Why Women Should Lift
Lift yourself to the next level
There's one particular objection I encounter time and time again when I discuss weight training with people or, to be more accurate, with other women, and that is 'Oh, I don't want to lift weights. I don't want to end up looking like a man!' It never ceases to amaze me that some women truly believe that, if they pick up a 5kg or 10kg weight (and I'm being generous here, some women don't even consider going that heavy!) and do a few reps, after 1 or 2 sessions they will have transformed into the female equivalent of Arnold Schwarzenegger. I don't know whether this is blatant ignorance or just a feeble excuse not to pick up a weight.
Weight lifting is hard.
There is no escaping it. It takes effort and dedication but the enjoyment and, more importantly, the benefits of doing it are well worth it. For women, in particular, it is incredibly important that we include weight lifting into our training regime. The reason for this is that, as we get older, women are more prone than men to suffer from bone withering diseases such as osteoporosis. The only way to strengthen your bones and lessen the chances of developing such diseases is to lift weights. There is no substitute for it, no form of cardio will do the same thing, you have to pick heavy shit up and put it down again and then pick it up and put it down, then pick it up and put it down and so on and so on.
Let me get one thing straight, a very small percentage of women who lift weights go on to look in the peak of physical condition like Arnold Schwarzenegger. This is for a number of reasons -
There are many different types of weight training - power lifting, bodybuilding, strength training to name but a few. They all have their purposes and they will all sculpt your body in a different way. As an example, next time the Olympics are on, take some time to watch the female Olympic lifters. You will be shocked to see not only the kinds of weights these powerhouses can lift but how incredibly slight and lean they look.
The image that most people have in mind when they make this sweeping statement is of a female bodybuilder but again within this one discipline there are many different categories and degrees of defining the female form, some more extreme than others
It takes an incredible amount of dedication, sacrifice and devotion by those women to achieve that unique look. It takes months of working out in the gym for several hours a day and an extremely restrictive diet that would make us lesser mortals weep at the thought of it. Quite frankly, it is a massive insult and slap in the face to these women that your average person thinks that they will somehow get the same results by picking up the odd weight a few times a week!
Unfortunately, even as fitness professionals we are encouraged to tiptoe round females when it comes to weight training. They advise that women should use lighter weights and perform higher reps. This is simultaneously insulting and exactly the opposite of what you want to do if you want to avoid increasing your muscle size and looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger, (which apparently is the single thing that every female wants to avoid) - let me explain.
It is insulting because it seems to suggest that women are once again the weaker sex. That we somehow can't cope mentally or physically with lifting heavy weights. That it is beyond our weak and feeble little bodies, so let's not rock the boat and potentially scare the poor little girlies, let's just give them little weights and pretend that they're doing something. I've got news for you my fellow female warriors, when it comes to weight training, women can train harder than men!! In some cases, yes, we may not be able to lift quite as heavy but we can lift for longer, we can recover quicker and we can leave the men panting on the floor begging for mercy while we casually start another set!
Low weights, high reps creates what is known as Hypertrophy within the muscles which makes them appear larger. It is this technique along with a very specific diet that bodybuilders follow in order to increase their size. If you want to develop your strength but not increase your size then you need to lift heavy weights for lower reps.
So come on girls, don't get weighed down with the myths & lies, lift yourself to the next level and start reaping the benefits of lifting weights!