Women have become increasingly comfortable hoisting weights to construct their strength and confidence. The old fear of bulking up is being replaced by facts about the numerous benefits of weight training, and the proliferation of classes and training programs that offer instruction and camaraderie. It’s not necessarily about getting being skinny , or ripped. It is about becoming strong and healthy, being empowered and feeling fit.

Strength training offers different benefits than cardiovascular, and ought to be included in an exercise routine. Here’s why females definitely need to participate, along with some strength training tips for women.

Benefits

Increasing evidence indicates that exercising with weights provides many important health benefits for girls:

Weight management — Strength training builds muscle, which is responsible for a large portion of your metabolism. A higher metabolism means you burn more calories through the day, which makes you able to manage, or shed, weight. This is particularly valuable for women as they age and metabolism naturally slows down.

Lean appearance — Cardio is a fantastic calorie-burner, but strength training helps shape the entire body by creating muscles, leading to a more fit appearance. Even if their weight stays the same, women who strength train report that their bodies feel”tighter” and clothes simply fit .

Stronger bones and muscles — Working together with weights increases bone density and can reduce the risk of fractures and osteoporosis, which girls are particularly at risk for. Plus, it combats the natural decline in muscle as you age, making it easier to stay active.

Better posture — Correcting muscular imbalances and increasing awareness of how you proceed can lead to a healthier posture.

Reduced risk of injury — By enhancing strength in muscles, tendons and ligaments, as well as building balance, weight training can decrease risk of falls and other common acute injuries.

Disease prevention — Because weight work enhances immune function and raises tissues that fight off illness, participants are less likely to get sick. This type of exercise also can decrease the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Chronic condition control –– Power training can lessen the symptoms of many conditions, such as back pain, arthritis and diabetes.

Improved sleep — Hitting the weight room enhances quality of sleep and can boost energy, based on higher endorphin levels from strength training.

Enhanced self-esteem — An improved body image, greater self-efficacy and a more favorable prognosis are proven results of regularly working with weights.

Favorable mental health –– Research also demonstrates that potency sessions can help control and treat anxiety and depression, which typically afflict women in greater numbers than men.

Power Training Tips for Women

Get education. If you are new to strength training, don’t just hit the weight room and try to figure everything out by yourself. Hire a personal trainer for a few sessions, attend an orientation session at your gym or participate in a group class where you can learn routine exercises. If you exercise at home, you’ll want some dumbbells, resistance bands, a bench and potentially a barbell or two.

Consult apps, streaming workouts and fitness magazines and books for demonstrations of strength routines.

Pay attention to proper form, the way to breathe, what loads to use and how many reps and sets to perform. Be smart or you risk injuring yourself, which defeats the entire purpose of starting a strength training program.

Understand your options. Today, strength training has more resources to use than ever before. Most gyms will offer some or all of these, so ask a trainer or an experienced friend to identify each. Try them all for variety and to find out what you prefer.

All are great — not one is inherently better than another — but a combination of modalities is ideal in a power routine.

Selectorized machines — weight stacks, cables and pulleys

Plate-loaded equipment — uses free weight plates on machines

Free weights — dumbbells, barbells, weight plates, benches and racks

Elastic tubing/bands — available in different resistance levels

Alternative accessories — sand or water-filled bags/disks, medicine balls, kettlebells, barbells with moving ball bearings, sleds, gliding disks and more

Include bodyweight exercises. Strength training doesn’t always have to incorporate a tool. Be sure to perform popular weight reduction exercises as well, where you work against the resistance of your body.

These include planks, push-ups, assisted pull-ups and crunches. You can also do exercise such as squats, lunges and plies without external weight at first to practice and perfect your form.

Follow a balanced regimen. Contain all the major muscle groups of the upper and lower body and heart. Don’t believe that just because you run or bicycle that you can skip your legs.

The torso and back are just as important as the biceps, triceps and shoulders. The same is true for the abs, lower back, glute’s, hips, quads, hamstrings, inner and outer thighs and calves.

It’s best to train 2-5 times per week, so plan ahead when you’ll lift weights, and program it on your calendar. Try not to work the same muscle groups on consecutive days, however leave a day in between for rest and tissue repair.

In other words, if you are doing a total-body routine, aim for Monday, Wednesday and Friday, or function upper body on Monday and Wednesday and lower body on Tuesday and Thursday.

Having a smart plan and good focus, you can get all your exercises done efficiently so you don’t have to spend hours at the gym — that no woman has anyway.

Incorporate variety. Just like you should not do the same manual treadmill routine at 4.2 mph for 30 minutes for each and every exercise for years, cross training in regards to strength workout will yield better motivation and results. So maybe you take a strength class once per week, use free weights on another day and hit a machine circuit on another.

Or at home, use resistance bands one day, follow an dumbbell workout the next session and perform a joint cardio-strength routine for the next semester.

This doesn’t necessarily have to be according to a scientific formula, however according to your own preferences and what works on your schedule. If you take the same exercise class twice a week, no problem. But over time, vary your routines and add more weight or repetitions to continue making progress.

Or try something totally different, such as CrossFit, and embrace new challenges and conquests!

Keep pressing on. Don’t limit yourself to light dumbbells, but lift heavy where you can and be pleased. Tiny dumbbells aren’t likely to provide you the very best results, and if you are putting in the moment, might as well maximize your ROI. Go heavy.

And be consistent with intensity training for the very best outcomes. Find a workout friend if you have to, but get it done regularly, and your body will thank you. Set goals if that helps with motivation, and log work outs and watch your progress. Take on bodybuilding if that arouses you.

Most importantly, get started immediately and get back to it if you fall off for a while. It’s never too late to benefit from resistance training!