Strength Training For Women: Should Women Aim To Be Strong?
This is a really important discussion because strength and size are often confused by women, even men.
Strength is not correlated with body size. In other words, the stronger you get, you don’t have to grow in size. This does happen to a point, because eventually you will need more mass to get stronger.
But if you don’t drastically increase your calories to build that new mass, then you will not increase your body size.
That was a mouthful!
Essentially, it’s important to know that how strong you are is not related to you getting bigger in body size.
Now that’s been put to pasture, how can you strength train?
The Rules Of Strength Training For Women
Rule 1: Start With Your Body Size
If you are thinking of picking up weights, forget about it. Start with your body and get strong there first.
- Can you do 10 pushups in great form?
- Can you do 10 over hand pull-ups in great form?
- Can you do 50 bodyweight squats?
I can keep going. These are your initial litmus test in strength. I personally think that bodyweight is vastly underrated when it comes to increasing strength.
To get started the best way, join Fit Women’s Weekly. It starts you out with bodyweight and that will get you really strong. You can then move to free weights.
Step 2: Get Into Free Weights
This is a big step. Free weights open up a whole new world of working out.
I have been training for over 10 years personally. I mean me actually going to the gym consistently. To this day I use a mix of bodyweight exercises and weights to get the workout I want done.
The key with increasing strength using actual weights is to fatigue your muscles. There are a number of ways to do this.
- You can use a lighter weight and keep doing reps until you can’t anymore.
- You can use trial and error to find a weight that will allow you to do so many reps before you can’t do another one.
Both of these are used quite regularly.
A couple things to be aware of when you get into free weights.
- Form: Form is so important, but if you started with bodyweight workouts, you should be a pro at good form.
- Don’t use machines: Machines should not be used. They restrict movement to one plane of motion. This eliminates secondary muscle use. However a machine can be used to help with imbalance, but that is a much bigger topic.
- Know your limits: Make sure you know your limits of weight and skill. You’ll improve really fast but it’s so important in the beginning not to push too hard.
Step 3: Get Intense
Make sure you get really intense when you workout. It doesn’t matter if you are going with bodyweight workouts or free weights, you need to kick up the intensity.
This is hard to do on a consistent basis. It’s hard because it takes so much mental strength as well to push yourself. Just keep trying has much as you can. It’s the key to seeing strength increases.
Always be trying to do one more rep or adding more weight. As you push your neuromuscular system to new levels, it will have to respond by making you stronger.
WARNING: Don’t Do This!
One thing of warning… Don’t workout everyday or too much.
As you get into a program like Fit Women’s Weekly or something else you really enjoy, it can be alluring to workout more and more.
The thought process is if you workout more, you’ll see faster results. However, this is not the case.
Three days a week of structured workout programs with off days for running, interval training, and isolated work on individual body parts.
I’ll explain that more in another article.