Weight training has become an important part of a work-out, and these days it's not just reserved for men. An increasing number of women are investing in weight training in a bid to improve their overall fitness.
If you feel intimidated by a typical weights room in a gym, there's now a new solution which is increasing in popularity. Classes are opening that are geared specifically at women, helping them to learn and progress at strength training without any pressure.
There has been a recent upsurge in interest between women who seek weight training as a regular method of working out, and the new clubs offering women's weight training are aimed at getting women to the point where they can walk into a weights room and feel confident doing a session on their own.
The benefit of women-only weight training clubs is that women can see what other women are doing - if you spot a woman whose a similar size to you, you can quickly gage what you may be capable of lifting.
Why the rise in interest?
Sally Moss, founder of Strength Ambassadors, a lady's weight training club in London, sites the rise in interest as being partly down to, "women seeking to hone lean and defined physiques."
Moss adds; "This is not about women gasping for air and dripping with sweat a few days before they have a birthday party dress to fit into. It’s about women feeling fit, strong and proud of their muscles."
"It's about women feeling fit, strong and proud of their muscles"
If you've never lifted weights before, weight lifting can highlight the areas of your body that are stronger and weaker, so you have room to improve on those weaknesses. Furthermore, lifting for women is no different than lifting for men. There are no special moves, easier techniques or short cuts.
Jenna Fisher, head coach at CrossFit Hackney, explains; “It’s just as natural for a woman to be fit and strong as it is for a man."
“Why should a woman not be able to pull up her own bodyweight? Or deadlift twice her bodyweight? You can do those things and still be soft, kind and fun, and whatever other ‘womanly’ qualities you may have. You don’t have to give those up to be fit and strong.”
Benefits of weight training for women
Like many sports, weight lifting serves as another chance for women to build their confidence and work towards their ideal body shape. Below is a list of some of the benefits to weight training for women:
- Body fat loss - Weight training is aimed at building muscle. As the muscle builds so does your metabolism, meaning you'll burn off more calories within a day. Studies have shown that the average woman strength training 2-3 times per week for 2 months will gain nearly 2 pounds of muscle whilst losing 3.5 pounds of fat. For each pound of muscle gained, you'll burn 35-50 more calories per day!
- Strength building - It is a myth that weight training will 'bulk' a person up, but this remains one of the most common reasons why some women steer clear of the sport. However, this is a misconception as women simply do not have the testosterone to build muscle like men; instead, weight training can help women develop muscle definition and strength without the size.
- Reduces risk of injury - Like most sports, weight training can reduce the risk of ill health, in particular weight training strengthens bones and increases bone density, which reduces the risk of fractures and broken bones. Weight training can also increase spinal bone density to create a strong and healthy spine, and it increases strength in connective tissues and joints.
- Improves posture - Weight training is great for improving posture as it will strengthen your back, shoulders and core, enabling you to stand taller, with shoulders back and a straight spine. This in turn will help to reduce lower back pain that can be caused by poor posture.
- Reduces stress - All forms of exercise release endorphins. Endorphins are neurotransmitters that prevent pain, improve your mood and help fight depression. An increase in endorphins can naturally reduce any stress and anxiety you may have. Endorphins can also stimulate the mind, improve alertness and boost energy.