- 8th March 2018
- By Matthew Fever
Today is International Women’s Day and I have had a very productive day working with some amazing ladies.
Today was a great example of how trends in fitness have begun to change gradually over time. As I worked with my clients in the gym this morning, it was clear to see that the free weights area was almost dominated by ladies lifting weights! When I first began coaching back in 2001, it was a rare sight to see females lifting – nowadays it seems strength training is enjoying some new popularity.
Often the main focus with weight training is to build a better body and improve body shape. Whilst this is certainly an advantage, there are many other benefits that don’t receive nearly as much attention. Here are just some of the benefits to be had if you are visiting the weight room on a frequent basis:
- Increased bone density
- Decreased risk of osteoporosis
- Improved posture
- Increased metabolic rate
- Reduction in the risk of injury
- Increased confidence
- Reduced stress
These days there are an increasing number of women who are working, balancing family life and trying to live up to the social pressures of looking a certain way. Time in the gym is limited and often comes at a cost taking women away from family, work, studies etc. It is important that the time in the gym is well spent. The fitness industry is still very ‘cardio heavy’ with an emphasis on elliptical trainers, cycling classes, running events etc. Whilst these things have their merit, I am yet to meet a woman who couldn’t dramatically improve their overall fitness through simply being a little stronger. From my experience, the big changes take place in the weights room.
I have also had the opportunity to work with a number of older trainees, many female, and my experiences have shown that you can indeed continue to get stronger well into your later years. The body will continue to adapt to strength training despite the fact that you may have had a few too many birthdays. You just need to get started on the right programme!
My advice to all ladies is to get strength training, no matter your age. It won’t make you bulky (cupcakes make you bulky) or less feminine, but I guarantee you will feel the benefit of being stronger. Focus on the basic movements such as the squat, press, deadlift and heavy pulls like chin ups, rows or pull downs. Learn correct form. Follow an intelligent programme. Aim for linear progression gradually over time.
If entering into the weight room is a barrier and feels intimidating, do your best to overcome this by training with a friend, booking a session with a trainer or simply looking at what you can do in the areas of the gym that you feel comfortable.