Weight Lifting for Women: Everything You Need to Know

Weight training has many benefits for women, yet only 20% of American women lift. Some myths and misconceptions keep women out of the weight room. However, lifting weights significantly impacts health and physique by increasing metabolism, and energy levels, improving body composition, and helping fight aging.

Key takeaways:
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    Most women should incorporate strength training into their exercise routine.
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    Lifting weights improves metabolism and body composition, boosts mood and energy, and helps fight disability due to aging.
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    Women should not fear heavy weights and should challenge themselves in the gym.

Weight training does wonders

The benefits of strength training are numerous, but here are the top three reasons women should lift weights:

  • Lifting weights increase metabolism and improve body composition. Data shows that 60% of American women want to lose weight, but they aren't aware of the enormous effect strength training has on fat loss. Incorporating weights and increasing muscle mass increases the resting metabolic rate — the number of calories one burns doing nothing. Research shows this increase averages 7% more calories burned. It’s also important to note that people look leaner and more toned when they increase muscle mass and decrease fat — even without losing weight.
  • Lifting weights helps maintain muscle and bone as we age. Age-related bone and muscle loss, known as osteoporosis and sarcopenia, contribute to disability, falls, and a loss of independence as we age. For example, without strength training, people can lose 1%-3% of their bone density yearly. Prioritizing strength training and increasing muscle mass can prevent osteoporosis and sarcopenia and improve quality of life in the long term.
  • Lifting weights increase confidence and boost mood. Mastering new exercises and progressively being able to lift more weight helps to build strength, competence, and confidence — that is a great feeling. Lifting weights also releases endorphins, the happy neurochemicals that lift mood and improve self-esteem.

Deconstructing the myths

The excellent news for women who do not want to turn into professional bodybuilders is that bulking — or intentionally gaining muscle — is a painstaking and labor-intensive process that takes months or even years to achieve. Getting "jacked" requires loads of persistent hard work, carefully tracked extra calories, and a consistently applied, well-planned weight program. Men gain muscle much easier due to their higher testosterone levels. One does not simply get massive by walking into the weight section of a gym.

Other strength myths allege that weight training is dangerous. However, the truth is that weightlifting causes significantly fewer injuries each year than running. Weight training has risks like any other athletic pursuit; newbies should get professional instruction. The most important thing is to perform the exercises with proper form at a challenging but safe weight.

Just get started

Whether new to weight training or coming back from a hiatus, prioritize strength training 2-4x per week for the best results. The benefits of weight training are numerous, and there has never been a better time to improve your health and become stronger and more confident.

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