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Resistance training, also known as Strength training has so many benefits for women. I really wanted to use my platform to show you how great resistance training can be for you, your body, and your health.
What is resistance training?
Resistance training is essentially an exercise where you use resistance, either through bodyweight, dumbbells, resistance bands/loops, or machines to build muscle.
What are some benefits of resistance training for women
There really are so many benefits to resistance training.
One benefit of resistance training is that it decreases fat mass, including abdominal fat. One of the biggest complaints I hear from clients is about belly fat. Belly fat is a huge problem for lots of women. Harvard Women’s Health Watch even published a study in 2018 that said women are more at risk for heart-related problems than men when they carry additional fat in their belly.
Another benefit of RT is that it enhances insulin sensitivity. When insulin sensitivity is poor, insulin resistance occurs. When insulin resistance occurs, your cells stop (or are not as good at) responding to the hormone insulin, which means the body has to produce more and could lead to type 2 diabetes.
This is also really important for women who have PCOS (like me) also known as polycystic ovarian syndrome. Women with PCOS are often insulin resistant, this is why I have found that many women with PCOS respond well to resistance training. (Make sure to talk with your doctor before starting a workout program).
Another benefit of RT is improved glucose tolerance. Glucose tolerance is essentially our body’s ability to dispose of glucose. The opposite of improved glucose tolerance is glucose INtolerance, which leads to prediabetes, then to diabetes if not corrected.
RT can also help lower blood pressure values and can maintain or even increase bone mineral density (increased bone density = better bone strength!)
A personal benefit for me is that RT enhances my mood. There is nothing I love more than heading out to my gym (garage LOL) with my pink Target headphones and just lifting.
So why don’t more women lift?
The main reason I hear from women about why they do not lift weights is they don’t want to look manly or masculine. LISTEN UP LADIES, you will not get bulky, we simply do not have the same amount of testosterone that men do. Lifting helps us become lean and strong!
How much resistance training is enough?
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, resistance training should be done 2-3 times a week by performing 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps with good form. (No garbage reps!)
You should perform 8-10 multi-joint exercises that stress the major muscle groups (think chest, back, legs, glutes, biceps, and triceps). Lift in a controlled manner, up for two counts and down for two counts. It should be challenging and the last rep should be difficult.
You will want to hit what we like to call progressive overload if you want to continue to see results. What this means is that you will need to progress with the amount of weight that you use as time goes on. Let’s say you start out doing squats with 10-pound weights and this is difficult for you. But by week 3 or 4 you find that 10 pounds are not as difficult as it used to be, try bumping up to 12s or 15s and see how it feels. Again keep in mind, the last rep should be difficult.
Always practice good form, poor form leads to injury and wasted time.
For more from the American College of Sports Medicine and resistance training check them out here.
There are truly so many benefits to lifting weights or preforming resistance training. Decreasing fat mass (including stubborn belly fat), enhancing insulin sensitivity, improving glucose tolerance, reducing blood pressure, increasing bone density, and improving mood just to name some good ones.
There are so many ways to get started. Get set up with a personal trainer, either in the gym or online. But always make sure you talk to your doctor to ensure you are healthy enough to start a resistance training routine.
What benefits about resistance training intrigue or encourage you the most?
Also make sure you are following me over on IG at Barbaracaseyfitness to see my journey with resistance training and find out when I open up my online coaching!!