Everything a Woman Needs to Know about Lifting Weights

Everything a Woman Needs to Know about Lifting Weights

By Jane Sandwood

Everything a Woman Needs to Know about Lifting Weights

There are a number of reasons why women in-the-know choose to lift weights. While the common misconception is that ladies who lift will consequently bulk up until they look like a female version of Arnold Schwarzenegger in his bodybuilding days, many women have realised that weights are nothing to be scared of. As such, they’ve been following effective weight lifting programs for years.

The basic benefits for women who lift weights

The Independent is just one of the many sources that has openly discussed some of the most basic benefits for women who weightlift. According to Dr Nicola Lowe, senior nutrition lecturer at the University of ­Central Lancashire, an increase in muscle tissue means a higher basal metabolic rate.

With a faster metabolism we don’t just burn calories during exercise, as is the case with cardio. We burn them throughout the course of the day too. In fact, every pound of muscle uses around 6 calories a day just to sustain itself, while each pound of fat burns only 2 calories a day. So, on top of increasing our strength, protecting our bodies from joint problems, boosting our confidence and making us more athletic, weightlifting actually helps us to lose weight.

The bulk myth uncovered

It’s important to focus on scientific fact when battling against false notions that weight training causes women to bulk up. Women who lift weights don’t bulk up without also following a specific diet and relying on some combination of drugs, steroids, insulin, or HGH, because it’s simply not in our genetic makeup to achieve serious muscle definition.

Female testosterone levels are significantly lower and their oestrogen levels are notably higher than those of their male counterparts. What’s more, oestrogen naturally increases the levels of cortisol in female bodies, a substance that is responsible for actually reducing muscle mass.

Increased protection against osteoporosis

Another interesting fact about women who lift weights is that they reduce their risk of suffering from osteoporosis in the future. As explained by MediUK, bone mass builds until we turn 30, at which point both men and women lose a small percentage ever year. MediUK also confirms that the sex hormone deficiency in women as they move through the menopause radically accelerates this breakdown. This is what makes them more susceptible to suffering from osteoporosis.

In light of our scientific understanding of women, the menopause and depleting bone mass, the Universities of Exeter and Leicester teamed up on a recent study which looked at the effects of weight training on female bone density. Results revealed that even women who commit to just 60-120 seconds of high-intensity weight-bearing exercise a day, benefit from 4% better bone density than those who train with weights for less or not at all.

The importance of training heavy

Having established the many benefits to weight training, it’s a good idea to look at how to get the best out of a weightlifting workout. In a dedicated article for Women’s Health, Jen Sinkler explains that the secret to scoring a leaner, fitter body, that is by no means bulky, lies in a fitness program that focuses on heavy-weight, low-repetition workouts.

Sinkler assures that women have been notoriously misinformed; told to lighten the load when lifting weights to avoid gaining too much muscle. Like much of what has already been touched upon in this article, Sinkler reiterates the idea that women don’t need to fear bulking up as a result of lifting weights as their bodies aren’t designed to work or behave in this way.

Therefore, as research discussed in this post clearly indicates, weightlifting programs can positively support women in fitness in many ways. For optimum results, the advice is to lift weights that we find fairly heavy and concentrate on completing fewer reps.