When starting a new diet or exercise routine, resistance training isn’t at the top of the to-do list for many women. Some don’t think it’s much fun, or even interesting, and some want to avoid adding bulky muscle mass.
If you’re new, and thinking about starting, here’s five things you should know about resistance training for women.
1) Getting Super Muscular Is Kind Of Hard
One of the primary reasons women will shy away from resistance training is because they don’t want to look like a man. Huge, veiny muscles isn’t something most women want.
The funny thing is, it’s really hard to get super muscular.
Even with the aid of testosterone, most guys have trouble adding significant muscle mass. You’re likely to get lean with noticeable muscle tone, but adding excessive muscle mass will be incredibly challenging for most women.
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2) Building Muscle Helps Burn Body Fat
Resistance training isn’t a cardiovascular exercise, so you’re not going to burn as many calories lifting weights as you would going for a run. So, it doesn’t burn body fat directly. What it will do, if you’re able to build some muscle, is increase your metabolic rate.
This will influence and increase the amount of daily calories your body burns each day. Every pound of muscle mass requires calories just to maintain. More muscle mass means you’ll burn more calories each day, even when you’re not exercising.
3) You Don’t Have To Use A Lot Of Weight
Resistance training will mean different things to different people. Powerlifters use a massive amount of weight because their primary goal is strength. Bodybuilders lift a moderate amount of weight and focus on muscle fatigue, because they’re primary goal is growth.
Athletes focus on performance and resistance training that will translate well to their sport.
What does reistance training mean to you, and what are your goals? Unless your goal is to compete in the next olympics, you don’t need to risk injury by trying to lift a lot of weight.
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4) The “No Pain, No Gain” Stuff
This is a very old school saying that gets applied to some very odd scenarios. Some people believe you need to punish yourself in the gym, and if you aren’t suffering you won’t improve. Others will literally use it as a mantra to continue lifting when they’re injured. I’m not joking, that happens.
So what does it mean? The most relevant application to the “no pain, no gain” saying is related to the soreness you feel after resistance training.
During your workouts your goal is to create microscopic tears in your muscle fibers to spur new growth. These tiny tears will create soreness, and influence your body to repair the damage with new muscle tissue while you sleep.
You don’t need to punish yourself, and you certainly don’t want to get injured. But you should feel noticeable soreness in the muscles you were just training the following day.
A few days of soreness is good, a few days of agonizing pain is bad.
5) Rest Is Equally Important
As mentioned above, your body will attempt to repair any muscle damage you created during your workout. A common mistake when beginning resistance training is to overtrain.
Your body needs time, and an opportunity, to repair muscle damage. If you continue to exercise a muscle group that is sore you’re robbing yourself of an opportunity to grow. Your muscles, when overtrained, will remain in a constant state of fatigue which can increase the risk of injury.
You may want to alternate specific muscle groups, instead of doing a whole body workout, so your muscles have time to rest and recover.
A common exercise routine you can build around:
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