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Weight Training for Women: Benefits and Common Misconceptions

February 26, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 137

I cringe every time I'm consulting a potential female client and they tell me that their main fitness goal is to "tone up." The reason for this reaction on my part is because I know how the scenario is going to play out. First, I'll tell her that in order to "tone her body," she will have to add some weight lifting to any cardio routine she's currently doing. At this point, the next question from my prospective client is "But won't that make me bigger? I don't want to be bulky like those women in the bodybuilding magazines." If only it were that easy. After explaining to them the benefits of resistance training, and also dispelling some of the common myths in regards to women and weight training, they usually see things my way and are ready to get started with a resistance training routine. It's really not their fault that they have these beliefs. These myths have been around for a long time and are propagated all the time through magazines, infomercials, and probably even their friends and family. So let's put to rest some of those myths now.

Myth #1: Weight training makes women too muscular.

There are many reasons why this myth is completely untrue. The main reason, and the one I'm going to focus on, is testosterone. Testosterone is the hormone found in both men and women that is the main contributing factor in the development of muscle mass in addition to many other things. Without the proper amount of testosterone production, no one (neither male nor female,) is going to get significantly bigger from lifting weights. Generally speaking, men produce ten times the amount of testosterone as women. For this reason, women don't have much of a chance of getting as big as guys from lifting weights. As far as the women that appear in the bodybuilding magazines, I think it's pretty safe to say that they are using some form of chemical enhancement to increase testosterone production in order to achieve that look.

Myth #2: It's too easy to get hurt from lifting weights.

I had actually never heard this before until I started my personal training business. Many women believe that because they are not as physically strong as men (which is not always the case,) that they will end up hurting themselves while lifting weights. This is completely false. As long as the amount of weight you are lifting isn't too heavy and your exercise form is perfect, then the chance of getting injured from lifting weights isn't any higher than it is for men.

Myth #3: If a woman does lift weights, than she should use light weights and complete a very high number of reps so that she doesn't get too big.

This is another one of those myths that you read about in the women's fitness magazines all the time. While it is a general rule that exercises performed with a weight that only allows the practitioner to achieve a low number of reps before reaching failure will promote muscle size, it doesn't mean that by doing 15 or 20 reps with a lighter weight that you're going to look more "toned" as opposed to "bulky." A toned muscle is achieved via two methods: reducing body fat so that you can see the muscle, and increasing the muscle size so that the muscle will be more pronounced. If you review the first myth mentioned above, you'll know that your body's ability to increase muscle mass is limited by the amount of testosterone it produces. So this means that by lifting lighter weights for a higher amount of reps, you're still going to increase your musculature by the same amount as if you were to use a heavier weight, only it's probably going to take longer to see the results.

With some common weight training myths now dispelled, let's delve into some of the benefits of weight training.

First and foremost, weight training is going to make your body look better. It does this through two avenues. First, as previously mentioned it increases the size of your musculature which is one of the two components of a toned appearance. Second, every pound of muscle on your body burns 30-50 calories per day. With one pound of fat equaling 3,500 calories, you can shed over 5 pounds of fat over the course of one year just by adding one pound of muscle. (Do the math yourself if you don't believe me.) Imagine what you could do if you added 5 or even 10 pounds of muscle!

An additional benefit of weight training is the added strength. This is pretty obvious, but being stronger will help with many aspects of your life, whether it's playing sports, moving furniture, or even just carrying groceries to the car. In addition to this, weight training is great for the health of your bones. By including regular weight training into your life, you can potentially slow down the effects of osteoporosis by increasing the strength and mass of your bones.

One final benefit I'm going to mention is the amount of calories that are burned by completing a weight lifting session. An hour of challenging and intense weight lifting has been shown to burn the same amount, if not more, calories as an hour of cardio. Also, because of the metabolism-boosting nature of the workout, your body will continue to burn extra calories throughout the day even while you're at rest!

As you can see, there are many benefits to lifting weights if you are a woman, despite all of the unproven rumors you've probably heard. Hopefully this article will eliminate any hesitation you may have and you'll start incorporating some weight training into your regular fitness routine.

Jason Dadisman is a Columbus personal trainer and the owner of Total Package Training, a Columbus personal training company. For more information about fitness, exercise or personal training please visit him at

Source: EzineArticles
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Women S Fitness


Weight Training For Women


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