All right, everybody (especially you ladies)–are you strength training?? If you are, AWESOME! If you’re not, consider this a friendly kick in the pants to get started! 🙂 OBB Trainer Jani is back this week to tell you WHY you should, plus a great, simple strength training workout that you can do at home or at the gym!
I know most of us know that lifting weights is good for us, but believe it or not, there are many women that don’t realize what a huge role lifting weights plays in losing fat and getting the shape that you want. I know many still fear that lifting weights will make them look “bulky.” Women don’t really have the genetic potential to build huge muscles since they lack the hormone testosterone needed for the development of large muscles. Lifting weights WILL NOT make you bulky…excess fat makes you bulky. If you want to shed body fat, build some feminine curves, and look better in (and out of) your clothes, then you need to add strength training to your workout schedule. And just in case this isn’t convincing enough, here is a list of awesome benefits from bodybuilding.com
Benefits of Strength training
1. YOU WILL LOSE BODY FAT
Studies performed by Wayne Westcott, PhD, from the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Massachusetts, found that the average woman who strength trains two to three times a week for two months will gain nearly two pounds of muscle and will lose 3.5 pounds of fat.
As your lean muscle increases so does your resting metabolism, and you burn more calories all day long. Generally speaking, for each pound of muscle you gain, you burn 35 to 50 more calories each day. That can really add up.
2. YOU WILL GAIN STRENGTH WITHOUT BULK
Researchers also found that unlike men, women typically don’t gain size from strength training, because compared to men, women have 10 to 30 times less of the hormones that cause muscle hypertrophy. You will, however, develop muscle tone and definition. This is a bonus.
3. YOU DECREASE YOUR RISK OF OSTEOPOROSIS
Research has found that weight training can increase spinal bone mineral density (and enhance bone modeling) by 13 percent in six months. This, coupled with an adequate amount of dietary calcium, can be a women’s best defense against osteoporosis.
4. YOU WILL IMPROVE YOUR ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE
Over and over research concludes that strength training improves athletic ability in all but the very elite athletes. Golfers can significantly increase their driving power. Cyclists are able to continue for longer periods of time with less fatigue. Skiers improve technique and reduce injury. Whatever sport you play, strength training has been shown to improve overall performance as well as decrease the risk of injury.
5. YOU WILL BE PHYSICALLY STRONGER
Increasing your strength will make you far less dependent upon others for assistance in daily living. Chores will be easier, lifting kids, groceries and laundry will no longer push you to the max.
If your maximum strength is increased, daily tasks and routine exercise will be far less likely to cause injury. Research studies conclude that even moderate weight training can increase a woman’s strength by 30 to 50 percent. Research also shows that women can develop their strength at the same rate as men.
6. REDUCE YOUR RISK OF INJURY, BACK PAIN & ARTHRITIS
Strength training not only builds stronger muscles, but also builds stronger connective tissues and increases joint stability. This acts as reinforcement for the joints and helps prevent injury.
A recent 12-year study showed that strengthening the low-back muscles had an 80 percent success rate in eliminating or alleviating low-back pain. Other studies have indicated that weight training can ease the pain of osteoarthritis and strengthen joints.
7. YOU WILL REDUCE YOUR RISK OF HEART DISEASE
According to Dr. Barry A. Franklin, of William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, weight training can improve cardiovascular health in several ways, including lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol and lowering blood pressure.
When cardiovascular exercise is added, these benefits are maximized.
8. YOU WILL REDUCE YOUR RISK OF DIABETES
In addition, Dr. Franklin noted that weight training may improve the way the body processes sugar, which may reduce the risk of diabetes. Adult-onset diabetes is a growing problem for women and men. Research indicates that weight training can increase glucose utilization in the body by 23 percent in four months.
9. IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO BENEFIT
Women in their 70’s and 80’s have built up significant strength through weight training and studies show that strength improvements are possible at any age.
10. YOU WILL IMPROVE YOUR ATTITUDE AND FIGHT DEPRESSION
A Harvard study found that 10 weeks of strength training reduced clinical depression symptoms more successfully than standard counseling did. Women who strength train commonly report feeling more confident and capable as a result of their program, all important factors in fighting depression.
So, now that you know that you can’t afford NOT to strength train, here are some basic guidelines to get you started. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that a strength training program should be performed at least two non-consecutive days each week, with a minimum of one set of 8 to 12 repetitions for healthy adults.
The workout for you this week is 8 different strength training exercises that target all the major muscles in your body. The exercises can easily be done at home or at the gym with dumbbells. You don’t need all the fancy machine’s to have an effective strength training program. If you are just beginning, start with one set of 8-12 reps, and then gradually increase the number of sets. You should choose a weight in which you can complete at least 8 repetitions with good form, but if you can do more than 12, then it’s time to increase your weight. You should always be striving to increase your weight! You aren’t going to build a lean body unless you have enough weight to adequately stimulate your muscles. That last rep should be HARD!
Initial strength gains happen fairly quickly, and it is very motivating to feel stronger. After several weeks however, your strength gains will begin to taper off and if you feel you have hit a plateau, then it’s time to play around with your sets and reps. Training at higher intensities with heavier weights and fewer reps (4-8), will produce gains in muscular strength, and training at lower intensities with lighter weights and more reps (12-15) will produce gains in muscular endurance.
So here is a simple strength training routine that you can get started with. Check the video for proper form and remember these general guidelines for each exercise: Shoulder blades back and down, keep core engaged at all times, chin pulled in, don’t lock your knees, and keep your knees behind your toes during the squats and lunges. If you have any questions or concerns about the exercises or strength training in general, just leave a comment and I will do my best to answer them. Have a great week!
Strength Training Basics with dumbbells
Complete 1 to 3 sets of 8 – 12 reps per exercise.
And here is a video showing exactly how to do each of those moves! You’ll notice a little “settings” gear in the lower right of the video. Make sure you are watching this in High Definition (1080p). We noticed that it usually auto-plays in low-res and it will be nice and crisp if you watch it in the high definition it was shot in! Make sure to check out our past videos on the Our Best Bites You Tube Channel.
Jani D. has over 20 years of experience working in the fitness industry. She has a BS in Health Promotion and is certified in many disciplines including personal training, group exercise, yoga, Pilates, TRX suspension training, Insanity®, Zumba®, and water fitness. She currently teaches a variety of group exercise classes for the Treasure Valley West YMCA in Boise, ID and also owns her own personal training business, Body Balance Training. As a busy mom of five kids she understands the challenge of finding a balance between family , church, work, maintaining a home, and taking care of ourselves. She believes that if we can make our own health and well-being a priority, we will be better equipped to handle the demands of a busy lifestyle and enjoy a better quality of life.