Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of women’s bodybuilding. I admire anyone who has the self-discipline to get those kinds of results and personally I think the look can be very cool when it’s natural, but I’m aware that it’s not the sort of physique nor lifestyle which most personal training clients want. It takes a lot of dedication to get big, and to get your body fat percentage low enough to see clear muscle definition. It requires a lot of time in the gym, a very specialised diet, and in some cases a little vitamin S (that’s ‘roids, people.) It’s not something that happens over-night because you’ve done some push-ups at the park.
There are many different types of strength training, and size, or hypertrophy, is just one possible outcome. Different exercises, sets, reps, and weights, can be combined to create muscle endurance, power, stability, even bone density.
I’ve written this article for the sisters, because most men are pretty sold on the benefits of building muscle strength. So ladies, if you don’t already know, read on…
Weight-bearing exercises prevent osteoporosis
After peak bone density has been reached in a person’s twenties, bone density then begins to decline, leaving the bones weaker and, in extreme cases, susceptible to breaks and fractures. Osteoporosis is painless, and the first symptom is often a break or fracture. The rate at which bone density declines can be slowed by eating a balanced diet which includes calcium and protein, getting adequate vitamin D, and doing weight-bearing exercises. Since being female is automatically a risk-factor for developing osteoporosis, it makes sense that girls and women of all ages should make time for strength-training.
A good strength-training program prevents injury
I say a good strength-training program, because a program which includes exercises which are inappropriate to your fitness levels, or exercises which are performed with poor technique, can be dangerous and put you at an increased risk of injury. However, a program that has been created by a qualified personal trainer or experienced sports conditioning coach, performed with good technique, helps to prevent injuries by strengthening the muscles and connective tissue, which increases the over-all strength and stability of the joints.
Developing functional strength makes you more independent and improves quality of life
When I was suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, I also suffered a humiliating side-effect of muscle-atrophy…. having to ask male friends and strong female friends to help me to move the furniture and carry the groceries inside. In all seriousness though, at a time when women are no longer restricted to living with fathers or husbands, and many live alone and have DIY jobs to do at home and in investment properties, being strong makes life a lot easier. As you age this becomes particularly important. It’s never too late to start a strength-training program, and gaining and maintaining functional strength in later life will help you to remain independent for longer.
Strength-training improves your posture
Having good posture makes you appear instantly slimmer, younger and more confident. It also prevents degenerative spinal issues such as bone spurs, arthritis and bulging disks. Spinal problems and injuries, as I have recently rediscovered, are extremely painful, immobilising and limiting, as the spine is at the core of all our functional movements. It’s far better to spend time building core strength and good posture now than to start doing rehabilitative exercises after an injury.
Strength-training empowers you to sculpt your physique
If I had another dollar for every time I’m asked how to achieve spot-reduction of body-fat through exercise, I could feed a small nation. While we don’t have much control over where you lose body-fat, we can sculpt your physique through strength training. It enables us to create sexier legs, a rounder butt, toned arms and a firmer stomach. Of course, for best results you will also need to be doing some form of cardio, as well as eating right, so while we build long, lean muscles, we also cut through the fat so that the shape and tone of those muscles can be seen!
If you’re interested in the benefits of strength-training, contact me for more information!