Before we dive head first into the meat ‘n taters of this article, I must bring something to your attention: the title of this article is 8 Reasons Why Women Should Strength Train. I want you to pay attention to the last two words of the title – strength train.
I could’ve used other words instead of “strength train” such as lift weights, workout, exercise, or numerous other words. Nonetheless, I chose “strength train” for several important reasons.
“Strength train” means to train with the purpose of getting stronger. Yeah, I know that almost sounds stupid to point out, but many people lose sight of this fact. Don’t forget that important point as we move further into the article where you’ll see 8 reasons why women should strength train.
And, hopefully, it’s understood that by “strength train” I mean primarily focusing on compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts, lunges, hip thrusts, push-ups, presses, chin-ups, rows, parallel bar dips and other barbell, dumbbell, and bodyweight movements (or similar variations) as demonstrated in the Train to Be Awesome Tutorial.
If you didn’t know, well, now you do.
1. Increase Self-Confidence and “See What You’re Made of”
This is a tremendous benefit of spending quality, consistent time with heavy iron.
Greater self-confidence is a strength training benefit you may not perceive at first, but it’s a great perk nonetheless. Most women aren’t aware of the physical, and mental, strength they truly possess. However, once they increase their strength and start squatting and deadlifting well over their bodyweight, or busting out flawless sets of push-ups, inverted rows, chin-ups and parallel bar dips, they become aware of their true abilities.
It’s very common for this newfound realization in the weight room to carry-over into everyday life. Getting stronger and performing physical feats you didn’t know you were capable of will teach you “what you are made of” and increase your self-confidence to new levels. This is something trainees who have used the Train to Be Awesome Program have reported.
Yes, it will be challenging and you’ll have to work hard and train consistently, but you will be able to perform chin-ups with your bodyweight. You will be able to deadlift twice your bodyweight. Those goals can be achieved, in addition to many others, and you will as long as you train hard, train smart, and train consistently.
2. Build the Body You Really Want
Hours upon hours of cardio every week is not the best way to build a lean and strong body. Most women want to lean down or “tone up”; they want lower levels of body fat and feminine curves. Unfortunately when most women decide to start exercising, they automatically begin doing hours of cardio each and every week. If they do “strength train”, it’s usually by way of machines or dumbbell exercises with very light weight for high reps**.
If you want to shed body fat, build some rockin’ feminine curves and look better in (and out of) your clothes, then you need to lift weights (barbells, dumbbells, your bodyweight, kettlebells, etc) and get stronger.
Don’t listen to the cardio queens or gurus who tell women not to lift more than five pounds; heavy, consistent strength training is how you build a strong, healthy, and lean body.
Lifting weights and constantly challenging yourself is a terrific way to lose fat and achieve the “toned” physique you want. (And, no, lifting weights will not make you big ‘n bulky.)
And if you’re not sure where to begin, here’s a sample training program that will help you achieve maximum results with minimum training time.
**Please note I’m referring to using very light weights that aren’t even challenging. For example, mindlessly pressing a two pound dumbbell for 20 reps when you could easily handle 15+ pounds. High reps have their place and not everyone can lift very heavy weights. The important thing is that you challenge yourself with the exercises and weights you can handle. It’s all about focusing on what you CAN do, whatever that may be.
3. Positive Goals
If you strength train with the primary goal of improving your performance in the gym, you are setting yourself up for success. Too many women enter the gym, mount a piece of cardio equipment, and track the calories burned as displayed by the machine. That becomes their only focus and concern in the gym – burning more and more calories.
Unlike cardio, strength training is a great way to set positive, motivating goals that will keep you going to the gym week after week, month after month, and year after year. And, not to mention, allow you to achieve the body transforming results you’re after.
Strength training is also a useful tool for becoming the strongest, most awesome version of yourself.
Don’t focus on going to the gym just to burn fat and calories. Set performance goals and adjust your strength training program accordingly. Train hard and make it a goal to bust out sets of push-ups and chin-ups with your bodyweight. Strive to squat and deadlift 1.5 times your bodyweight. Or maybe you want to learn how to perform the Olympic lifts, or want to get into kettlebell training.
It doesn’t matter what training tools you prefer; just set positive, performance oriented goals.
Once you achieve some of those goals, your body will have transformed, and you’ll enjoy the journey it took to get there.
Enter the gym and think about nothing but beating your previous workout. Last week you may have squatted 95 pounds for eight reps. This week squat that same 95 pounds for nine or 10 reps, or add weight and squat 100 pounds for eight reps. Whatever you do, improve your performance one way or another!
Here is a sample progression using the squat example above:
- Week 1 – Squat 95x4x5 (95 pounds, 4 sets, 5 reps each set)
- Week 2 – Squat 95x4x6
- Week 3 – Squat 100x4x5
- Week 4 – Squat 100x4x6
Setting positive goals is something I’m very passionate about and it’s a key point I stress to all of my clients. Even if your only concern is to lose body fat and look better in a swimsuit, you should still set positive, motivating performance goals in the weight room.
Focusing and training to constantly improve your performance is by far the best way to build the body you truly want, no matter what goals you set or the training tools you use. It will be fun and motivating, and as you improve your performance levels, fat loss just becomes an incredible side effect.
You can stop focusing on fat loss but still reap the benefits of losing body fat!
4. Stress Relief
Once you’re deadlifting or squatting twice your bodyweight, you won’t get overwhelmed or upset by the little things that occur in everyday life. So what if your coworker made a stupid comment at work – you can deadlift twice your bodyweight, for reps.
Long day at work that didn’t go quite as planned? Get in the gym, follow your training program, and beat last week’s workout. Strength training is a great way to relieve stress in a positive and productive manner.
After setting some personal records in the gym, you may have completely forgotten about what upset you to begin with.
5. Leading by Example
If you take a look around in the media, you’ll see that there’s a shortage of positive role models for young women. Granted, there are amazing female athletes spreading a great message, but they aren’t the ones receiving the majority of the attention.
Training for strength, improving your health, and becoming the best you possible is a great way to teach the generations behind us; leading by example is much more powerful than words. This is something to keep in mind if you have daughters – show them that women can be physically strong. Show them that you go to the gym to build strength and improve your performance because you have positive goals.
Don’t let the generations behind you think all that matters is getting skinny and losing body fat. Show them the more positive, rewarding journey of strength training.
Lead by example.
6. Other Methods for Building a Better Body have Failed
Many of my clients have come to me as a “last resort” to achieve their goals. They’ve tried other methods of fat loss (fad diets, popular workouts, gimmick exercise machines, etc) that left them stressed, frustrated, burned out, and with less money in their wallets.
When they give me the reins and allow me to teach them how to properly strength train, they finally start achieving the goals they’ve longed for, and in much less time than they thought was necessary. Forget the fads and gimmicks – improving your performance through strength training is the real way to get results.
If you’re new to the world of strength training, be sure to check out this article: 11 Beginner Strength Training Tips for Women.
7. Prevent Diseases such as Osteopenia and Osteoporosis
Let’s face it; most women workout because they want to look better. However, there are numerous health benefits to strength training that must not be ignored. This benefit may not be as sexy as the previous reasons why women should strength train, but it’s very important for women to participate in load bearing activities to prevent conditions and diseases such as osteopenia.
This just goes to show that strength training has benefits beyond the aesthetic realm. Sure, lifting weights and getting stronger will allow you to look better naked, but it can also greatly improve your health and quality of life. Do not lose sight of this important fact.
8. Bring Out the Best YOU
I’m a trainer, and I have been for almost 10 years. My job isn’t to help women look like some airbrushed, photoshopped model they saw on the cover of the latest magazine.
No, I take pride in training women so they can bring out the best in them. Each woman is unique and has her own strengths and goals. Some are naturally good at deadlifting. Some are better at squatting. Some prefer training with kettlebells. Others may gravitate to the world of strongman training.
It’s not about imitating or trying to look like anyone else or attempting to fit some “ideal body” as determined by society.
It’s about highlighting and taking advantage of your own unique talents and physical features and abilities.
It’s about being the best you. It’s about Training to be Awesome.
And finally . . .
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