It’s no secret that weight lifting is a healthy habit. Men are more likely to participate in weight lifting, even though women could benefit from this type of physical activity too. The National Center for Health Statistics found that, on average, only about 20% of women lift weights regularly.
Weight lifting has many health benefits that far surpass just doing simple cardio movements. For this reason, it’s also recommended that women partake in weight-lifting exercises. Even the slightest amount of weight-bearing movement can help aid in weight loss, stress management, hormonal control, and boost metabolism.
So, if weight lifting is healthy for women, why don’t more women do it? I think the answer to that question is that they just don’t know how or where to start. So, if you’re a female looking to add more weight training to your exercise program, here are 6 top weightlifting techniques for women to help you get started.
Mentally Prepare Yourself for Training
The first step to successfully completing any type of program is to be mentally prepared to handle it. Women are oftentimes overthinkers, and our brains work harder than our muscles 90% of the time. So naturally, the process of strength training will start in our brains.
Mentally process what it is you want to achieve with strength training, and then envision yourself completing it. Next, think through the set of exercises you will be completing for the day and mentally walk through it as if you’re at the gym completing it right now.
This is a process called Visualization. Visualization helps promote motivating factors in your brain and turns your mindset into a goal-oriented mindset, making you far more likely to follow through with your plan to start weight training.
The term periodization refers to the planned programming of a workout routine that schedules changes in weights, reps, and exercises over time. Women benefit from a weight training regime focusing on periodization because it helps our bodies recover without skipping a day in the gym.
An example of periodization would be starting with a weight you can comfortably do 8-12 reps with on any given exercise. After about a week or two of doing that, switch it up and reduce the weight, but do a higher number of reps.
The main goal of the periodization technique in training is to focus on proper form while completing the exercises while also increasing intensity. With the combination of both form and intensity, this is how you see results.
High-Intensity Interval Training with Weights
HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) is known for being one of the most efficient ways to burn fat and lose weight quickly. Although these types of workouts can be done using just your body weight, if you have at-home fitness equipment such as dumbbells or resistance bands, HIIT with the addition of weights is the most effective way to burn calories while also strength training.
An example of a HIIT workout including weights:
- 20 Burpees
- 15 reps Dumbbell Lunges
- 30 seconds Mountain Climbers
- 12 reps Dumbbell Curls
- 10 reps Dumbbell Lateral Raises
- 35 seconds Plank Jacks
- 12 reps Dumbbell Step Ups
- 10 reps Dumbbell Split-Squats
Repeat this circuit 3x
Post-activation potentiation is a training technique that focuses on activating the muscle being worked prior to a power move. The idea is to use moderate to light weight just to warm up the muscle in a simple movement (such as a dumbbell curl) and then follow it up with an explosive power move.
This type of training works because you’re activating the muscle fibers during the conditioning exercise, which makes them “loaded” or placed into a potentiated state. Therefore, they are more susceptible to the neurotransmitters telling the muscle to contract.
Women who don’t particularly like weight training in a gym may be more likely to utilize this technique at home. Purchasing at-home fitness equipment is one way to combat this challenge. The Synergy Power Rack with a Pulley System is the perfect piece of at-home fitness equipment to purchase for women that don’t want to bother with dumbbells or other loose weights.
Pyramid training is the process of slowly decreasing reps and sets as you get further into your workout. The slow weight decline helps build muscle memory and is one of the most intuitive ways to strength train.
Women benefit from this style of training because many women are new to weight lifting, and using this technique is one way to improve form. Better form sets you up for a successful workout session.
An example of pyramid training would be to start with a weight that allows you to do 10-12 reps without failing. Do 10-12 reps with that weight for the first two sets, then slowly decrease the weight by about 5 pounds and do 6-8 reps for the final two sets. This is repeated during various exercises to target whichever muscle group you’re working out for the day.
Change the Stigma
Finally, and most importantly, the best way for women to achieve the benefits of weight training is to change the stigma. For example, women think lifting weights is “manly” or will make them look more masculine, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Weight training is an exercise that benefits both women and men alike. It’s important to note that building muscles and toning/maintaining muscles are two different things. Bodybuilders work very hard to eat the proper nutrition and do the appropriate weight training exercises to grow the muscles the way they do. A simple weight training workout will not give you the same results.
Women who lift weights are generally healthier and overall look just as feminine as a woman that doesn’t weight train. It’s just a healthy habit that improves your daily life and should be practiced by everyone.
Weight lifting is a great way to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and women are just as capable of it as men. Purchasing at-home fitness equipment is a great first step to take if you’re new to weight lifting, and practicing these techniques will help you gain the confidence you need to start lifting. So let’s do this, girls!