Check out these benefits of strength training for women and why you should add strength training to your routine this week.
Strength training has become more and more popular in the mainstream fitness world if you ask me. Before, cardio got all the credit.
And yes, while cardio should have its place in everyone’s weekly routine, strength training is maybe even more important.
I love strength training. When I was a cardio bunny, my only ‘fitness’ goal was to lose weight and look better in a bikini. We live in a society where body image is everything and it can be a lot on young women.
Especially since genetics play a huge role. I’m never going to look like the women I see in magazines. Granted, photoshop is a thing and they don’t even look like that, but I mean I’m never going to have super long thin legs.
With strength training, it’s much easier to make goals around your performance. Now, I have goals to lift a certain amount of weight or do a really high number of repetitions (reps) without stopping. I have been able to see results that goes beyond what my body looks like.
In full transparency, since I added strength training, it was easier for me to slim down so that was a benefit that came with it but it was no longer my main goal.
In my experience, running is harder to see results. Sure, I could run farther but without adding strength training, it’s going to be much harder to get stronger to run faster and farther. This is because running is all about endurance.
That’s why both cardio and strength training has their place in your routine.
Strength training actually can be an aerobic exercise depending on the number of reps you are doing and how many compounds moments (a multi-joint movement that works more than one muscle group at the same time) you are doing.
According to the center for disease control and prevention (CDC), adults should include strength training exercises in their routine at least two times a week.
Now strength training doesn’t necessarily mean strictly powerlifting. Exercises such as pilates, using resistance bands, bodyweight exercises, and all those machines you see at the gym are included so it doesn’t have to be intimidating.
Once you know about all the benefits that strength training provides, you’re definitely going to want to add it to your routine.
Long are the days that lifting weights is just for the boys.
Builds Muscle Mass
That’s why progressive overload (lifting more or performing the move better over time) is so important. Lifting weights forces your body to adapt and get stronger.
The fancy way of saying ‘to build muscle’ is hypertrophy. When we lift weights, we are putting stress on our muscles which causes microtears which leads to a stronger body. So in this case, tears and stress are good things. Here’s an article from women’s health that deep dives into hypertrophy.
Increasing muscle mass basically just means your muscle fibers are getting bigger. Don’t worry though, you won’t get bulky strength training. Women just don’t have as many muscle-building hormones as men do to gain muscle mass. Women bodybuilders have been working for that body for years with proper nutrition and supplements. It basically isn’t going to happen on accident.
Aids in weight loss and improves body composition
Building more lean muscle will rev up your metabolism! For each pound of muscle, you burn roughly 30-50 more calories per day. I know this isn’t a lot but it’s better than nothing, right?
On top of this, you burn calories even after your strength training session is over. It really depends but it can be up to 48 hours after your workout.
Another benefit of strength training is that you don’t necessarily need to be in a calorie deficit to go down a pant size. This concept is known as body recomposition.
It’s when you lose body fat while simultaneously gaining muscle. The number on the scale won’t go down but the inches around your waist will. This is because muscle is more dense than fat. In other words, a pound of fat is waaaayyy bigger than a pound of muscle in size.
Better Mood and Reduces Stress
Whenever I can use the word ‘endorphins’ in a blog post, I’m going to use this gif of my girl Elle Woods.
Exercising releases endorphins which improves your mood, increases your energy, lowers anxiety, and even fights depression. Who doesn’t want to be happier and more energized?
I can definitely feel the difference in my mood and energy if I take a few days off from exercising. Granted rest days are important but you don’t need to take a day off from moving completely. Try to go for a walk on your rest days so you’re still moving your body and keeping those endorphins up!
Many women report feeling more confident as a result of strength training. It’s so empowering as you get stronger. In a few short months, I can lift heavier than I ever could have imagined.
If I can do that, I can do anything, right? You really start feeling like a badass as you get stronger.
Lifting weights can surprisingly be a pretty big mental game as well. Mindset is everything. If you tell yourself you can’t do one more push-up, you aren’t going to be able to.
But if you tell yourself you can do it, you could surprise yourself and do 3 or 4 more. If you go into your weight lifting session with a positive mindset, you’re going to surprise yourself with what you can do.
Last before certainly not least is all the physical benefits of strength training for women. There are so many but here are some of the main ones:
Increase bone density
The stress from strength training increases bone density including your spine!
Strength training is the best defense against osteoporosis, which is common for women as they age. Typically this becomes a risk after menopause.
Not only are you building stronger bones but you are also building stronger connective tissue and increasing joint stability. It makes sense since you’re strengthening the muscles around your joint as well as increasing bone density.
On top of that, the majority of strength training movements are low impact so you aren’t putting the stress from the impact on your joints that a HIIT or run would.
Helps with everyday tasks and postures
Movements such as deadlifts and squats mimic everyday tasks (picking things up or getting up from a chair). Using a chair to master the squat technique is actually a common training practice.
So if you’re incorporating these types of movements into your routine, it’s going to make it easier to stand up (more so as you get older) and pick things up. I know I’ve been able to see a difference in the amount of weight that I can pick up versus when I was just running.
For example, my fiance and I moved a couch from our living room to the curb the other day and it wasn’t that bad. Also, we went kayaking, and carrying the kayak from the car to the water wasn’t as challenging as it was for other people in the group.
Strength training is also going to improves bad posture by strengthening your core and back. This will help prevent lower back pain.
When you’re working out, you’re lengthening the muscles which can carry over to an increased in flexibility. The more you squat, the deeper you are going to be able to go. Now granted, if you stretch, it’s going to be way better at improving your flexibility but strength training will aid in this.
Reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes
Studies have shown that strength training lowers bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases good cholesterol (HDL) which also helps lowers blood pressure.
Interestingly enough, it also improves the way the body processes sugar, which can reduce the risk of diabetes.
I could honestly go on and on about strength training but I’m just going to say that you should give it a try.
There are so many different strength training routines out there, you just have to find one that YOU enjoy. I tried so many different apps and youtube videos before I found something that worked for me.
I recently created a training log where you can track your workouts and keep track of all your personal records for different movements. Remember, progressive overload is SUPER important if you want to reap the benefits.
You can check it out here
You really have nothing to lose so why not give it a go?
Let me know in the comments below what you’re favorite strength training routine is.
Until next time,