Top 5 Strength Training Workouts For Women
Posted on April 01 2020
A general survey on the workout pattern of women suggests that the majority of women disregard strength training in favour of cardio exercises. When it comes to women’s fitness, the focus is usually limited to burning fat and shedding pounds, and to achieve this, high-cardio or no weights is what women usually rely on. My question is what about gaining strength? Is being strong limited only to men?
Did you know? Strength training can help you burn fat and sculpt those gorgeous curves you have always wanted. Strength training aims to build lean muscles while keeping your calorie expenditure high to melt away the stubborn body fat in the process.
This article chiefly includes information on:
> Strength training
> Benefits of strength training
> Why should women give up fear about strength training
> Importance of warm-up and diet
> Top 5 strength training workout for women
The article doesn’t just aim to give you information on strength training, but today’s guide will help you transform yourself into a superwoman if you include these workouts into your training routine.
Before we move ahead, let’s get an insight into what exactly is strength training.
What Exactly Is Strength Training?
As the very name suggests, strength training involves the performance of physical exercises which are designed to enhance strength and endurance. Strength training is also called resistance exercise because, in this exercise, your body moves against resistance. The resistance can be provided simply by moving your body against gravity (using your own body weight) or by using weighted objects like dumbbells or barbells.
The benefits of strength training include:
1. Improves your functional strength while increasing your metabolism.
2. Targets multiple muscle groups while increasing strength, core stability and flexibility.
3. Increases lean muscle mass, bone density, reduces the potential for injury, improves body composition and an enhanced sense of wellbeing.
Ladies, Give Up Your Fear Of Strength Training!
The main reason why women often fear strength training is out of the fear that strength training may make them bulky and masculine. Contrary to the popular myth and belief, strength training will not make you bulk up, but will, in fact, provide your body what it needs to take it to the next level.
Rule Out The Myth On Strength Training
The truth is getting bulky or large with strength training is not physiologically possible for women as women don’t have the hormonal support to gain muscle mass and get bulky like men. The hormone testosterone is responsible for large increases in muscle mass. Women have only a fraction of testosterone levels when compared to that of men. The basal hormonal differences (reduced testosterone) ultimately will limit the absolute amount of lean body mass that women can gain with strength training.
Why Choose Cardio Over Strength Training?
While cardio is great for endurance, strength training is the secret key to building muscle and getting your body to burn fat over a long period of time. Lifting weights will amp up your metabolism for long after your workout ends because the more muscles you have, the more calories your body will burn and the leaner you’ll get.
Ladies, don’t limit yourself to yoga or cardio anymore, choose to strength train to sculpt, tone and firm your body.
How Much Weight Do You Have To Start With?
While most gym trainers tell you to lift weight according to your body weight, it’s my personal advise to initially start with light weights and bars without added weights. You’ll first need to get accustomed to it and then you’ll be ready to test your potential by adding more weights.
Properly Warm Up Before Training
Before you start any kind of workout routine, it is absolutely essential that you properly warm-up. Your warm-up can include running, jogging or stretching exercises.
> Warming up improves your flexibility, mobility and muscle fibre elasticity.
> It reduces your risk of injury.
> Boosts circulation which ensures better blood flow, more oxygen and nutrients to your muscles.
After getting sufficient pre-information, here we go to our strength training workouts which are specially beneficial for women.
1. SEATED DUMBELL BICEP CURLS
Targets: Biceps and forearms 1. Sit in an upright position on a flat bench holding a dumbbell in each hand with an underhand grip. 2. Keep your shoulder in one place and extend your arms with your elbows close to your sides. 3. Keeping your upper arms stationary, curl the dumbbells upwards in a smooth arc, so that your palms face in towards you.
4. See that the dumbbells are at your shoulder levels and your biceps are fully contracted.
5. Hold for 3 seconds and then slowly move your arms back to the starting position.
2. LYING TRICEPS EXTENSION
Targets: Triceps, abs and shoulders 1. Lie down on your back on a bench. 2. Position your feet flat on the floor on either side of the bench. 3. With a dumbbell in each hand, extend your arms over the head until they are perpendicular to your body.
4. Your palms should face one another and your hands should be close together.
5. Now, with your shoulders still, bend your elbows and lower the weights on either side until they are just above your shoulders.
6. Hold for 3 seconds and then extend your arms to return the dumbbells back to the starting.
3. STEP UP
Targets: Legs, glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, abs and calves 1. Place a chair or wooden box in front of you. 2. Brace your core and lower back. 3. Take a step up on the box with just one foot and without stopping, return to your starting position. 4. Now, repeat the exercise with the other leg.
Targets: Back muscles, hamstrings, glutes, abs, calves forearms 1. Place a barbell in a clear space on the floor. 2. Stand facing the barbell with your feet shoulder-width apart. 3. Now, bend lower with your back straight and grip the bar with an overhand grip at shoulder width. 4. Use your leg muscles to pull your body back to the starting position while lifting the bar along. 5. Keep your arms fully extended and stand up with the barbell. 6. As you lift the barbell, make sure your back is straight. 7. As you reach the top of the lift and are standing straight, rotate your shoulders back slightly until you feel a slight stretch in them. 8. Lower the barbell back to the floor in the same squatting motion you use to lift it.
This exercise can be performed with dumbbells as well, but I prefer the barbell version.
5. SEATED SHOULDER PRESS
Targets: abs, triceps, upper back, shoulders 1. Sit straight on a bench holding a dumbbell in each hand with an overhand grip. 2. Bring your elbows down till they are in line with your shoulder. 3. Rotate your wrists so that the palms of your hands are facing away from you. 4. Push the dumbbell up and over your head by extending your arms until the dumbbells touch at the top of the movement. 5. Hold for 3 seconds. 6. Slowly return to the starting position.
Proper Nutrition Plays a Vital Role
No matter how hard you train in the gym, if you are not eating the right foods at the right time, all your efforts will go in vain. Remember, you want to get stronger and get toned.
> Drink plenty of water (4-5 litres a day)
>Your diet must include a good amount of protein (protein is a muscle food) à if it gets difficult to get enough protein from whole foods on a daily basis, get it from Whey Protein shakes. Protein shakes are convenient and provide around 30 g of protein in a single shake.
> Don’t ignore your other nutrients à along with proteins, your diet must include complex carbs, healthy fats and vegetables which are full of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Now, the last question,
Should You Do Strength Training Daily?
For those of you who are beginners, 2 days a week is fine, but strength training 3 days a week will bring you the best results. Give your muscles the time to recover because recovery happens during rest. Don’t have the impression that your workouts should be long to fetch good results. It’s the efficiency what you should aim for not the lengthy workouts.