Here's what you need to know...
- Women can do sets of 5 closer to their 1RM than men. Females can do a higher amount of reps using a higher percentage of their max than males.
- Women can do more eccentric work (negatives) when fatigued. Even after concentric failure, women can continue doing negatives.
- Women can PR with less than perfect technique. Even using less than optimal form, women can perform a 1RM.
- Women require less rest between sets. Women can recover faster between sets than men.
- Women can train heavier more frequently than men. They get less sore, they recover faster, and they can deal with more frequent exposures to a training stress.
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- Inactive adults experience a 3 to 8 percent loss of muscle mass per decade. Resistance training may increase resting metabolism by about 7 percent and help minimize muscle loss.
- A regular strength training program helps you reduce body fat and burn calories more efficiently, which can result in healthy weight loss.
- Strength training helps preserve and enhance your muscle mass and bone mass, regardless of your age.
What’s an activity that can help women stay strong, burn calories, and build healthy bones? Strength training. Before you say “no thanks” to weights, take some time to challenge your preconceptions and learn about the importance of strength training for women.
In a 2011 opinion poll reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), less than 20 percent of women contacted said they accomplished the CDC’s recommendations for 2 1/2 hours of aerobic exercise and two periods of strength training weekly. Yet the benefits speak for themselves. Inactive adults experience a 3 to 8 percent loss of muscle mass per decade. Resistance training may increase resting metabolism by about 7 percent and help minimize muscle loss.
What’s more, when you strength train, you get more calorie-torching bang for your buck. Working with weights keeps your body working long after you’ve stopped lifting. This is the process commonly called “after-burn.” There is much talk in exercise circles about the body’s ability to continue burning calories after exercise, called “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption,” or EPOC. A study reported by the University of New Mexico (UNM) reports that the body takes between 15 minutes and 48 hours to return to a resting state after exercise. This means you can continue burning calories after you exercise. The UNM study reports that the intensity of the workout has the most effect on how long the after-burn effect lasts.
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Many women miss out on the benefits of strength training out of fear of developing bulging muscles. This is a misconception. According to the Women’s Heart Foundation, high levels of estrogen make it very difficult for women to become overly muscular. When women lift weights, the changes to their muscles are generally related to tone, strength, and endurance rather than size. The resulting look is firm, feminine toning, not bulky masculine muscles.
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Strength training is a key component of overall health and fitness, and it provides an important balance to aerobic workouts. The Mayo Clinic counts the following among the many benefits of strength training.
Preserves muscle mass
Muscle mass diminishes with age. You can counteract this loss through strength training. The percentage of fat on your body increases as you get older if you don’t do anything to replace the lean muscle you lose. Strength training helps preserve and enhance your muscle mass, regardless of your age.
A regular strength training program helps you increase lean body mass and burn calories more efficiently, which can result in healthy weight loss.
Reduces risk of osteoporosis
Because of hormonal changes that women experience as they get older, they naturally lose bone density, putting them at increased risk for developing osteoporosis. Routinely lifting weights slows bone deterioration and can help your bones grow stronger, help you maintain strength, and reduce your chance of developing — or slow the effects of — osteoporosis.
Decreases injury risk
When you build muscle, you help protect your joints from injury and increase your balance and coordination. This becomes increasingly important to help you maintain your independence as you age.