The Guardian
Email YouTube Facebook Instagram Twitter
Everything you need to live well

Get Your Weight Up With The Science of Strength Training

Weights

Women today are neglecting strength training at their own peril. It’s the only kind of exercise that makes muscles bigger, which lets them generate more strength and force. Nine out of ten women believe that if they pick up weights at the gym, they will wake up the next morning to an Incredible Hulk-like body.

Women will make their way to the weight room to lift weights but pick up nothing heavier than a pink dumbbell, which is usually between 1-2kg.

There are so many misconceptions about strength and resistance training; the most popular being that you’ll become muscle-bound – so bulked up that your body becomes rigid. Most women never pick up enough weight to get a great training result. If you’re one of those women who think you’ll get big and bulky from lifting weights, you need to dismiss that myth right now!

Though cardio burns more calories than strength training during a workout pumping iron slashes more overall. Research has found that women who completed an hour-long strength-training workout burned an average of 100 more calories in the 24 hours afterwards than they did when they hadn’t lifted weights.

The only real way we can increase our metabolism unless we take drugs is to lift weights and maintain or increase our lean mass. That is one of the longer-term benefits to all that lifting because muscle accounts for about a third of the average woman’s weight. The effect is to burn extra calories because muscle, unlike fat, is metabolically active, so it is a win-win situation here.

Lift

Strength training makes the bones denser, a perk that is especially important for women. Lifting something heavy, like a dumbbell, makes bones bear more weight, and in exercise, stressing your bones is a good thing (to a point of course). Bones are constantly remodelling. Your body is always adding calcium to your bones and taking calcium away from your bones.

Strength training comes with visible benefits of lowering risk for several diseases, whether or not a woman did muscle-strengthening exercises indicated a lot about her health compared with women who avoided it. It makes the body more sensitive to insulin, and therefore more durable against certain diseases. Those who did any amount of strength training are more likely to have a lower body mass index and a healthier diet and less likely to be a current smoker.

Research also shows that women had a type 2 diabetes risk that was 30% lower and a cardiovascular disease risk 17% lower than those who did no strength training, even after the researchers controlled for other variables like age, diet and physical activity.

So next time you are at the gym, take a deep breath, walk past the hulks and lift.

Everyone wants to feel strong, fit and confident in everything we do, from fitting into jeans you’ve been eying, to playing with kids, to dealing with a stressful job. Strength training can benefit in all aspects of your life. Put it in your fitness plan and feel stronger, healthier, and more confident!

In this article:
FitnessWeight Lifting

Related