Research conducted at the University of Northern Iowa suggests that "only 20% of women engage in any form of strength training regularly, compared to 50% of men.”
Strength training is often linked to the development of large muscles and a masculine appearance. This, however, is not always true. The outcome of strength training depends on various factors such as your training routine, genetics, nutrition, recovery, and hormonal levels. While strength training can certainly lead to muscle growth (hypertrophy), it is possible to tailor your training to achieve different goals.
Strength training is important across genders due to its numerous physical, mental, and overall health benefits. As one age, the body is bound to deteriorate. But studies show you can delay the process by years with as little as two sessions of strength training every week.
Before we get into the benefits of strength training for women, let us bust some common myths around the topic:
Myth: Strength Training Makes You Bulky.
Reality: Building significant muscle mass (hypertrophy) requires specific training protocols, nutrition plans, and often, hormonal support. Most women do not have the genetic predisposition or hormone levels necessary to develop bulky muscles easily. Strength training can help women build lean muscle and achieve a toned and defined physique without excessive muscle mass.
Myth: Muscle built will turn to fat once you stop strength training.
Reality: When you stop exercising, your muscles may gradually lose size and definition due to reduced physical activity. However, they seldom convert into fat.
Myth: Women Should Stick to Cardio for Weight Loss
Reality: Strength training plays a crucial role in weight management and fat loss. Building muscle through strength training increases resting metabolic rate, making it an effective complement to cardiovascular exercise which is only one piece of the weight loss puzzle.
Engaging in strength training helps to increase lean muscle mass, which in turn boosts metabolism and facilitates fat loss even when at rest. Regardless of gender, engaging in regular strength training can lead to a wide range of positive outcomes:
1. Improved bone health: Women are more prone to osteoporosis as they age due to decreasing bone density. Strength training places stress on bones, stimulating bone growth and preventing the loss of bone mass, thus reducing the risk of fractures and osteoporosis.
2. Empowerment and confidence: As women see their strength and fitness levels improve, their self-confidence follows suit. Overcoming physical challenges in the gym can translate to a more resilient mindset in other areas of life... along with better posture and cardiovascular health.
3. Increased Muscle Mass and Toning: Strength training contributes to a more toned and defined appearance. Who minds that?
As a beginner, it is important to have a balanced workout regime that targets various muscle groups. The "push, pull, and abs" workout does exactly that!
The "push" exercises focus on the muscles involved in pushing movements - the chest, shoulders, and triceps. Classic push exercises like shoulder and bench presses along with cable push are perfect for this. Our exercise bench will make for a great partner for these exercises!
Conversely, the "pull" exercises emphasize the muscles responsible for pulling actions, such as the back and biceps. Rowing variations, pull-ups, and lat pulldowns are excellent choices for targeting these muscles.
The third component, "abs," centres on core strengthening exercises. Planks, Russian twists, and leg raises effectively engage the core muscles, promoting stability and enhancing overall functional fitness.
Remember to use proper form, gradually increase weights, and allow adequate rest between sessions. Always consult a fitness professional before beginning a new exercise program, especially if you're new to strength training.
You can start your strength training journey at a nearby gym or head to our online store to get equipment and work out at home.