Weight Training for Women

Jul 18, 2012

Written by Greg Riggle, Fitness Director @ O2 Chatham

Killing The Myths:

Generally speaking when it comes to lifting weights most women don't like to do it. They think they are going to get big and bulky like some female body builders or the Incredible Hulk.

Now, whether they are talking about Lou Ferrigno, Eric Banna, or Edward Norton I have no idea. The reality of the situation is it is impossible for a woman to build the “big and bulky” muscle, like a body builder.

Men and Women: Not the Same

Men and women both produce the hormones, estrogen and testosterone. Men produce more testosterone and women produce more estrogen. Both sexes do produce both hormones.

It is correct that testosterone is the hormone that your body uses for muscle growth. However, women do not produce enough of this hormone to grow the type of muscle a man, or a female body builder can.

When you lift weights your testosterone levels do spike, but in women they are not going to ever reach the levels needed to build “big bulky” muscle. Most female body builder have been on some type of testosterone booster, steroid, or human growth hormone to look the way that they do. Diet and how they lift also play a very big factor.

Providing The Facts:

You will be stronger. As women age they are more likely to be less able to complete their normal daily activities than men. Lifting weights will allow them to stay stronger longer. Studies have shown that moderate strength training routines can increase a woman's strength by 30 to 50 percent.

You will lose body fat! Studies have shown that if you lift weights 2-3 times per week you will gain nearly 2 pounds of muscle and lose 3.5 pounds of fat. If you are as good at elementary math as me that is a weight loss of 1.5 pounds. Having that extra muscle also increases your resting metabolic rate. So you will burn more calories at rest throughout the day by having that extra muscle.

Other Factors That Decrease Risk:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Injury
  • Back pai
  • Arthritis
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Depression.

Overall, it is much more beneficial for women to begin a strength training regimen and it is never too late. Studies have shown women in their 70's and 80's have made tremendous strength gains, so it can be done. Ladies, lets throw those myth's out the window and start up a new strength training routine. Without the testosterone boosters, steroids, or human growth hormone there is no way for you to become the Incredible Mrs. Hulk.

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