Looking to lose weight and feel great? While cardio and eating right are certainly important to boosting your fitness level, many women are missing out on a major part of the equation, strength training. Here’s a closer look at why strength training matters so much, along with five top strength training exercises for women.
Building Strength…and Beyond
When it comes to building and preserving lean muscle mass, strength training is a girl’s best friend. However, this is far from the only benefit of strength training. In fact, strength training comes with a number of other advantages, including increasing bone density for the development of strong bones, increasing the metabolism for more efficient calorie burning, improving your ability to perform everyday activities, and managing the signs and symptoms of chronic conditions. Research indicates that strength training may even improve brain function!
The takeaway? If you’ve been logging hours at the gym on the treadmill or Stairmaster without implementing strength training into your workout routine, you may be missing out on major opportunities to enhance your overall health and wellness.
Brad Schoenfeld, an assistant professor of exercise science at New York City’s Lehman College, recently told Time: “To me, resistance training is the most important form of training for overall health and wellness….When we add strength…almost every health outcome improves. It used to be we thought of strength training as something for athletes, but now we recognize it as a seminal part of general health and well-being at all ages.”
Five Strength Training Moves
While free weights, resistance tubing, and weight machines are all strength training techniques, body weight exercises are also effective — and require no special equipment. (They do, however, require proper form — both to optimize safety and results. Sign up for a personal trainer session today for technique tips and more.) Wondering where to get started when it comes to strength training? Add these five strength training exercises two to three days a week to amp up your fitness routine.
This lower body exercise performed with a dumbbell builds leg strength while also working out the shoulders and core. The result? Better posture and hip mobility.
2. The Band Row
This exercise uses a resistance band, a sturdy object (like a doorknob), and pulling movement to strengthen muscles in the back, core, and arms.
3. The Pushup
The trusty pushup is proof positive that you don’t need complicated equipment to put strength training to work for you.
Looking for a strength training move that puts a premium on functional fitness? Look no further than the overhead press which carries over to a breadth and depth of other sports — not to mention the activities of everyday life.
Targeting the abs and obliques, this variation on the crunch helps you get a toned, flat stomach while building key core strength.
One last thing to keep in mind? If the mention of strength training still makes you think of beefy bodybuilders pumping iron in the hopes of one day looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger, it’s time to set those fears aside. As fitness expert Wini Linguvic said in a WebMD Live interview, “Women don’t have the testosterone to get big muscles. Even if they lifted heavy weights, it’s pretty hard to look like Arnold. Actually, it’s pretty hard for most guys to look like Arnold.”
Ready to start seeing the benefits of strength training for yourself? Sign up for a trial pass at Brick Bodies today.