Resistance or weight training is traditionally thought of as ‘male exercises’ and if you go to the weights session of your local gym, you’ll likely find a male dominated area with a random brave girl or 2 in between, usually me!
But research is telling us that weight training is just as important for women as for men in a well rounded fitness program. Such a program should be a combination of strength (weight) training to improve bone, joint function, bone density, muscle, tendon and ligament strength, as well as cardio or aerobic exercise to improve your heart and lung fitness and stretching or flexibility and balance exercises.
Women often shy away from weight training fearing that they will turn into something reminiscent of the hulk but trust me girls, it’s not going to happen! Women don’t produce the same amount of hormones as men to achieve big muscle gains. Learn more on why women should include resistance training by reading this article.
But what exactly is weight training…
Weight training (also know as resistance training and strength training) is a type of training that uses weights for resistance. This provides a stress on your muscles, which they adapt to over time and get stronger. Weight training can be performed in various ways for example with your own body weight, with dumbbells, barbells, kettle bells or weight machines. To see improvements you don’t even need to weight train for hours each week either, just a simple 20-30 minute routine on 2 or 3 days and your on your way.
In general you want to train your whole body and there’s numerous ways to do this. Some people like to pick one or 2 muscle groups and focus on these only during their training session and then do other muscle groups on different days, while others like to do 1-2 muscles from all muscle groups at each training session. Totally your choice!
Here is a article I wrote that explains how to do some great bicep exercises: Best Biceps Exercises
As mentioned at the start of this article, we should try and include 3 types of exercise in our fitness plan; weight / resistance, cardio / aerobic and flexibility. Most people one or two of these types but not all 3, if that’s you look at the whole fitness picture and try and make time for the other types of exercises. If you’re not a big fan of them, start small and gradually increase until these exercises just become part of your routine.
Unsure how to incorporate weight training in your routine? Ask a personal trainer (like me) or exercise physiologist to help put a program together for you. I can put together a home based or gym based program using limited equipment to help get you started, click here to enquire.