Weight Training for Women: Facts You Need to Know

by Jodee on November 12, 2010

Cardiovascular exercise for heart health is an important part of getting and staying fit, but women shouldn’t ignore weight training as a way to help them meet their goals of having a strong, healthy body.

Fear of Bulking Up

One of the major reasons women shy away from deciding to work out with free weights or use an exercise machine like a treadmill or a stairclimber is that they are afraid of bulking up. Incorporating weight training into your exercise machine won’t make you look like The Hulk; instead, it helps you to develop lean muscle.

Men build muscle when they use weights due to the higher level of testosterone in their bodies. Women have some of this hormone in their system, but not enough that they will develop muscle in the way that a man does.

Women who are working out with weights should keep the number of sets low. Doing four or five sets per muscle group with seven or eight reps per set will give you a great workout without overstraining.

Concern About Free Weights

Women can definitely use free weights when working out. This option gives a better range of movement than you would get if you were using an exercise machine. If your goal is to work your muscles more efficiently, then incorporate free weights into your routine.

Exercise machines are a safer choice if you have been injured in the past or you are new to working out. The range of movement available with a machine is controlled, and as long as you are using a weight that is challenging without being too heavy, the risk of injury is low.

To get started with free weights, book a session or two with a personal trainer. He or she can suggest some exercises for you to start with, as well as the right level of weights to use.

Stick with It

You can go to the gym, consult with a personal trainer and make a plan for working out with weights. It won’t do you any good if you don’t stick to it. Start slowly, with relatively light weights and make sure you give your body at least one rest day in between strength training sessions. In addition to building strength and conditioning your heart, remember that exercise can lower triglycerides and cholesterol too.

Weight training for women can help you to build lean muscle and improve your appearance. The changes won’t happen overnight, but if you stick to your routine, you will start to see results within the first few weeks. This early success will motivate you to continue with this important part of getting and staying fit.

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