Lifting heavy weights, not 1 or 2 KG weights, is not just for men and bodybuilders. There are several health benefits that women should take note of when it comes to lifting weights. And when we talk about heavy weights, heavy is all relative to the individual on their body weight, frame and ability.
Lifting heavy weights allows you to overload your muscles and recruiting the maximum amount of muscle fibers to generate enough force needed to move the heavy weight. And therefore making the body work harder during your workout. And in doing this, here are some important and interesting facts as to why lifting heavy weight and not the 2 KG dumb bells (that are lighter than most women’s hang bags that are carried around every day, so where is the resistance or challenge that you spend your gym membership to get?) So, for the health conscious, open minded women of today, please take note.
Recruiting more muscle fibers means that more oxygen is needed for those muscles to work. This means that the heart has to work harder and in turn means the heart gets stronger. This also then reduces the hearts resting heart rate, meaning it does not work as hard at rest and prolongs it’s life. It also increases the amount of good type of cholesterol in your body.
Strength training has been shown to help increase bone density and reduce the process that most women face, that of bones becoming brittle. Thus making older women more susceptible to fractures and falls. Women are more prone to osteoporosis due to their lighter frames.
As well as increasing bone density, weight lifting builds muscle strength which in turn strengthens joints, ligaments and tendons, reducing the risk of muscular skeletal injuries and osteoarthritis.
Lifting heavy will empower you and make you physically stronger, allowing you to perform daily tasks more easily, producing endorphins that lift your mood and help keep energy levels up. Women can lift heavy weights without ‘bulking’ and looking like Arnie! Women do not produce enough of the right hormones, namely testosterone needed to create hypertrophy (muscle growth) to really bulk up. What lifting heavy will do is reduce the amount of fat that you carry and leave you with more muscle definition, a more ‘toned’ look. Which leads me to my final point.
Although you won’t look like Arnie, you will build more muscle by lifting heavy, hence the increased strength etc. With more muscle you will have a faster metabolism and therefore burn more calories throughout the day. A weight training gym session is also more calorie economic as even after your workout you are still burning calories as the body is working hard to repair the muscle. Therefore you burn more fat which in turn leads to more muscle definition.
So why not try to incorporate 2 weight training sessions in to your work out week. Remember, ‘heavy’ refers to heavy for you. So you should aim to lift between 70 and 80% of your maximum for 8-10 reps and 3-4 sets. High intensity means less rest periods as well. So try this for 8 weeks twice a week and you will be amazed by the results. You will also need to be incorporating a balanced diet also for the best results.