Women may have often been told that lifting heavy weight is bad for them, that it will somehow lead to excess bulk, and provide little to no benefit for a “delicate female figure”. Now, take that suggestion and forget about it forever.
The truth is that women obtain just as much benefit, if not more, from practicing resistance training and, once you begin your own journey, you’ll soon find out that behind the façade of false claims and fearmongering, there lies an opportunity to build strength, both physically and mentally.
In this article, I’m going to discuss 5 distinct benefits that you’ll get when you realize that resistance training is the best route to take along your fitness journey.
Strength: Physical & Mental
Obviously, one of the first adaptations to resistance training is improving strength. While many people attribute this increase of strength to getting big and bulky, this isn’t always the case.
To a certain extent strength does rely on the size of the muscle, but it’s also largely regulated by your nervous system. Essentially, strength depends on how potently, frequently and how quickly a message can be sent from the brain to the muscle.
When you exercise with resistance, this is one of the first benefits to occur. By resistance training on a regular basis, you’ll make the process of sending a message to your muscle much more efficient, which will lead to improved strength. The best part of this process is that you can improve with little risk of becoming bulky.
Apart from the physical changes, you’ll also become much stronger mentally. In addition to learning to deal with pain, you’ll also improve mental resilience, since you’ll need to formulate a smart, effective plan and apply determination to stick to it, plus, you’ll probably need to deal with some setbacks, which can prove difficult.
When you begin resistance training, you’ll begin to understand what sort of effort is required for truly changing your body and there are few things in this world that will benefit you mentally like overcoming the tremendous obstacle of achieving a better body and strength.
Bottom Line: Resistance training isn’t always about getting big and bulky. When you train with weights, you’ll increase strength, both physically and mentally by putting forth tremendous effort, while also effectively dealing with setbacks.
More Tone & Definition
One of the most paradoxical arguments I often hear against weight training is that it makes a woman big and bulky, rather than improving tone and definition.
While weight training does in fact provide an opportunity to increase bulk and size, it’s far more likely that your resistance training protocol will improve tone and definition. In effect, it can provide you with everything you want.
Truth is, “toning” your muscle is a bit of a misnomer. What everyone is hoping for actually, is improved definition of the muscle, which, if you didn’t know, comes at the hand of reducing body fat and increasing muscle mass.
This is the major issue with the idea that resistance training will make you bulky. In order to improve muscle definition, you either have to reduce body fat, to make the muscle more visible, increase the size of the muscle to overcome the top layer of body fat, or some combination of both.
While many people fear the bulk, it’s far more likely that by using resistance training occasionally, you’ll improve the size of the muscle slightly (not drastically as many believe) and you’ll also probably lose some body fat around those target muscle groups.
Overall, if you’re actually interested in getting more tone and definition, resistance training is the most efficient route to take, since it has the ability to provide calorie burn for fat loss while also promoting improved muscle definition.
Bottom Line: If you’re hoping to tone your muscles and make them more defined, you shouldn’t be avoiding resistance training. In fact, you should make it your primary source of exercise. Just know that in order to be bulky, you need to put forth tremendous effort and women, particularly, would probably need some additional hormonal help too.
Increased Bone Resilience
This is one of the more important benefits of weight training, since osteoporosis is such a prevalent issue for women.
Weight training is actually one of the first lines of defense against bone disease, primarily because it helps encourage bone reinforcement to make them stronger and more resilient when placed in situations that might break bone.
When you place the bone under stress at the hand of using weight, such as during a back squat, if you have enough weight, it actually causes bone to bend. While that might sound dangerous, it’s actually quite beneficial.
When the bone bends to a certain degree, this actually initiates a process where cells known as osteoblasts migrate to the area of the bone that’s bending. In response, these cells help reinforce the bone, making it stronger and more resilient.
When this occurs, it essentially ensures that, when placed under similar stress in future, the bone will not bend as much. This is essentially a first line of defense against diseases that are due to bone loss.
Bottom Line: Resistance training can lead to bone bending, which initiates the growth process of bone to make it more resilient to similar stress in the future. This is a first line of defense against primarily female-specific diseases such as osteoporosis.
One of my favorite benefits of resistance training is that you’ll improve self-awareness, pretty much across the board.
First of all, resistance training helps you create a stronger mind-muscle connection. This is essentially having a better awareness of each of the main muscle groups that you’ll work with. For example, can you preferentially flex your lat muscle alone?
While being able to flex certain muscles seems fairly arbitrary, it allows you to have a better connection and overall control of distinct muscles and the whole body. This can improve not only how you feel when active but it can also help you better recognize when you may be prone to an injury or even help you avoid one.
Second, you’ll simply have a better idea of what makes your body respond and what isn’t exactly best for you. You’ll begin to understand just what type of exercise is beneficial for you from a mental and physical standpoint.
Third, this increase of body awareness will simply help you perform better in just about any activity. By improving your self-awareness and connection with your body, you’ll be able to manipulate your body in ways that you would not have been able to do previously.
Overall, resistance training will help you differentiate individual body parts, which will improve your ability to use your body as a whole.
Bottom Line: While most think resistance training just builds muscle, it also helps improve self-awareness, providing better control over your muscles and the entire body as a whole.
An Appreciation For Effort & Hard Work
I’ve found over the years that resistance training has the ability to teach us all about putting forth effort into the right outlets and how doing so can allow us to reach the goals we desire.
In a world of instant gratification, most are scared or unwilling to put forth the necessary effort, which is required to actually achieve the body we all so desire.
When you begin a resistance training program, and stick to it, you will actually begin to see the results you desire. Then you can both understand what is necessary as well as appreciate that you are capable of making the changes you desire, if you put forth the necessary effort.
Bottom Line: Resistance training teaches us that putting forth effort and hard work into the right outlets can help us achieve what we all so badly desire. Don’t fall into the trap of instant gratification and end up abandoning your efforts, when the reward doesn’t happen overnight.
5 Distinct Benefits Obtained From Resistance Training
Even though you’ve been told you shouldn’t lift weights, I think it’s becoming quite clear that if you hope to successfully change your body, you should begin resistance training.
Not to mention, there are tremendous benefits, both physical and mental, that you’ll receive from resistance training which you simply won’t find elsewhere. It’s my hope that you can be convinced of resistance training’s far-reaching benefits and begin to reap the fruits of your labor.