Weight training always calls to mind big beefy men lifting heavy barbells during the Olympics. While there have been occasions and competitions involving women with rippling muscles, weight training for women has always been on the unpopular side.
What are the benefits of weight training for women?
Weight training has always been associated with development of lean muscles. At first, women might think that weight training for women over 40 since at this time of their lives, muscles, especially in the arms, are already sagging and unshapely. Some also believe that this may just be the thing for plump women since weight training is good for weight loss as well. But there is more in store for women than what meets the eye.
Included in the benefits of weight training for women is that it is good in preventing Osteoporosis and in keeping bones in good shape. Other diseases that can also be prevented are arthritis, back pains and injuries. Strength training is also associated in increased joint stability and stronger connective tissues. Not only that, it is also associated in preventing or controlling heart disease and diabetes!
Most importantly, contrary to the fears usually expressed by women when asked when engaging in weight training, is that it leads to unsightly bulking of muscles. In reality, however, studies have shown that because women have lesser hormones that cause muscle hypertrophy, they don’t really build up bulky muscles as men do. What really happens is that their muscles get more toned and defined.
After learning that the worst fear of women is more of a myth than a fact, perhaps more women will be encouraged to try this out. For starters, it is still best for beginner weight training for women to consult with professional instructors to correctly determine when to start and for the proper way of doing weight training exercises for women.
It is good to begin with a thrice a week sessions. It is also recommended to concentrate on the major muscle groups like the arms, core, legs, and back at first. When doing these key exercises, you should observe proper form. Otherwise, you will be highly susceptible to injuries.
Depending on the type of exercises chosen, 15 to 45 minutes should be enough for each session. The typical starter routine should include about eight to ten workouts that, as I mentioned, focus on the large muscle groups. As for the equipment, a few sets of light dumbbells at the start should be good enough. Here are a couple of common weight training exercises for women that you can choose from when using dumbbells:
• Dumbbell chest press
• One arm dumbbell row
• Bicep curl
• Tricep Extension
• Lateral Raise
• Front Lunge
What is good about these is that it caters to busy people or full time moms since it can be done at home. For frequenters of gym, however, here are five highly recommended workouts that uses training equipment:
• Lat pull down
• Leg press
• Smith machine
• Shoulder press
Weight Training Rules
But may it be in the gym or at home, there are ground rules that must always be kept in mind.
First, keep things simple because there is no need to engage in highly complicated routines just to get the same results.
Second, always observe the proper form for optimal results and to avoid injuries. While important in all exercise regimens to keep on bringing it to the next level, remember that it must always be kept within the comfortable limits of the body because pushing it too far may mean pushing one’s self to greater danger.
Third, rest time is of paramount importance. Central in weight training is that it keeps the body burning fats and calories way after the workouts and prolonged exhaustion may just overdo it. It has always been said that too much of something is not good too!
Over 40? Here are some tips.
As daunting as it appears, weight training for women over 40 is not an impossible nor a very dangerous feat, although compared to younger trainers, there are more risks involved in this age group so more care should be adopted.
Here are a couple of important pieces of advice for those who are in their 40s but still wants to try weight training:
• Do not overload your spine with heavy weights
• Reduce lower body workout sessions to just once per week
• Only do heavy presses once a week
• Avoid low-rep/heavy-weight exercises
• Take a longer time warming up
Go for it!
It is never too late for you to do something in this life. Weight training has always been set aside as the number one choice for exercise among women as they always settle for the more tame and relaxed options like yoga, pilates, and cardio exercises. Now, I think it is pretty clear that weight training holds so much promise to your usual concerns about weight, shaping up, and a healthier body. Hopefully, more and more women will choose to try weight training.
There will be no need to fear that one will turn into a heavily muscled person. It is God’s gift to women that they do not grow muscles as easy as men do and they should take advantage of that. Weight training is all about development of strength and endurance.
Whether one is engaged in sports or the sedentary side of life, a healthy body is important to make life fuller and more meaningful. It is perhaps one of the most effective ways to prevent yourself from getting sick. It may just look intimidating and almost always a male dominated activity among all the fitness options, but it is not necessarily a “for male only” program. It can also bring wonders to women’s health.