups ranging from your chest and triceps to your shoulders and back. To perform this exercise, grab a pair of dumbbells and lie on your back on a sturdy flat bench. Your arms should be extended upward and positioned straight up over your chest. Now, slowly bring the weight down in a straight line by bending your elbows till they form a 90-degree angle with your chest. Pause for a second and push the weights straight back up to the starting position.
There’s a reason why the squat is called the king of exercises. It activates almost all of the muscles in your lower body, including the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and the core. To perform this exercise, stand up straight by holding either a dumbbell or a kettlebell close to your chest. Position your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width. Now, slowly squat down by bending your knees till your hamstrings touch your calves.
Once you reach the bottom, pause for a second and drive your body back up using your heels. When performing this movement, make sure to keep your back straight and your chest and head up at all times.
To perform this exercise, position your feet hip-width apart and engage your core. This will help prevent any unwanted movement. Grab a pair of dumbbells with a pronated grip and lift them up straight above your head by extending your arms fully. Slowly bring them down by bending your elbows till they form a 90-degree angle. Hold this position for a second and push the weights back up straight. This is a great exercise to develop your shoulders, and more specifically, your deltoids and your upper back.
Start by standing upright with your feet hip-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Grab a pair of dumbbells using a pronated grip and hold them out in front of you. Slowly lower the weights by bending down from your hips. Make sure to keep your back straight and your chest and head up during the entire movement. Once the weight moves past your knees, pause for a second and drive the weights back up by pushing through your heels.
Also, remember to keep your core tight and engaged throughout. When done properly, the stiff-legged deadlift is a great compound exercise that really hits your glutes and hamstrings hard.
This compound exercise is great at building strength in your back muscles, including your lats. Start by holding a dumbbell on one hand. Take a staggered stance by positioning the opposite leg forward. Keep your back straight and bend slightly from the hips so that your torso is at a 45-degree angle. With your body locked in this position, slowly pull the dumbbell up to your chest by keeping your elbow close to the body. Pause for a second and then slowly lower the dumbbell back down to the starting position. Again, remember to keep your core nice and tight throughout the movement.
These five exercises barely scratch the surface of weight training for women, as there are tons of other exercises that you can do to get closer to your fitness goals. But they make a great set of movements to begin your journey into the world of weight training.
Training with weights is just half the battle. The rest of the battle that you need to fight to get a fit and strong body is in the kitchen and your bedroom. Weight training without proper nutrition and sleep can get you nowhere. Back your workouts with a solid nutrition plan that involves eating clean, healthy, and protein-rich food. Stay away from consuming junk foods and beverages.
Also, make sure you get at least 8 to 10 hours of consistent and uninterrupted sleep every night. Adequate sleep is required to help your body recover from a grueling workout regimen. And now that you’re well informed about weight training for women, you can go right ahead and make your dreams of living a fit and healthy life a reality.