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When it comes to exercise, many women get a little fearful of the weight training area. This is mainly due to a huge misconception that weightlifting for women will cause so much new muscle, they will look like men.
Sadly, this misconception is a huge reason for many women who are seriously limiting their fitness capabilities. Strength training/ weight training has so many benefits to women. It is a great way of developing fitness without limiting you to the cardio room. Cardio is often very over used and misunderstood. One of the best ways to tone muscle is by giving it some weight to shift!
Sadly, this misconception is a huge reason for many women who are seriously limiting their fitness capabilities.
Resistance training, strength training and weight training are all ultimately the same thing. It’s simply a form of exercise in which you’re working against some type of force that “resists” your movement such as a weight. This can be with free weight, loaded machinery or bodyweight.
Resistance training is also excellent for weight loss too! It has so many benefits to women so it’s time you utilized resistance equipment (like various resistance bands) that is sometimes available at your gym to start reaping the rewards of this amazing type of training.
Let’s show you some of the amazing things strength training will do for you and why you won’t sprout a ton of muscle mass overnight and turn into the Incredible Hulk if you start weight training!
Ok so let’s not waste any time when it comes to abolishing those rumours about strength training making you gain loads of muscle and turning you into a guy.
Testosterone is a primary hormonal driver of muscle growth. Testosterone promotes muscle mass, increases energy, and even influences human behaviour. Men get larger muscle mass because they have heaps more testosterone than women. It’s simply science. According to the Mayo Clinic the average levels of testosterone in men and women are as follows:
Avg. Adult Male 270-1,070 (ng/dL)
Avg. Adult Female 15-70 (ng/dL)
Now that’s a pretty massive difference so those figures alone should set your mind to rest!
Weight training as exercise allows you to train for the results that YOU want. Want a more rounded bum? The squat and the deadlift should be incorporated into your workout. The beauty of strength training is that you can train to achieve your aesthetic goals or your fitness goals.
The media are also largely to blame for this jaded view of women who lift weights. Those large bodybuilding physiques you see on the internet coupled with deep voices and masculine appearances are due to the use of elicit substances such as steroids, growth hormone and testosterone. So, rest assured knowing that strength training simply can’t do that to you!
Weight training isn’t just about building new muscle tone. It is also brilliant for increasing your fitness levels and torching that body fat.
Also, when you are toning your muscle through resistance training you will make microscopic tears in the fibres. This is what gives you that muscle soreness a few days after! For your body to repair these tears it requires more calories. It’s a win-win situation.
What’s more, keeping new muscle requires calories simply for maintenance so resistance training will rev up your metabolism as your body will be using more calories to keep your new muscle tone. Having more muscle through strength training therefore increases your BMR (basal metabolic rate).
Resistance training can significantly increase your lean body mass and obliterate body fat too. As a result, this increases the number of overall calories you burn during the day. So, by adding more lean muscle, you’ll be burning more calories outside the gym, even when you are relaxing on the couch watching a film or fast asleep away with the fairies!
If you have been losing weight only through cardio then you will also be losing muscle mass which can take away from your goal of achieving a more toned look.
The incredible thing about strength training as exercise is that it allows you to train for the results you want. There are many goals that can be accomplished through strength training. Here are some examples and how resistance training can help:
Aesthetics: You can specifically sculpt certain areas of your body with resistance training. If you want a bigger butt, more toned arms or a beautiful back then you can selectively focus your training on the muscle groups you want to improve.
Increase strength and power: Training your muscles with weights allows you to increase your strength dramatically. If achieving greater levels of strength is something you want to aim for, resistance training is the way forward. Your program could include power lifts, and other explosive movements as well as a weight progression target every week.
Strengthen a specific area: Training with weights can be an excellent rehabilitation tool for exercise if you have had an injury on a certain body part. You can also use it to strengthen areas which may be weak due to your job like slouching at a desk etc.
Get better at a sport: You can directly enhance your performance and fitness via resistance training. For example, if you are a hiker, or runner you can target your quads, hams and explosive power with isolation and compound lifts. You can even out muscle imbalances when one limb is stronger than the other.
Below you can enjoy a range of resistance workouts that are goal-specific (as discussed previously). Establish your fitness goal, and feel free to copy & paste these exercise lists into the notepad of your mobile device, so that you can easily follow along at the gym, or wherever you’re working out!
To achieve full-body muscle toning you will need to perform a workout which works you from head to toe. Ensure you use a weight you can manage to complete all the reps. For example:
Walking lunges with dumbbells 4 sets of 10 reps
Hamstring curls 4 sets of 10 reps
Overhead barbell shoulder press 4 sets of 10 reps
Bent over barbell row 4 sets of 10 reps
Lat raises 4 sets of 10 reps
Bicep curls 4 sets of 10 reps
Triceps pushdowns 4 sets of 10 reps
Chest press 4 sets of 10 reps
Performing resistance circuits as a fat loss workout is a great way to keep your heart rate elevated and keep you in the fat burning zone. Try this workout by performing all moves in the circuit then having 60 seconds rest. In regards to weight, again use one you can manage for the full duration of the exercise. Perform the circuit a grand total of 4 times:
Barbell squat with shoulder press for 30 seconds
Plank walk outs for 30 seconds
Lat raises with a dumbbell in each hand for 30 seconds
Bicep curl (with a dumbbell in each hand) squat for 30 seconds
Bent over barbell rows for 30 seconds
So, you want to sculpt a specific area? It’s important that you hit the different muscle heads to achieve maximum coverage of the muscles. Here is an all-inclusive glute sculpting workout!
Sumo squat with a dumbbell 3 sets of 12 reps
Stiff legged deadlifts 3 sets of 12 reps
Glute bridges using loaded barbell or heavy dumbbell 3 sets of 12 reps
Walking lunges 3 sets of 12 reps
Cable kickbacks 3 sets of 12 reps
Have 60 seconds rest between sets.
Hopefully after reading this we have cleared a few things up in your mind and you will no longer fear heading into the resistance and free weights area. There are so many benefits to be had when it comes to weight training from fitness, strength, and aesthetics to improving sporting performance. Remember, you won’t get bulky either!
Let’s not forget too that resistance training is such a fun way to exercise! It can be much more fun than doing plain old cardio all the time! Exercise should push you, inspire you to become strong and powerful!