Discover the benefits of weight training and how to build strength with easy exercises.
It’s still a large misconception that women should not lift weights and many women still spend most of their time in the gym on cardio machines. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, only about 20 percent of women practice strength training.
It’s time for that number to change. Pumping iron a few times a week will not only trim inches off your hips and waist, it can transform your entire body and your health. The benefits of strength training can last hours after a workout and can boost your mood all day.
7 Benefits of Weight Lifting for Women
1. Lose Body Fat
Weight training builds muscle, as lean muscle increases so does metabolism. A higher metabolism means that you will burn more calories all day long. Studies found that the the average woman who strength trains two to three times a week for two months will gain nearly two pounds of muscle and will lose 3.5 pounds of fat. For each pound of muscle you gain, you’ll burn 35 to 50 more calories per day. That can really add up over the long term; for example, 4 extra pounds of muscle can burn up to 10 extra pounders per year!
2. Gain Strength Without Bulking
One of the most common reasons women avoid weight training is because they are afraid of “bulking.” This is a misconception as it physically can not happen. Women simply don’t have the testosterone to build muscle like men. Women have 10 to 30 times less testosterone than men and have a much harder time gaining size from strength training. Insead women develop muscle definition and strength without the size.
3. Decrease Risk of Osteoporosis
Weight training not only strengthens muscles, it strengthens your bones. Weight training increases bone density, which reduces the risk of fractures and broken bones. Research has also shown weight training can increase spinal bone density to create a strong and healthy spine.
4. Reduce Risk of Injury
Weight training also increases strength in connective tissues and joints. Strong joints, ligaments, and tendons are important to prevent injury and can relieve pain from osteoarthritis. Strengthening muscles and connective tissue will make injury from daily tasks and routine exercise less likely, and can even improve sports performance.
5. Burn More Calories
Weight training has been proven to raise your metabolism for up to 24 hours after a workout. The more intense the workout the more calories are burned. After an intense workout there is more Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption, or EPOC, meaning there is an increase in oxygen consumption, helping break down fat stores in the body.
6. Improve Posture and Reduce Back Pain
Weight-training will strengthen your back, shoulders, and core, helping to correct bad posture so that you can stand taller, with shoulders back and spine straight. A stronger back and core will also prevent lower back pain
7. Enhance Mood and Reduce Stress
Exercise and weight-training release endorphins. Endorphins are neurotransmitters that prevent pain, improve mood, and fight depression. An increased in endorphins naturally reduces stress and anxiety. Endorphins also stimulate the mind, improving alertness and boosting energy. Weight-training can brighten your entire day or help you combat a bad one.
Beginner’s Dumbbell Workout
Complete 10-20 repetitions, depending on your strength, and three sets of each exercise. Do this workout two to three times per week to build strength and muscle.
Hold one dumbbell by the end and stand with feet a little wider than shoulder width apart and knees and toes slightly turned out. Lower down into a squat. keeping your torso upright and your abdominals engaged. Press through your heels and stand back up, squeezing your glutes at the top.
Hold dumbbells with palms facing in and shoulders back. Hinge at your hips, keeping your back straight, and keeping the dumbbells close to your legs. Keep your weight in your heels so that you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, and straighten back up pressing your hips forward.
Lay on a bench, holding both dumbbells at 90 degree angles out to your sides. Press the weights up over your chest and squeeze your chest muscles together at the top. Slower lower back to the starting position.
Single Arm Row
Hold one dumbbell with your RIGHT hand and place your LEFT hand and knee on a bench. Keep your back flat, holding the weight with your palm facing in. Leading with your elbow pull the weight up, sqeezing your shoulder blade at the top. Repeat with the LEFT arm.
Hold both dumbbells with a 90 degree bend at your elbows and your elbows shoulder height. Keeping your core strong, press the weights overhead without letting your back arch.
(You’re Next Workout: Full-Body Kettlebell Fat-Burning Workout)