I like to say that strength training causes muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones to get stronger, and cardiovascular conditioning creates a stronger heart. The combination of the two, along with healthy nutrition, makes the body stronger, leaner, and more efficient in handling activities of daily living and environmental stressors. This is ultimate health.
As someone who works in fitness and health, I still struggle to encourage women to incorporate strength training into their routines instead of relying solely on cardio for weight loss. Some women still believe weight training will create a male muscular physique due to the photos they see of women in fitness magazines, pro athletes, and bodybuilders.
In the world of professional athletes, some women can have a more muscular physique. It is vital to acknowledge that numerous factors contribute to this, such as genetics, the type of sport they participate in, the amount of time spent training, years of experience in their sport, strength training, nutrition, supplements, and more should all be considered.
For the rest of us, including myself, strength training is essential to maintain a strong, lean, energy-efficient body as we age. Whether your goal is to get stronger, decrease body fat, increase lean muscle tissue, or improve overall fitness, adding strength training to your cardiovascular routine will transform your body into a powerful machine.
When starting a strength training program for women, remember these five essential areas.
Learn Proper Lifting Techniques
If you have never lifted weights before, hire a professional personal trainer because it’s essential to learn and develop proper strength training techniques at the beginning of your new weight training program to prevent injury.
When hiring a professional is not an option, search YouTube for free videos, check out Instagram and Google, or visit your local bookstore. There is a wealth of information available to you, and when looking for information online, use credible resources and consult with educated and certified fitness professionals.
You may want to start with light weights until you become comfortable lifting heavier or consider strength training machines and classes as an option.
ACSM recommends 8-10 exercises per strength training session at least 2-3 times weekly on non-consecutive days. To develop muscular strength, accomplish 1-3 sets with 8-12 repetitions. To develop muscular endurance, complete 1-3 sets with 12-15 repetitions.
Use Proper Weight
Pick a sufficient weight, allowing you to complete a set of 8-12 or 12-15 repetitions, with the final 1-2 reps more challenging. Maintain proper body mechanics when lifting your last repetition to prevent injury. Once the weight becomes too easy, increase it by 10%.
Do a Total Body Workout
Current research has indicated that a total body workout is as beneficial as specific muscle group training on designated days. Concentrate on upper-body exercises like chest, back, shoulders, and arms if your upper body is weaker and less on your lower body on day one.
The lower body is the problem; you will need to work harder since the lower body has the most muscle fibers in your entire body. Focus on the gluteus, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves, and less on the upper body on day two and the third day treat all body parts equally.
A total body strength-training program is a great way to get into shape when pressed for time.
Take Time To Rest
Rest is a difficult concept for many of my clients and individuals when starting a workout program. Pushing through your workouts without rest can lead to burnout, injuries, and a lack of results. It’s necessary to give our muscles at least 24 hours of rest, and for those over 40 years old, 48 hours of rest is recommended.
Be Smart about your health! If you are starting a new or changing your current workout program, consult your doctor or consider hiring a certified Fitness Professional.