Five Reasons Women Should Strength Train
Special to the NNPA from The Chicago Defender | 9/6/2013, 1:26 p.m.
Most women fear lifting because of the possibility of “bulking up.” But not only should you lift weights, but you should lift more—heavy lifting is in ladies!
Why on Earth is that, you ask? Here are five reasons why it may be worth your while to make this change. And no, lifting like a dude won’t make you look like one.
1. You’ll Lose Belly Fat
While it is true that you can’t spot reduce—your body is born with pre-conceived places it wants to store fat—a University of Alabama study found that the women who lifted weights lost more intra-abdominal fat (deep belly fat) than those who just did cardio. This not only helps you lose your belly pooch and look better in a bikini, but it also lessens your risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and some cancers.
You may have been told that cardio is the ultimate fat burner, but that effect stops the minute you hop off the treadmill. Build more muscle and you’ll keep your body burning fat all day long. According to one study, adding just two sessions per week of heavy lifting can reduce your body fat by three percent without cutting calories.
Another study from the University of Alabama in Birmingham showed that dieters who lifted heavy weights lost the same amount of weight as dieters who did just cardio, but all the weight lost by the weight lifters was primarily fat while the cardio queens lost a lot of muscle along with some fat. And more muscle, less fat translated to smaller clothing sizes than their less muscular counterparts.
2. You’ll Prevent Injury
Achy hips and sore knees don’t have to be a staple of your morning run. Strengthening the muscles surrounding and supporting your joints can help prevent injuries by helping you maintain good form, as well as strengthening joint integrity.
3. You’ll Fight Osteoporosis
The key to this one is consistency, as research has shown that lifting heavy weights over time not only maintains bone mass but can even build new bone, especially in the high-risk group of post-menopausal women.
4. You’ll Look More Defined
Love the lean, defined muscles on super-fit ladies? If women want more definition, they should lift heavier since they cannot get bigger muscles because of low testosterone levels. So, lifting heavier has the potential to make women more defined.
5. You’ll Burn More Calories
You may burn more calories during your 1-hour cardio class than you would lifting weights for an hour, but a study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that women who did weight training burned an average of 100 more calories during the 24 hours after their training session ended.
And the effect is magnified when you increase the weight, as explained in a study in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Women who lifted more weight for fewer reps (85 percent of their max load for 8 reps) burned nearly twice as many calories during the two hours after their workout than when they did more reps with a lighter weight (45 percent of their max load for 15 reps).