Women in the Weight Room: What You Need to Know!

By Lauren Heap, CPT, Senior Fitness Specialist

In the gym, women often gravitate towards cardio machines and neglect the weight room. While being a cardio queen is impressive, there are many misconceptions about weight lifting for women.

So, we’re here to clear up some myths and encourage women to incorporate strength training into their workout routines.

Women in the Weight Room; Woman performing deadlift; Strength training

Busting Strength Training Myths

Let’s start with some common sayings that fitness specialists hear often:

  • If women lift, they will get bulky like men
  • Frequently doing crunches gets rid of belly fat
  • The way to weight loss is cardio

We’ve seen these claims time and time again with the promise of fast results, but the truth is if you want to get lean, lose stubborn body fat, and turn your body into a calorie-torching machine, you need to pick up weight lifting.

It’s important to understand that strength training does not make women bulky. Instead, it strengthens your muscles. Now, if you pump yourself full of testosterone and eat way more calories than you burn every day, sure, you could get bulkier, but ultimately, it is not part of female genetic makeup to “bulk up” naturally.

In fact, gaining muscle strength helps you burn more calories during your rest periods because muscle burns more calories than fat.

As women age, they are at greater risk of osteoporosis, which means bones become more brittle and prone to fractures, but strength training decreases such risk. Other benefits include:

  • Increases metabolism
  • Improves balance and posture
  • Decreases back pain
  • Enhances mood
  • Reduces stress

Strength Training Aids Your Everyday Movement

Do you dread lugging that heavy box of holiday decorations up and down the stairs each year in fear of a painful back injury?

Strength training is a vital component for building a healthier physique and stronger tissue structures so you can tackle daily tasks like picking up trash, carrying a stack of plates, or lifting heavy objects.

The weight room is where you can start to practice everyday movements through functional exercises so you can safeguard your body and joints from harm. Conversely, if you wonder why you haven’t seen the results you want, like toned legs or “celebrity arms,” it’s possible that you might not be lifting weights correctly.

But, before you pick up those three-pound weights and perform 20+ reps, use weights that stimulate your muscles, so you’re fighting gravity with every lift while keeping your mind engaged. Do 8-12 repetitions with good form.

If you are new to strength training and eager to learn more about developing a comprehensive fitness routine that includes strength training, with no weights necessary, sign up for our eight-week virtual Women on Weights Series One in January 2021! Learn more and sign up here.

Anschutz Health and Wellness Center