Strength Training for Women

There are many significant benefits to strength training for women. For example, the more lean muscle you have through strength training, the more calories your body will burn, even while you sleep.

Myth: Strength Training For Women Bulks You Up

Many women stay away from strength training because they’re afraid of looking like a professional body builder, but here are the real facts:

  • The female body has 15-20 times less testosterone than men according to the Essentials of Strength and Conditioning by Dr. William Kraemer, which is the primary hormone that causes muscle size.
  • While aerobic exercise is certainly a good choice for burning calories, strength training increases your metabolism when you’re not exercising.
  • Consistent strength training helps in some muscle gain and it will may also result in up to 50 calories burned for each pound of muscle gained.

Getting Started with Strength Training

Strength training is a great way for any woman to sculpt and strengthen her entire body. However, if you haven’t done it for a while or have never done it, there are a few important things to remember before you hit the weights…

Safety should be your first concern. The "no pain, no gain" era is, fortunately, gone for good. Pick a weight that is a challenge, not a strain. If it hurts too much, don't do it. Or don’t be afraid to ask a Personal Trainer to help you or show you an alternative exercise.

Do not perform more than a total of ten different exercises in the beginning of your program. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends one set of 8-12 repetitions of 8-10 different exercises at least twice a week as a minimum.

Increase weight and repetitions slowly. You don’t have to be sore and stiff – just ease into the program. Your increases in weights or repetitions should be incremental, but gradual. Increases should also reflect the goals of your program.

Work on large muscle groups first. There are two main reasons for this: a) The larger muscle groups will provide the greatest strength gains and produce higher increases in metabolic rate. b) The chance of injury may be reduced when you start with the larger muscle groups.

Use a variety of equipment. Visit any Bally Total Fitness and you'll quickly realize that there is a wide selection of exercise machines. Don't let that intimidate you. Rather, look at it as your personal challenge to find the machines or free weight equipment that you most enjoy and feel most comfortable working on.

Get enough rest between workouts. When getting started, take at least 48 hours and no more than 72 hours between workouts. It is actually during rest, not during your workout, that your body absorbs the benefits of strength training and gets stronger.