In this article, I will share what strength training entails, why ladies need to embrace it and the principles of strength training. So, stay with me till the end, wink*
Strength training is also referred to as weight or resistance training. It is the use of free weights, weight machines, or your own body weight in exercise to train a specific muscle or muscle group to improve muscular fitness. Muscular fitness includes strength and endurance.
Still with me?
Most ladies assume that weight lifting will have them looking manly or like body builders hence you’ll find them opting for cardio-based workout. But hey, this is a misguided stereotype. The only way a lady will get bulky is if that’s her goal. This will require following a specific weight training program and strict diet in order to bulk. Additionally, it is important to know that the reason why men would bulk up is because their testosterone levels are 7-8 times that of women. Get the drift?
MERITS OF STRENGTH TRAINING
- It Burns more calories during workouts and at rest, which is beneficial if you are trying to lose some extra weight.
- Make your joints stronger and improve your posture. Moderate to heavy weights reduce the risk of injury as the body adapts to heavy loads by creating stronger, thicker connective tissues which are resilient.
- Improve overall health, reduce the risk of heart disease as strength training lowers bad cholesterol, and increases good cholesterol.
- Reduce the risk of diabetes as strength training improves the way the body processes sugar.
- Build confidence, improve self-esteem, and mental health. Lifting more weight than the previous session boosts confidence during the training session and after. I mean if you are lifting more this week than the last, you start believing in yourself, right? This also starts to apply in your daily life.
- Enhance moods from the release of endorphins.
- Increase bone density which in turn prevents osteoporosis-related fractures.
- Improve body composition, strength training builds lean muscle where carbohydrate and fat are burned and used as energy.
- Improve athletic performance by increasing power, agility and endurance. So, if you are participating in any sport, strength training could be the boost you need.
- Improved strength which can come handy in lifting grocery bags, carrying your child, climbing stairs etc.
- Tone your body which will leave you looking nice and lean, wink wink
Now that you are aware of what strength training is and the benefits ,
HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT IT?
- Start by using your own body weight for exercises such as push-ups, lunges, and squats. Bodyweight movements make you less prone to injury. Be sure to get the right form while performing these exercises.
- Dumbbells and kettlebells are a good way to scale your bodyweight training. Add a challenge to your bodyweight workouts by adding dumbbells and kettlebells. However, be sure to have a professional trainer teach you the right form to reduce any chance of injury as free weights require more control.
- Get into the barbell rack once you are confident with dumbbells. Be sure to test your three-rep maximum (3RM). If it’s your first time using the barbell, use the bar itself.
- Focus on big movements that target large muscle groups such as the deadlift, bench press, squats, and overhead press.
- Use more free weights (dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells) than machine weights as they activate more muscles. However, towards the end of your workout session when your muscles are tired and you start to lose form, it is safer to use machine weights. Let’s say on leg days you use barbels and dumbbells for squats and lunges which are quad dominant, towards the end you can use a leg curl machine to target the hamstrings separately.
PRINCIPLES OF STRENGTH TRAINING
The take away from this principle is that the body gains from exercise according to how the body exercises. Applying this principle allows you to have a focused, efficient and effective program for your desired results.
Things to consider include:
- Movements to be trained
- Muscles and joints to be trained
- Energy systems to be trained
- Speed of movement during training
According to this principle, in order to keep making gains from an exercise program, find a way to make it more difficult. The body adapts to exercise and it will not continue to adapt unless workload is increased somehow. If you don’t adapt, your body will plateau and regress.
Ways to overload include:
- Increase weight lifted
- Increase volume of work (sets and reps)
- Change exercise, use different exercises to work the same muscle groups or movements
- Modify the order of exercise
- Alter the rest periods
Progressive overload allows for strength and conditioning to be effective over your training career. Exercises performed during the beginning should be less complicated than when an individual has been training for longer. Therefore, a beginner is expected to learn certain fundamental skills in a training program. Once the skills are mastered, they can be applied to more complicated exercises. Failure to which may result in injury, wasted time, and incomplete development.
Now that you have this knowledge ladies, do not be apprehensive about stepping in to the men’s part of the gym. You will be surprised by the amazing things your body can achieve.