Should Women Lift Heavy Weights?

By Russell Laurie

Many women avoid strength training because they’re afraid it will give them massive, Schwarzenegger-sized muscles.  But while strength training can initially increase your overall weight (muscle is heavier than fat), it certainly won’t cause you to look bulky, and will make women look smaller, firmer and toned.

Women simply do not have enough testosterone, a key hormone that allow for increased muscle mass. In fact, women have ten to thirty times less of the essential hormones than their male counterparts. Unlike most men, women who seek to gain muscle mass certainly do not have an easy time accomplishing this goal.  Most female strength athletes with large muscular physiques are only able to achieve this from an extremely vigorous and specialised workout plan over a long period of time and are often taking muscle-building drugs, such as anabolic steroids or growth hormones.  Weight training alone will not build large muscles in most women, and the ordinary exercisers definitely won’t get anywhere close to being able to.

As your lean muscle increases, so does your resting metabolism, and you burn more calories all day long. Generally speaking, for each 1-2kg of muscle you gain, you burn 70 to 100 more calories each day, which translates into 3000 additional calories per month which would ultimately result in a weight loss of 4.5-5kg in a single year doing nothing more than increasing your muscle mass by 1-2kg.

Some more reasons why every woman should add strength training to her workout regimen:
• To preserve bone mass and decrease the risk of osteoporosis
• To reduce blood pressure
• To improve your athletic performance
• To create strong tendons and ligaments
• To lower the risk factors for various diseases
• To reduce your risk of injury, back pain and arthritis
• To boost resting metabolism (the amount of calories your body burns when it’s not doing anything), and fight the creeping weight gain of advancing age

Although the average woman won’t lift the same load as the average man, all the general strength training principles apply equally to both sexes. That means that to get the benefits of strength training, you need to do it often enough (two or three times a week), and with the right weights (keeping the weights heavier enough that you can only perform between six to twelve repetitions per set).

So, should YOU Strength Train? 

If you want to lose weight, burn more fat, look and feel stronger and have stronger bones, then ABSOLUTELY!

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