Four Reasons why Women Should Lift Heavy Weights
Strength training is the cornerstone of our workout programming at KJO Coaching.
When you join the team as a client, we will adjust your nutrition and cardio based on your goals and preferences, but strength training is something that we recommend for everyone for any goal or lifestyle! That said, we’d never force you to do anything—but by the end of this article, I hope you will really see how amazing strength training is!
Of course, there are a ton of different ways to exercise. And I’m not saying there’s anything inherently wrong with your yoga practice, those long bike rides, or your beloved OrangeTheory, but the benefits of strength training are insane.
I will forever advocate for women to strength train using heavy weights. And no, lifting heavy weights will not make you bulky. And you don’t need to do 20+ reps for fat loss and 5-8 reps for muscle gain. That’s inaccurate and outdated fitness advice.
Strength Training Will Improve Your Metabolism
You read that right.
If you want to improve your metabolism, you can take the first step by adding a few strength training sessions to your weekly routine.
Strength training will improve your metabolism because it causes microtrauma in your muscles which need to be repaired (this initiates muscle building), and your muscles need energy (calories) to repair them.
Your body requires enough energy to repair your muscles after a strength training session that it will increase your metabolic rate for 72 hours after lifting. That works out to be over 100 extra calories burned per day.
And that’s just the immediate benefit you’ll experience from strength training. There are also long-term benefits for your metabolism.
As you build more muscle, your body will need more energy, even at rest. So, when you build more muscle, your metabolic rate will increase.
Summary: More strength training and more muscle mass helps you boost your metabolism.
Strength Training Builds Mental Strength
Strength training can have positive effects on your mental health.
Researchers have found that individuals who strength train benefit from reduced fatigue, anxiety, depression, and tension.
Strength training has also been linked with increased cognitive abilities, self-esteem, positive mood, tranquillity, and confidence.
So, not only does lifting weight build physical strength—but you can expect “mind gains,” too!
Strength Training Improves Heart Health
Strength training is at least as effective as aerobic endurance training when it comes to reducing major heart disease factors.
This is because when you lift heavy and build muscle, you improve your body composition, reduce your blood pressure, increase your insulin sensitivity, and burn fat.
If anyone ever told you that you must do cardio for heart health and that lifting weights won’t provide similar benefits, that’s really not the case.
Cardio is definitely helpful for heart health, and I would never encourage you to drop it altogether, but just know that you don’t have to make it the main focus of your workouts to get health benefits from exercise!
Strength Training Increases Your Confidence
When you strength train, you start to look and feel good. And although this one isn’t exactly supported by science, it has a lot of anecdotal support, as you can see through our client testimonials.
The confidence, dedication, and overall well-being gains you achieve from strength training will benefit you in your pursuit of other goals. It can help you become more productive and successful in your life as you get stronger and shift your mindset.
And, of course, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to feel strong and look good naked!
Long-Term Benefits of Strength Training
Although many of the benefits mentioned here can also be said for other forms of exercise, that’s not the case for all of the benefits.
With cardio, circuit training, and kill-yourself-type of classes, you will not see some of the other benefits that strength training provides.
Without strength training, you will not see:
- increased bone density (think - osteoporosis protective)
- reversed factors of aging
- reduced lower back pain
- increased muscle mass and metabolism
- or that damn TONED look you constantly chase (remember: ‘toned’ just means ‘muscle’ without excessive body fat)
Again, I’m not saying you need to give up running, yoga, or whatever other form of exercise you enjoy. But you might (will) benefit from regular strength training, too.
How to Start Strength Training
Want to learn how to start incorporating strength training into your workouts?
Need some guidance on creating your own workout plan?
Could you use some templates to get started??
The KJO Coaching 4-Week Fit Foundation course has got you covered! Our incredible coaches will teach you the basics of nutrition and strength training so you can create your own exercise and nutrition protocol. Learn more here.
Or you can check out our free 4-week sample workout guide here. This guide will help you with your programming and get you started on your strength training journey.
Check out my original post here.
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Annesi, J. J. (2004). Relationship between self-efficacy and changes in rated tension and depression for 9-to 12-yr.-old children enrolled in a 12-wk. after-school physical activity program. Perceptual and motor skills, 99(1), 191-194.
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Heden, T., Lox, C., Rose, P., Reid, S., & Kirk, E. P. (2011). One-set resistance training elevates energy expenditure for 72 h similar to three sets. European journal of applied physiology, 111(3), 477-484.
Holloway, J. B., Beuter, A., & Duda, J. L. (1988). Self-Efficacy and Training for Strength in Adolescent Girls. Journal of Applied Psychology, 18(8), 699-719. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1559-1816.1988.tb00046.x
O’Connor, P. J., Herring, M. P., & Caravalho, A. (2010). Mental Health Benefits of Strength Training in Adults. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 4(5), 377–396. https://doi.org/10.1177/1559827610368771
Strasser, B., & Schobersberger, W. (2011). Evidence for resistance training as a treatment therapy in obesity. Journal of obesity, 2011.