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Despite weight training being a normal part of athletic training and with the rise of training programs such as Crossfit, after 13 years of teaching Pilates and strength training, we still find that a lot of women feel that weight training is just for men and that it will make them feel bulky and unfeminine.

Unless, you are specifically training for body building and using extremely heavy weights, this is very unlikely in a regular training program for most women.  Weight training should be part of most women’s regular exercise program for these 3 main reasons;

  1. Weight training is needed for most things we want to be able to do.
    The biggest factor that causes pain and injury with most women is that they are not strong enough for the tasks they ask their body to do in everyday life. Taking the kids out of the car, sitting at work, carrying groceries or just going for a regular walk requires strength and control of our major postural muscles such as our core stabilisers, our gluteal muscles (our butts) and our upper body stabilisers (shoulder blade muscles).

    If these muscles are not strong, it puts excess load and strain on our joints and ligaments, causing pain and potential injury.  It also means that you just can’t do the things you would like to able to do without effort.  Strength training helps to improve your postural muscle strength and ability to do all these tasks

  2. Strength training is important for bone density.
    Our bones need load to maintain their normal structure and remain healthy.  Strength training helps maintain normal loads on the bones, to allow them to continue to move smoothly and maintain healthy and strong structure.
  3. Strength training is a key to exercise.
    This is important for 2 reasons. First, to do good quality cardio exercise, you first need good muscle strength.

    This means that you can perform cardio exercise for longer and with better quality, such as running or bike riding, instead of being limited by lack of muscle strength.

    Second, better muscle mass helps improve glucose regulation, improves your muscle metabolism, meaning you generally begin to burn more fat doing the same activities you did before, making it easier in those short and long term to maintain or lose fat and build muscle.

A weight program should not be complicated, but involve 5-6 key exercises, 2-3 times a week, ideally guided by a qualified professional, such as an exercise physiologist, physiotherapist or good personal trainer. If you’re not in a position to work with any of these professionals, consider taking classes at the gym or joining a dance or gymnastics class. Some styles of dance, specifically pole classes, are heavily geared towards building muscle – mostly because you have to climb a pole using only your thighs occasionally.

Share your exercise tips below!

Image source Shutterstock.

  • Weight training is amazing! I have just started a new weight training work out. I have dropped so much weight and never felt better. Women can lift heavy and not get big!

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  • Thank you, this has been very informative.

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  • I’ve never quite understood this, so thanks for the article.

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  • I don”t do any ttaoning at all and I don’t fesire to, lol. O’m lifting my shoppings no problem and often bring them to the level of my shoulders kust to build my miscles.

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  • Although I was always active – running around non stop – last year my weight sky rocketed and I had zero core strength meaning by the end of each day I had serious neck & shoulder pain and was relying on Panadol etc to finish the day!! At the start of this year, I joined a gym & haven’t looked back! I don’t do PT or anything, just do my own thing and push myself – the resulting strength & energy I have is really evident (my kids notice it too) and I’ve lost 16kgs as a bonus. I still have a ways to go, but feeling strong within myself and suprising myself with what I can do now, pain free, is all worth it.

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  • I really need to start weight training. The older I get the more aches and pains I get. Thanks for the information here.

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  • I also need to make time to do this,thanks for your article.

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  • I wish I had time to do this

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  • I love strength training and working out with weights. It is so essential for women to look after their bodies and be strong.

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  • I think strength training is important as long as people don’t overdo it.


    • Thank you for your comment. I strongly agree. Strength training needs to always be in moderation. 2-3 times a week is ideal. More is not better and the rest is just as important as the days you exercise

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  • Thanks for such an informative article.

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  • I do yoga which is meant to be a strength training workout. I am trying to incorporate some weights into my workout routine too


    • Thank you for your comment. Yoga has a moderate strengthening effect, but will always be limited by body weight. You’ll tend to find that if you incorporate strength training into your program, your yoga will become more effective and more enjoyable

    Reply

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