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Strength Training: Myths for Women Debunked

“I don’t use weights because I don’t want to bulk up”, “I shouldn’t lift anything over 5 lbs.”, “Doing cardio alone will help me lose weight”. Sound familiar? These are some phrases women often use to discourage themselves from engaging in strength training exercises. There is a great deal of confusion and misinformation about whether strength training can be beneficial to women. Next time you hear one of these myths being broadcasted, use the information below to challenge their veracity...

Strength Training: Myths for Women Debunked

I don’t use weights because I don’t want to bulk up”, “I shouldn’t lift anything over 5 lbs.”, “Doing cardio alone will help me lose weight”. Sound familiar? These are some phrases women often use to discourage themselves from engaging in strength training exercises. There is a great deal of confusion and misinformation about whether strength training can be beneficial to women. Next time you hear one of these myths being broadcasted, use the information below to challenge their veracity.

Myth #1: Using weights will make me bulky!

Testosterone is generally to blame for the bulkiness of muscles. Since women have significantly less of this hormone compared to men, it’s unlikely that they would be able to create enormous bulges.

Myth 2: Cardio alone will help me burn fat.

Cardio exercise is extremely helpful in maintaining a healthy heart. But when it comes to burning the most calories, you want to build muscle via strength training exercises. Muscle burns the most calories and increases your metabolism. Lifting weights allows your muscles to be broken down and then built back up—a process that takes energy and calories to accomplish.

Myth 3: Using weights could lead to injuries.

Strength training can also be used as a preventative measure to avoid injuries. Strength training is also helpful in improving balance and protecting your joints. In order to slow down the inevitable 10% decline in strength every decade, consider strength training.

Stumped on what type of strength training exercises to engage in? Here are a few examples:

► Try to find exercises that work multiple muscles as the same time instead of individual ones. Examples include squats, lunges, and push-ups. More calories are burned when you target multiple muscles instead of just one.

► Pilates (especially Reformer Pilates): Utilizing the Pilates reformer can provide resistance to develop muscle strength. Many Pilates moves focus on building core strength and working multiple muscle groups. Try incorporating free weights or weighted balls into Pilates mat classes.

► Traditional weight lifting: Aim for two sessions a week of weight lifting. Before jumping into a deadlift or any other free weight activity, it’s important that you engage in a warmup to get your body ready. Examples include walking or jogging for 5 to 10 minutes and then doing a series of lunges. Be mindful of correct form during a weight lifting session. Some popular exercises include the dumbbell chest press, seated shoulder press, hip thrust, deadlift, and seated bicep curl.

 


REFERENCES

1. https://www.rd.com/health/fitness/6-strength-training-myths-for-women-debunked/

Jessica Young LCSW, MSW
“Health is wealth”, a mantra Jessica’s mother regularly repeated throughout her childhood. Jessica values achieving balance and wholeness in both arenas of mental and physical health. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a practicing mental health therapist, Jessica promotes healthy living, self-care, mindfulness, and above all, kindness towards self.