Do you even lift, sis? If you don't already, I'm hoping you will soon. Gone are the days where the weights room in the gym is exclusively a 'bro zone'. Women getting strong is (to my utter delight) becoming super cool and, as trends go, it's a pretty great one to hop on board with. There are a tonne of benefits to strength training, and I care to venture a few.
1) It supports fat loss
Muscle mass burns more calories than fat does, even at rest! So if you've put in the work and built some muscle in the gym, you'll be reaping the benefits even when you're chilling on the sofa watching Netflix.
2) It helps you 'tone up'
When people talk about 'toning up' what we're really talking about is the definition achieved when we build lean muscle. So, far from needing to fear lifting weights in case we look 'too masculine'*, we need to run toward it with open arms.
* side bar; I personally think it's awesome and sexy when women look utterly jacked BUT if it's not the look you're personally after then you needn't worry. With our lower levels of testosterone than our male counterparts, it's actually pretty tough going for females to pack on the muscle and you'd need to be training really, REALLY hard.
3) It helps prevent injury
Strength training not only strengthens muscles which can help to prevent injury (for instance in strengthening our core and glutes we are at far lower risk of knee and back pain), but it also increases bone density - making fractures less likely and reducing the risk of osteoporosis as we age - and helps to improve bad posture.
4) It im
proves mood, reduces stress, and makes us feel BADASS.
As with many forms of exercise, strength training releases those glorious endorphins that improve our mood, reduce pain and make us feel on top of the world. In my experience with myself and my awesome female clients, more so than other forms of training strength training makes us feel empowered, confident and capable. We're bad b*tches and we can lift anything, ok?
That's great, but how the devil do I get started?
Well gee. I'm glad you asked. Here are my 3 main tips for beginners.
- Start simple
Forget the crazy complicated stuff you see way too much of on social media. Start with the simplest (and, FYI, the best) movements: squat, lunge, deadlift, overhead press, press-ups, bent over row, bench press. These are all what we call compound exercises; they work lots of different muscles at once. In other words, you get plenty of bang for your buck. They're also pretty functional, meaning they are movement patterns that come up frequently in everyday life, so it's stuff that will be useful both in and out of the gym.
- Start light
Meet yourself where you're at. If you're a total beginner, please please please don't rush in to lifting heavy weights. Take your time to start reeeeal light (body weight where possible, empty barbell where not) and get your technique GREAT before you think about adding weight on. Not only will this keep you safe, but it will ensure you're getting the most benefit from your strength training. Don't be the person loading the bar heavy AF whilst moving like utter garbage; there's no glory (but plenty of injuries) to be had there.
- If you're unsure, seek guidance
Sometimes no amount of YouTube, Instagram or TikTok (?!) videos can get you moving perfectly when you're learning a totally new skill. If you're not sure, please seek guidance from a professional. Either seek someone out on the gym floor, or pay for a few sessions with a trainer so you can learn the basics before you skip off merrily into your heavy lifting happily ever after.
Looking for a personal trainer in Bristol or Weston-super-Mare? Get in touch and let's have a natter, shall we?