Strength Training Benefits for Women

For most people when we talk about weight lifting we conjure up images of men hitting sets of bench press, curls, and leg press. But why?

Women have just as much to gain (and lose) from lifting weights or strength training. I’ll talk first about the physical benefits.

Strength Training will boost your metabolism.

This is done in both the short and long term. Your metabolism is temporarily increased through any physical activity (walking included) for a short period of time. Strength training goes beyond this as your body will be burning excess calories for about 36 hours afterward to rebuild your muscle tissue.

It should also be noted that muscle tissue is metabolically active. Meaning every pound of muscle tissue that you have burns calories, even at rest. This is why men usually have a faster metabolism than women as they typically carry more muscle tissue.

Strength training has also been clinically shown to increase glucose utilization. In simple terms, this helps prevent insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes.

Strength Training will provide injury resistance and resilience.

Your muscles should be thought of as armor for your body/joints. The more time and effort that you spend with strength training (through full range of motion), the better developed your armor becomes.

Muscles, tendons, and ligaments all require stress in order to be triggered to strengthen. This is the beauty of our design! That stress is strength training. Long story short, after the connective tissues are called upon to move against resistance, they are triggered to build up the strength of the tissues – trees respond the same way with exposure to wind.

Not only will strength training improve the quality of your connective tissues, but your bones will be stimulated to adapt as well. It has been well documented over the years that the stress placed upon the bones from strength training triggers the bones to absorb more calcium in order to maintain or even increase bone density (strength)

Strength Training will help you change your body’s shape.

While your genes do play a role in how you look, strength training allows you to best play the hand that genetics dealt you. Strength training allows you to tone up and even create new curves.

And, no, you won’t bulk up — women don’t have enough muscle-building hormones to gain a lot of mass like men do.

If you fuel yourself appropriately, you’ll burn fat.

Strength Training will improve your heart health.

Strength training has been shown to increase your HDL (good) cholesterol and decrease your “bad” (LDL) cholesterol, as well as lowering blood pressure.

Strength training is also one of the best forms of low impact cardio workouts.

While it’s more difficult to build muscle via aerobic exercise, strength training is actually one of the best, low-impact cardio workouts. The key is to focus your workouts on compound movements, which involve more than one joint and muscle group and not to rest for very long in between exercises.

Combine two to five compound movements and perform them with very little rest between. Work with a challenging weight, and you’ll build strength while getting your heart pumping. To my Penance members this will sound very similar to what we do in each class.

Strength Training will build your strength (I know, shocker!). Increased strength equals more confidence.

Now we can talk a bit about some of the non-physical benefits. Strength training gives us an opportunity to be proud of what our bodies are capable of, rather than focusing on what size we are. When you begin to learn what you and your body are truly capable of, your confidence soars! In all aspects of life, you show up as a better version of yourself. You feel powerful, which transcends your workout and sets the tone for your day.

Basically, it’s a one-way ticket to tapping in to your inner badass.

Science also suggests that strength training can improve your mood and mental health, according to a meta-analysis of 33 clinical trials (over 1,800 subjects) published in the peer-reviewed journal JAMA Psychiatry in 2018. It found that participants who performed resistance training showed a significant reduction in symptoms of depression.

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