Traditionally, strength training for women has not been exactly a mainstream idea. Most people don’t really find muscled women all that appealing, and many women don’t engage in strength training because they’re afraid that they’ll look like a female version of the Incredible Hulk.
Strength Training for Women: End the Double-Standards
Even in the Olympics, this double standard has endured, and it was only in the 2000 Sydney Olympics that women’s weightlifting was included.
Like strength training for men, there isn’t a single program out there that’s perfect for every woman. But the best strength training programs for women will have the following features:
- Heavy weights. This is perhaps the most important aspect of them all. Regardless of what you hear about strength training for women, lifting heavy weights does not cause massive muscles. Most women who do get those large muscles consume a lot of calories for that very purpose, and they probably take a lot of protein supplements as well. Since strength training is about tearing muscle fiber, those puny 5 pound weights are virtually useless. Women really need to lift weights which feel heavy for them, so that the workout becomes effective.
- Variety. The body adapts to exercises, so you need to challenge it in different ways so that it doesn’t stop progressing. There’s also the extra benefit that having varied workouts may prevent you from getting bored.
- During the first few months, you may want to start with the basic exercises. These involve barbells dumbbells or Kettlebells, but don’t get intimidated. These exercises are the power clean, deadlift, squat, overhead press, and the bench press.
- Some of these may have different versions for women. Once you master these, you may want to look into several different versions of each of these exercises.
- Kettlebell One Arm Clean
- Kettlebell Deadlift
- Decline Bench Press
- Dumbbell Leg Exercises – Squat
- Kettlebell Push Press
- Compensate for your weakness. Everyone, men and women alike, has weaknesses. While it can be exhilarating to improve all your strengths, it’s imperative that you work on your weaknesses. You’re only as strong as your weakest point. For women, the most notable weaknesses are the inner and outer thighs (which pros call the hip adductors and abductors), the mid to upper back, the shoulders, and the triceps. You overcome these weaknesses by doing some exercises that target these specific areas.
- Motivation. A lot of women admit to quitting, since there’s a subliminal atmosphere of disapproval about women lifting weights. So work with people who want to see you succeed in order for you to always have the motivation to push forward.
Contrary to popular belief, strength training is important for women as well. It’s not just political correctness, but common sense.