I just came back from the gym and it’s Sunday. I was chocked (yet again) to see that the weight room was busy enough but with only men? Why is it that the women mostly do the cardio machine and no weight training? So often I hear women say they don’t want to try strength training because they don’t want to get big and “bulky” like Arnold Schwarzenegger. I have news for you…it just won’t happen – women don’t have the testosterone levels required to get that big!
One of the many advantages of strength training is that it increases lean muscle mass. A greater lean muscle mass positively impacts the efficiency of our metabolism to burn calories. Here is the example I often give: two women weigh 150 pounds; one has 36 percent body fat and 98 pounds of muscle, the other has 22 percent body fat and 118 pounds of muscle. The one with the higher muscle mass will burn more calories. So even though the two women are the same weight, the one with the higher muscle mass will be able to have a higher caloric intake than the other woman while maintaining her weight. How great is that! But there’s more to it …strength training is empowering; it feels good to be strong!
13 Benefits of Strength Training
1. Increases strength of muscles, tendons and ligaments
2. Increases stability of joints
3. Increases muscle mass
4. Increases bone density and bone mass
5. Improves body composition
6. Improves motor coordination
7. Reduces the risk of osteoporosis
8. Reduces the signs and symptoms of chronic diseases such as Arthritis and Type 2 Diabetes
9. Improves sleep and reduces sleep disorders
10. Reduces depression
11. Improves flexibility
12. Reduces the number of falls in older adults
13. Reduces severity of injuries by strengthening supportive structures, developing muscle balance around joints and increasing your muscles’ ability to absorb energy
So what are you waiting for ladies? Are 13 benefits not enough to convince you? If you want to “tone-up”, grab some weights and start lifting. Don’t be shy! The benefits will be huge for both your health and your confidence. Not sure if you should do free weights or machine – keep on reading and find out about the pros and cons of both. Have fun and see you in the weight room!:)
Free-Weights vs. Machines
Strength training with free-weights, when done properly and with good form is generally more beneficial than training with machines. This is primarily because most machines can’t be adjusted perfectly for your size. This can cause you to a) do the exercise wrong; b) do it in a way that hurts you; and c) do it in a way that doesn’t benefit you. The range of motion is also more limited on machines. In comparison, the range of motion with free weights resembles the movements you do in everyday life: this will benefit you more. Still, there is controversy and disagreement over which is better; some personal trainers prefer machines as a safer alternative when clients aren’t used to lifting weights.
Increases the use of your stabilizing muscles, thereby increasing your core strength
The range of motion when using free-weights is similar to everyday activities
Hones your perception of balance and the location of your body in the space around you
It’s convenient and inexpensive!
Increases risk of injury if you don’t use proper form
You spend a lot of time changing weights
If your gym doesn’t have a lot of free-weights, you may spend a lot of time waiting for the ones you want
Can be great for beginners
Offers an array of weight choices
Can prevent some injuries since the machines control the range of motion
Faster workouts – easier transition from one machine to another
Increases the risk of overuse and injuries
Mistaken sense of safety – you can overload your muscles with too much weight
Locks your body in place with specific movement patterns – with free weights you can respect the body’s natural range of motion