Weight Lifting in Women – Myths Debunked
Weight lifting has been for a long time a discipline limited to men and not many women are open to idea of real, heavy lifting.
Women tend to like cardio more than strength training and reach weight loss plateaus, risk of injury from over training and loss of muscle mass. Women take longer than men to lose weight which seems unfair, but have an impeccable physiological reasoning and more over we have no control over gender differences.
Men have significantly more muscle, about 10-20% more. The science is simple, more the muscle, more calories you are burning at rest because of the metabolically active muscle. Women have higher levels of estrogen which works to retain and store fat in a woman’s body, making only harder to lose weight. Women also feel they are working harder than men who are working at the same level of intensity due to the smaller lung capacity in comparison to men, therefore lowering their exercise tolerance.
Exercise! No doubt is the most important tool for weight loss. Just random exercise is insufficient, but a structured balanced cardio and strength training is the way forward to reach your goals. Women skip strength training because they are afraid they will bulk up and doesn’t help in weight loss.
A strength training regime has benefits that go beyond the benefits of effect of cardio training. Other than increased fat metabolism during and several hours after workout, a strength regime will lead to building muscle which will in turn result in more endurance and flexibility, reduced pressure and load on weight bearing joints, increased Calcium deposition of the weight bearing bones which are prone to degeneration due to aging and higher energy levels throughout the day.
Common Myths among women-
- Concerned it will build bulky muscles
- It won’t help with weight loss.
- Feeling intimidated by the weight room
- Not knowing where to start
- It only benefits men
Weight training in women WILL NOT RESULT in bulking up, because women don’t have enough endogenous testosterone to aid in muscle hypertrophy, rather it will increase muscle tone and help in looking leaner aesthetically along with the other benefits. Strength training doesn’t necessarily mean having to lift dumbells, body weight exercises are a great place to start, or modify household items if you are not ready to invest in a set of dumbells. It is best to begin a strength training regime under professional supervision of a sports scientist who can guide you with the perfect form and technique and minimizing the risk of injury.
Women can benefit from different approach with focused strength workout 1-2 times a week or a circuit training 1-2 times a week with a modified cardio session incorporated.
Dr. Atwar Hussain,
M.B.B.S, Msc. SEM (UK) ,Dip. SEM(IOC), Dip. SEM (FIFA).
Sports and Exercise Physician
YOS Sports Health Specialists