In a woman’s world, strength training with weights has more misconceptions and myths than any other area of women’s fitness.
Basic Rules of Strength Training
- Whoever is lifting the weight, be it male or female, the old rule will apply. So let’s get the facts straight right now and move on:
- Heavier weights performed with less repetitions will build muscle mass.
- Lighter weights performed with more repetitions will build endurance and tone the muscle group worked without building mass.
The average woman will experience a 20 to 40 percent increase in strength when lifting weights after several consecutive months of resistance training.The same can be said for women who indulge in aerobic workout activities such as step classes, elliptical machines, and stationary bicycle or outdoor cycling. With aerobic exercise, increasing the height of the step or overload due to resistance will also encourage muscle mass to occur rather than tone the legs, resulting in a toned, lean look. True aerobic training in the form of running, race walking, and cardio classes at the gym will build your heart muscle, which is something we should all be concerned with at any age.
So How Do Women Build Muscle?
The true answer lies in our DNA. Our genetics have a large determining factor as to how we distribute our body fat and what ratio of estrogen to testosterone is in our body make-up. So, in a way we are already predisposed as to how our body responds to weight training and aerobic exercise in a certain way.
What Body Type Are You?
There are three classifications of body type for women:
Mesomorphs: Tend to be more muscular; this body type responds quickly to weight training and is more apt to gain muscle mass.
Ectomorphs: This body type tends to stay lean. Even with strength training, they are less likely to build any muscle mass, but will become stronger through lifting weights. Weight loss occurs more easily and they tend to not store body fat.
Endomorphs: This body type is more soft and round, often referred to as voluptuous. There must be a loss of body fat before this body type can see a difference in muscle tone due to strength training.
Research continues to prove that weight training is great for women. It builds body strength and helps to slow bone loss and osteoporosis in some cases. However, most women continue to avoid resistance training out of fear of developing large muscles and losing their femeninity.
No two bodies are alike it is important to remember that every woman will respond differently to the exact training routine. Never compare yourself to others you see at the gym. Focus on your individual results based on your age and body type. It’s not what you look like, but rather how exercise makes you feel and the quality of life it brings to you.