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Women and the Weight Training Revolution

The epiphany and the problem

The Epiphany

Yes, yes and yes. It is bloody brilliant seeing more and more women understanding and wanting to lift heavier weights. Generally gone are the days of large numbers of women's thinking that weight training will make them bulky or into the incredible hulk. Women are now more confident and understand that lifting a couple of 1kg dumbbells for loads and loads of reps isn't the way forward and there are so many benefits to lifting heavier weights and developing lean muscle mass.

Epiphany- a sudden realisation of truth.

Challenging your body with heavy weights is a brilliant and effective way to get results, get strong, reduce body fat and change your body shape. If your a new to lifting weights then obviously just going straight into lifting heavy weights isn't a good idea. Would you run a half marathon... on your first run? No definitely not. You would approach it with small runs that you gently kept challenging yourself to run a little further. Do the same with weights, start moderate, ensure good form and gently keep challenging yourself to lift a little heavier. Now motivation is key to a lot of changes, so let me take your though some top reasons why you should join the revolution to motivate and encourage you to start lifting more weights.

Body Fat Burning

Studies have shown that the average woman who strength trains two to three times per week for two months will gain nearly 2lbs of muscle mass and will lose 3.5lbs of fat! As your lean muscle tissue increases so does your resting metabolism, meaning you burn more calories throughout the day. Generally speaking for every pound of muscle you can gain, you can burn 35-50 more calories in a day.

Change your body shape

Now as gain that muscle mass helps reduce your body fat and muscles develop more definition and size your body shape will change and you will maximise your natural body shape. Women's pear shaped bodies are maximised meaning clothes fit better, belly and visceral fat is reduced, and being physically stronger all helps boost self confidence. Lifting heavier weights can really deliver results for the body and the mind.

Decrease Your Risk of Osteoporosis

Research has found that weight training can increase spinal bone mineral density by 13% in six months. Obviously this needs to be coupled with good nutrition and adequate calcium and minerals in your diet. But good nutrition and weight training can be a woman's best defence against osteoporosis.

Its Never Too Late

Women in their 70s and 80s have built up significant strength through weight training and studies show that strength improvements are possible at any age. But its important to note that starting strength training in later life does carry greater risks of injury so its important to get a experienced and knowledgeable trainer to supervise and guide older participants.

The Problem

Now whilst we've had a quick look all the brilliant stuff weight training can do its time to highlight a major problem with women and weight training. Ladies you have fallen into the same trap at the men did (and still continue to do) and it can and will effect health, performance and lifestyle. Your choices with weight training is effecting your posture and unfortunately social media has to take the majority of the blame. So what am I going on about...

Muscles, imbalances and posture

Some quick fire facts.

1. Muscles work in pairs.

2. The balance between these pairs can effect posture and alignment of joints

3. Overwork or underwork a particular set of muscles and it can alter and realign your skeleton leading to poor posture and problems

The Trap

The trap the men fall into with weight training is generally ignoring muscle balance and over working particular muscles to the detriment of posture and joint position. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to know that lots of men like to over train their chest (the pectorals). International chest day, who can bench press the most bla bla bla can all lead to the chest muscles becoming stronger than their counterparts in the back. As a result the chest muscles slowly pull the shoulder joint forwards (pronation of the shoulder) which can lead to the mid spine (the thoracic region) moving forwards. Two common problems with this is a spinal defect called Kyphosis (A hunch back) and pain in the front and sometimes back of the shoulder leading to shoulder impingement (the bones that from the shoulder girdle not moving nicely).

 

So how have women fallen into this trap? Two words... the booty. Or if you like... the buttocks. Social trends has lead to women wanting a 'peachy' or 'thick' bum. Social media sites are full of videos of women showing how to maximise the bum with numerous glute exercises. This trend has lead to over developing one particular muscle, the glutes which is the equivalent of men over training their chest. Now ladies I hate to point this out, but overtraining your glutes can potentially lead to lower back pain, sometimes contribute to sciatic discomfort and develop a spinal defect called lordosis.

Ask yourself is she 'thick' or just suffering from lumber lordosis

Balance is the answer to the problem

Balance is a word I use a lot in fitness and this is no different when weight training. Think about how you approach your weight training so you train and work different muscle groups in different ways that should be contributing to good overall balance and promote good posture. Yes we need to train the glutes but we also need to make sure other muscles across the body have been put under some resistance. Now sometimes this is easier said than done and to complicate the matter some imbalances are actually needed (sport performance and improving poor biomechanics), so being well screened, having specific advice for you and support as you improve your strength training is vital, so don't be afraid to look out for a good trainer (like me) and get some pointers before you start.

If you're looking to get into weight training, why not give us a message at the studios to see if we can help or even book in for one of our Pump sessions and build some lean strong muscle.

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