Weight Lifting - Breaking Down the Myths:
I have had the opportunity to train several
women in weightlifting. Two of the most common misconceptions they have about weight training
is either, it is not necessary for them to reach their fitness goals, or that they
may “bulk” up like a man if they use weights. Although there are women who are
naturally more muscular, without testosterone there is very little chance any
woman could train themselves to look like a man.
More importantly, the benefits of resistance
training for women are, in reality, more important for long term health than it
is for men. The American
Medical Association (AMA) advises people to combine both cardiovascular
exercises and weight-training exercises to receive the maximum benefits of their
Women who avoid weight training will
encounter long term health problems if they don't incorporate resistance
training into their exercise routine. Experts have discovered that
weight-training not only tones your muscles, but it also raises your basal
metabolism, which causes you to burn more calories. In addition to burning extra
calories, even when not working out, weight-training also reduces the risk of
osteoporosis, and the development of adult-onset diabetes. Those who
weight-train properly develop better coordination and balance, which can help
avoid injuries resulting from weak muscles.
For those who are already lean but
aren’t able to see the definition they desire, weight training is the only
solution for this dilemma. This brings me to another term that is often
Often women want to just TONE their muscles by doing
routines that consist of very high reps of 20 or more per exercise. Doing high
rep exercises will improve muscular coordination, endurance, and benefit weight
loss, but they will not stress your muscles in a manner that will lead to
significant muscle sculpting.
Distance runners are a prime example of very fit
athletes who often have very low muscle mass. It is not uncommon for
experienced runners to have knee, hip, and back injuries related to muscular
imbalance and weakness. I recommend trying to keep the rep range at 8 – 12
repetitions for no more than 3 sets per exercise. Each set should be
challenging enough to be difficult to complete but not impossible. By
performing resistance exercise in this manner you will create sufficient stress
on your muscles fibers to promote better performance and appearance.
If you have been struggling to reach
your fitness goals, incorporating resistance training into exercise program may
just be the boost you need. Not only will you look and fill better, you will
also be building the foundation for a healthy and active lifestyle.