Many women are hesitant to introduce strength training into their workouts, either for fear of over-muscling or because they believe that this type of training takes them away from their goal of losing weight and reducing body fat. But nothing could be further from the truth, as strength training can help you define and shape your curves, and is key to achieving your goals.
What is strength training?
First of all, we should review what exactly strength training is, and it can be understood from two perspectives: mechanical and physiological. From the mechanical point of view, muscle strength is the ability of the musculature to deform or modify the state of the body -either by counteracting or imparting movement-. On the other hand, from a physiological point of view, strength is understood as the capacity of a muscle to produce tension when activated; that is to say, it is produced internally, in our muscle fibers, and can interact with an external object or not.
Some people consider that strength training is only that in which we interact with weights, but this type of training includes different types and modalities, since the manifestations of strength are very varied. Thus, strength training encompasses any activity that acts on an external resistance through muscle tension: it can be our own weight, the use of dumbbells, rubber bands, kettlebells, pulleys or other devices that generate resistance.
Learn about the benefits of strength training for women.
You should keep in mind that introducing strength training into your sports routine has numerous benefits. First of all, increasing muscle mass will increase your basal metabolic rate - that is, the amount of energy your body uses at rest. This is because, with this type of training, post-workout oxygen consumption increases, which is related to caloric expenditure: the higher the intensity, the higher the caloric expenditure, and the energy that will be expended comes mainly from adipose tissue, i.e. fat. With strength training, circulation, ventilation and heart rate are increased, and in turn the hormonal profile is improved and the thermogenic effect is increased, causing changes in metabolism - the source of substrates is changed from carbohydrates to lipids, and the effect of the training is maintained up to 72 hours after the end of the training. In this way, strength training can promote weight loss -especially in the long term- and can also lead to a decrease in body fat percentage -which will help you look more "toned" and defined-.
On the other hand, weight training also helps to increase bone density - so important especially for women who are close to menopause and are concerned about the risk of osteoporosis.
In addition, this type of training contributes to better health and better body awareness, helping you to correct bad posture and counteract poor body hygiene practices in our daily lives.
And, finally, strength training also contributes to saving time, since, compared to cardiovascular training, you can achieve better results in less time -and even fewer weekly sessions- and it is also a type of training that you can also do at home with the help of elements such as dumbbells, rubber bands or kettlebells, for example.
Recommendations for getting started
If you are a beginner, as when you start with the practice of any sport, keep in mind that you must go little by little; do not force your body to the extreme because you can get injured!
- Start training with your own weight: training with your own body weight will help you at the beginning to correct postures and perform the exercises in the correct way, and will also allow you to gain strength and endurance gradually.
- Keep in mindthe breaks: it is as important to train as it is to rest properly. When you start, it is advisable to leave a rest day after your weight training, so you can start with two or three strength training sessions a week and gradually increase your workouts.
- Warm up before starting your training routine: to minimize the risk of injury it is important to warm up: start with joint mobility and gradually increase your heart rate.
- Work your whole body: when you have been strength training for a while, it is easy to plan your sessions focusing on each muscle group, however, at the beginning - as you will be doing fewer workouts per week - train your whole body. Look for a routine that works your whole body and in which all your muscle groups are gaining strength.
- Choose the weight you are going to use: it is important that, when training with weight, it is a challenge, but always maintaining a correct posture in which we do not compensate with other muscles. To begin with, the most important thing is to acquire a good posture.
And of course, we recommend that you always go to a trainer or sports professional who can advise you and correct your posture, which will greatly improve the quality of your training.
Although there is a generalized fear of overdeveloping muscles if you train with weights, you should know that both men and women have the same muscular structure, but women produce less testosterone - a hormone that promotes muscle growth - and consequently, other characteristics also differ in terms of muscularity, body fat and strength values; and that is why women do not build huge muscles, but rather molded and defined curves. In order to achieve visible definition, a sufficiently high resistance is necessary. And as always, to notice the changes it is necessary to combine the exercises with a correct diet.