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Strength Training Benefits for Women

Fighting ageing is no fun, but there’s no need for nips, tucks and modifications. There’s a better way to maintain youth, and that’s through strength training.

This form of exercise can make you look and feel younger. It tightens loose skin and gives a natural glow. It produces a growth hormone that rejuvenates your cells, enhances hair and nails and aids weight loss.

Not to mention strength training boosts your stamina and flexibility. It can make you feel powerful, inside and out.

All this for free, you can’t go wrong.

Results You Can Expect

It doesn’t stop there. Check out all these other strength training benefits:

  • Tones your body; adds definition and reshapes your figure
  • Strengthens muscles
  • Increases stamina
  • Improves metabolism
  • Better sleep
  • Strengthens bones
  • Boosts energy levels
  • Improves moods and self-confidence
  • Helps avoid excess skin with weight loss
  • Improves balance and overall movement
  • Helps you overcome obstacles more easily

strength training benefits for women

What is it?

Strength training is also known as resistance or weight training. Basically, it’s overloading the muscles, forcing them to adjust to change and grow stronger. It can transform your body before your very eyes.

Two forms for strength training:

  • Isometric: contracting your muscles against a solid object (e.g. floor push-ups)
  • Isotonic: contracting your muscles through a range of motion (e.g. lifting weights)

Swimming is a mix of cardio and resistance training, as you’re pulling against the resistance of water. Check out How to lose weight at home – top 3 workout strategies for more exercise tips.



Busting the Myths

There are some misconceptions about strength training for women:

“It’ll make me bulk up.”

This isn’t possible as women don’t have the same level of testosterone as men. We have more estrogen, and its testosterone that builds muscle mass.

“It doesn’t burn as many calories.”

On the contrary, increasing muscle improves our metabolic rate, therefore burning more calories.

“My muscle will turn into fat if I stop.”

Only if you don’t adjust to the change. When training, you eat a lot of calories to burn for energy. If you stop training (burning) without reducing your calorie intake, then you’re at risk of weight gain.

“I can’t do it at home.”

You can buy all types of weight equipment for your home. They can take up little space. You don’t even have to spend money: use water bottles, your body weight, or any safe objects around the house with a bit of weight. You’re probably already doing strength training with your kids!

kettlebell and heels

Excellent Calorie Crusher

Simply put, muscle burns fat. Strength training not only burns calories during your workout, it keeps burning long afterwards (anywhere from 12 hours or more)!

Increasing muscle improves your resting metabolic rate. So, you can keep burning calories while sitting in the office.

Regular inactivity leads to loss of muscle and a slow metabolism. Strength training prevents this; its reported to reduce weight by nearly 2kg in 10 weeks. Resting metabolism can increase by 7%.

Decreasing abdominal fat also helps with insulin resistance.

>>Looking to buy some equipment? Check out these product reviews<<

Aids Health

Strength training is known to aid health and combat issues, such as:

Type 2 Diabetes

Glycaemic control requires a balance of insulin with diet and exercise. A study in Austria compared the effects of strength training to endurance training with type 2 diabetes patients. This was done over a 4-month period with 11 men, 11 women. They discovered strength training significantly improved triglyceride levels and lowered cholesterol. Another study revealed strength training 3 times per week (for 30 minutes) increases insulin activity in skeletal muscle.

Osteoarthritis

Research was conducted on 46 patients (aged 55+) with knee pain. Those who completed a 4-month home based strength training program, showed improvements in physical function, pain and strength in their knees. I can say from personal experience that strength training makes a difference.

Heart Disease

There are countless studies confirming the benefits of exercise for the heart. This report by Current Sports Medicine Reports explains how strength training helps. It improves blood pressure. It lowers blood lipid profiles (lipids are fats in the blood that risk heart attacks). And it improves blood flow through the arteries.

Osteoporosis and AgeingMature age strength training

Bone health is important as we age. Osteoporosis is a disease where bones can weaken or break in minor situations.

According to a report by Oxford Health Education Research, an estimated 200 million women are affected by this condition. It determined that a 12-week strength training program improved balance and lower body strength in older women.

Our muscle strength declines between the ages of 30-80. This loss is known as Sarcopenia. Strength training helps prevent/manage this.

Strength Training Equipment

There’s plenty of variety to keep you engaged:

  • Dumbbells
  • Kettlebells
  • Barbells
  • Arm/leg weights
  • Sandbags
  • Medicine balls
  • Body bars
  • Stability ball
  • Resistance bands
  • TRX suspension trainer
  • Cable machine, pulley system or multi-gym

>>Check out some awesome strength training equipment here<<

Free Weights Vs Machines

You may be wondering which method of weight lifting is more effective. They each have their pros and cons:

Free Weights

Free weights are using hand-held equipment like dumbbells and kettlebells. The advantage is they don’t cost too much or take up a lot of room. You can use a range of techniques and target various muscles at once. They’re functional for most activities, and easy to swap weights between exercises.

The challenge with free weights is keeping tabs of your form. The level of resistance can vary. You need controlled movements rather than swinging your weights in order to be effective.

Weight Machines

With weight machines, it’s easier to control your form. They come with clear instructions and support your body, reducing risk of injury. You can vary the weight throughout your routine and have a range of attachments to use (short bar, long bar, ropes etc). The weight is controlled throughout your movements. And you can increase to heavy weights without needing a spotter.

However, weight machines are more restrictive with movements compared to free weights. The resistance level is more intense which can be intimidating.

Common Techniques

Bicep Curl – hold onto weights and curl the arms, contracting your muscles as you raise to the shoulders and back down. Works the biceps.

Squats – hold a weight across the chest or upper back. Squat down then stand up again. Works the glutes, lower back, hamstring, calves.

Chest Press – lie on your back, bend your knees with feet on the floor. Hold weight with elbows bent. Extend arms, pushing weight away from your chest then return. Works the chest, shoulders and biceps.

Chest Flys – hold weights in your hands with arms outspread either side. Bring the arms together above the chest. Can be done standing or lying down. A reverse fly is opposite. Works the forearms, triceps, deltoids and pectorals.

Deadlift – squat down and lift the weight off the floor, hands facing down. Stand up straight holding the weight and bend back down. Works the glutes, lower back, laterals, trapezius and hamstrings.

Snatch – squat and raise a weight (barbell) with both hands from the ground to a standing position. With dumbbells, hold the weight in one hand by your side. Raise it from the ground to shoulder height, or overhead. Works the quadriceps, glutes, deltoids and traps.

Shoulder Press – hold the weight just above your shoulders. Raise them overhead then lower back down. head. Can be done from a standing or seated position. Works the shoulders, trapezius and triceps.

Shoulder Fly – hold weights in either hand by your sides. Extend both arms out, raising them to shoulder level then lower again. Can be done standing straight, bent over or sitting. Works the deltoids, forearms and trapezius.

Lateral Pulldown – while sitting, pull a weight down towards your chest or behind your neck. Works the forearms and biceps.

Tricep Extensions – hold weight above the head. Curl behind your head and return. Works the triceps.

Tricep Kickbacks – stand with knees bent. Bend forward, holding weights by your sides, palms facing in. Raise both arms out behind you then return to your sides. Works the chest, rear deltoids and triceps.

Leg Extensions – while sitting, raise a weight in front of your body using your feet. Works the quadriceps.

Leg Press – in a sitting position, push weight away from the body using the feet. Works the glutes, hamstrings and calves.

Kettlebell/Dumbbell Swing – hold the weight with both hands. Squat down and swing the weight between your legs. Thrust your hips forward, raise the weight to your chest level and back down in a swinging motion. Works the shoulders, pectorals, abs, hips, glutes and hamstrings.

female weight lifting

Tips

  • Do appropriate warm-up and cool-down stretches
  • Focus on form, it’s important to get technique right before increasing weight. Keep your back straight, and remain careful while lifting (i.e. bend at the knees)
  • Exhale as you lift, inhale as you lower. Don’t hold your breath
  • You don’t have to stick with one weight throughout your workout. Different manoeuvres can require different weights
  • When it feels easy, increase reps, sets or weight
  • Don’t lift really heavy weights on your own, make sure you have a spotter
  • Work different muscle groups on different days (e.g. lower body, upper body, full body). Give your muscles time to recover.

Empower Yourself

You’ll find strength training so empowering. Nothing beats the feeling of becoming strong and independent. It’s a versatile activity you can incorporate into your HIIT workouts. Or grab a pair of dumbbells for your next cardio or kickboxing routine.

Strength training builds more than muscle. It builds your health, your resilience and character. What rewards have you personally experienced?

STRENGTH TRAINING BENEFITS FOR WOMEN

14 thoughts on “STRENGTH TRAINING BENEFITS FOR WOMEN

  • March 9, 2019 at 4:40 am
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    My girlfriend is doing strength training recently; I believe she will interest this. You provided informative and correct knowledge about strength training. I will share this with her! Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
    • March 9, 2019 at 6:20 am
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      Cheers Brian, I appreciate you sharing! I hope your girlfriend enjoys it. Thanks for reading.

      Reply
  • March 9, 2019 at 4:41 am
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    Wow I love your site! As a new mom, trying to lose that excess skin, I have really started to dive into fitness. I love how well this is laid out. It breaks things down in a way that I can understand.

    I liked that you talk about the difference between free weights and weight machines. From firsthand experience, I have noticed how different it is to control your form with free weights. I have just recently broken out of solely working out with machines, and branched out into the free weight world, I am still getting the hang of it, but I can say that focussing on my form with the machines has definitely helped me self-correct when using free weights.

    I love strength training and can vouch for all of the benefits you listed in this article. I even noticed that it helped with my postpartum depression!

    Great tips!
    Thank you for sharing this.

    Reply
    • March 9, 2019 at 6:21 am
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      Cheers Madysen, I’m glad you enjoyed it. Good for you for diving back into fitness! It’s awesome you’re experiencing all the positives. Controlling your form can be a challenge but it gets easier, so great you’ve benefited from the machines. I’m glad it helped with your postpartum depression (I have another article about the benefits of exercise with depression/stress). All the best on your fitness journey, please keep me updated! Thanks for reading.

      Reply
  • March 9, 2019 at 5:02 am
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    As a Personal Trainer myself, I do seem to get a lot of female clients who believe in one of the myths you mentioned, “it will bulk them up.” It’s unfortunate because that’s all it really is- a myth!
    I enjoyed reading your article and the insight it gave to the benefits strength training can prove women and will happily pass this article on to my female clients so they can have a better understanding of the benefits of strength training!
    Thank you for sharing this wonderful information!

    Reply
    • March 9, 2019 at 6:23 am
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      Cheers Keenan, I appreciate the feedback and glad you enjoyed it. It’s a shame more people don’t realise the benefits of strength training. Its great to spread the word! I appreciate you sharing, thanks for reading.

      Reply
  • March 9, 2019 at 5:56 am
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    Great post, as I’m getting on in years I understand the importance of strength training to avoid osteoporosis. I recently had a bone density test carried out on the recommendation of my chiropractor. Thankfully the test result was normal. And it could be because I’ve always done some strength training.
    I really like that you provided a list of all the common strength training exercises, I think there are a few I could add to my routine.

    Reply
    • March 9, 2019 at 7:23 am
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      Hi Ann, good to hear that about the test results. For sure, strength training would’ve helped. Keep up the good work! I hope these extra exercises are useful, thanks for reading.

      Reply
  • March 10, 2019 at 2:47 am
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    Very detailed information, I will share this with my female friends! Thank you for this great article!

    Reply
    • March 10, 2019 at 5:20 am
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      Much appreciated, thanks for reading!

      Reply
  • March 17, 2019 at 6:39 pm
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    There is a lot of great information in this article! I do a lot of cardio (mainly spin classes and running) so I think this will be great for me to incorporate into my workout routines. How many days a week would you suggest adding a week to a cardio heavy regime?

    Reply
    • March 19, 2019 at 8:27 am
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      Hi Amber, I’m glad you found the article useful. To my knowledge, most experts recommend 2-3 times per week. Cardio’s great and adding strength training will give you heaps more benefits! Thanks for reading.

      Reply
  • April 17, 2019 at 5:43 pm
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    I’m totally with you on how great strength training is for women, or anybody. I do a couple of gym sessions a week as I know past the age of 35 we start to lose muscle mass and so the only way to recuperate this is to do resistance training of some kind.

    I personally prefer the gym for this as there is a machine for every pat of the body, but I’m sure with a little knowledge you could do this at home too. Kettle bells are an easy thing to do at home, and can work wonders.

    On reading your list of all the mind blowing benefits of this kind of training it make me realise that it’s just crazy not do do it. It can be a life saver in terms of your health – that, alongside a healthy diet of course!

    Reply
    • April 18, 2019 at 3:57 am
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      It’s the best, isn’t it! Absolutely, strength training is just as achievable at home. The number of manoeuvres with dumbbells is extensive, and Kettlebells are my personal fav. I have a weight machine too, though the gym can be handy for those with less room – anything to keep the fitness going 🙂 I’m glad you feel that way, it is so beneficial for our health. Keep it up! Thanks for reading

      Reply

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