Over the last decade, there has been a lot of research done into the benefits of weight training for women. Although it’s easy to spend most of your gym time running on the treadmill or in spin class, resistance training is making a serious mark and the benefits are speaking for themselves.
Firstly, a no-brainer – resistance training helps tone muscle. Researchers found that unlike men, women typically don’t gain size from strength training due to an absence of bulk-building hormones, like testosterone and human growth hormone. Think about how often a female body builder has to go to the gym, and the kind of diet she has to follow to look like she does. What weight training WILL do is help you develop muscle tone and definition, and improve the appearance of your skin*.
Secondly, weight training helps to decrease your risk of developing osteoporosis. Strength training builds your bone mineral density, making regular resistance exercise a key defence against osteoporosis**.
Thirdly, it’s all about training for real life situations. We lift our kids, but we’re apprehensive about lifting weights. Doing resistance training in a controlled gym environment means we’re more equipped to handle situations in real life that call for us to use these muscle groups – and help prevent injuries caused when we take on more than we can handle.
Resistance training doesn’t have to mean hitting the weights room with a sweaty all-male crowd and staring down the rows of intimidating machines. Many women-only health clubs specialise in incorporating weight training into the workout routines of their clients. You can also look into getting a Personal Trainer who will train you one-on-one and help target any areas of concern.
There is also a great range of equipment out there that can help you achieve your strength goals without the need for barbells or oversized dumbbells. The Power Plate machine is a favourite of mine – I use it with my clients to get the benefits of resistance training in a fraction of the time. The Power Plate increases force – that’s why it works!
Whole Body Vibration exercise is perfect for someone who wants to gain the same kind of strength and power as Olympic lifts and plyometric training, without the risk factors associated with these kinds of training modalities (like hernia, prolapse, and plantar fasciitis).
Functional training is also something I recommend to help my female clients build strength and incorporate weight training into their workouts. Functional training might mean using battle ropes or doing tyre flips – tyres are FREE from any tyre sales shop and are a very functional “weight” to lift!
So next time you’re contemplating your next workout, try out weights – the benefits will please you! But also make sure you are doing the movement correctly, and be sure to get your pelvic floor checked out first!