Tips and techniques for a stronger you
Strength training for women is great and essential for our bodies, but it’s also a fantastic way to boost energy, confidence, and even manage hormones. Let’s look at why strength training is important for women, and how you can get started safely.
Why is strength training important for women?
Strength training isn’t just about getting strong muscles. Research shows that strength training is one of the best forms of exercise for women of all ages.
Increase and protect bone density
Osteoporosis is a very real worry for women as we get older. After age 35, bone tissue starts to break down faster than it builds up. Strength training is a highly effective way of building bone density and of protecting the bone tissue we already have. This will protect you from stress fractures and weak bones as you get older. And it’s never too late to start - we can build muscle at any age!
Your metabolism is a complex system made up of all the ways your body burns energy during the day. As we get older, women’s metabolisms tend to drop. One of the main reasons for this is loss of muscle tissue. Muscle is more metabolically active than body fat (it uses more calories). By building a little muscle through strength training, you’ll actually boost your metabolism!
Can you imagine how incredible it feels to lift or push a heavy weight? Strength training is the ultimate female empowerment exercise. When you lift weights, you really see what your body and mind are capable of. Many women describe lifting weights as therapy, because it lets you focus inward. Then you get those amazing endorphins which relieve stress - and we all know how that improves your wellbeing.
Shape your body
Strength training actually changes the shape of your body. It tones muscles so you develop a firmer shape, improving your posture so you feel taller and prouder. In this way, strength training helps combat issues that come from lots of sitting down and using phones and computers - things like rounded shoulders, sore lower back and weak hips. Learning to use your ‘power muscles’ (core, glutes, and legs) is essential to a strong, happy life!
Offset age-related muscle loss
After the age of 30, we lose muscle mass at a rate of 3%-8% per decade. That’s a lot! And most women don’t start with a huge amount of muscle to begin with. Strength training helps women build and maintain muscle mass as we move through life, which boosts our metabolism, protects us against injury, helps our posture and so many more good things.
Can women strength train at any age?
Yes, women can learn to strength train safely and effectively at absolutely any age. The great thing about strength training is the variety. Strength training can include bodyweight workouts, barbells, weights machines, kettlebells and lots of other equipment. The most important thing is finding a place that can help you find strength training you enjoy.
8 reasons to strength train as a woman
1. Offset age-related muscle loss
2. Protect and build bones
3. Increase your metabolism
4. Burn more body fat
5. Reduce menopause symptoms
6. Make daily tasks feel easier
7. Build body confidence
8. Correct muscle weakness from modern day living
Best types of strength training for women
Many women love forms of strength training with barbells and free weights like bodybuilding, powerlifting, or weightlifting. If that kind of strength training has caught your imagination, go for it! But don’t worry if you don’t like the idea of strength training with free weights.
Some alternative options for women include using weights machines at the gym, working out with dumbbells, using functional strength equipment like kettlebells or medicine balls, or even doing bodyweight exercises that use your own body for resistance. Start by finding a women-only gym that can show you how to strength train safely and effectively.
How to lift weights safely for women
Done properly, strength training is one of the safest forms of exercise. Ask a good trainer or instructor to help you learn how to lift weights or use weights machines. They will teach you the proper technique for each exercise, and show you how to put the exercises together into a workout programme that will help you get fit and strong.
Best strength training exercises for women
A good strength training plan for women will incorporate all the major muscle groups so you don’t neglect any areas of your body. Here are some of our favourite strength training exercises for women.
There are so many types of squat to choose from, so don’t feel you have to do a traditional barbell squat if you’re not ready. A goblet squat uses a kettlebell or dumbbell which you hold in front of your chest in both hands. This means you can focus on squatting back and down to perfect your squat technique without worrying about holding a barbell across your back.
Many women are naturally stronger in the legs and less strong in the upper body. All the more reason to strength train your back, shoulders, chest and arms. A traditional pull up is too challenging for most women (even advanced athletes). Ring rows are a great alternative, allowing you to train the back muscles in a pulling movement whilst using your feet for support. And they’ll help you get that first pull up!
Narrow push up
Don’t avoid training your chest muscles – you won’t build bulk. Press ups are an equipment-free alternative to bench pressing, and a narrow press up variation works the back of your upper arms as well as your chest to tone up that area.
Strength training the back of your legs and bum is important. Stronger glutes will protect your lower back and help you avoid back and hip pain. We like the glute bridge because it can be done with bodyweight or added weight.
An RDL is a deadlift variation that has a lot of benefits for women. You don’t need to use as much weight as a conventional deadlift (in fact you can use dumbbells if you like), and it’s easier to feel when you’ve got the technique right. And you’ll work your legs and bum more than in a regular deadlift.
Strength training gyms for women in south London
We would love to help you learn how to strength train safely and effectively in an encouraging environment. Our women-only gym in Brockley south London is designed for women of all ages to work on their health and wellness, including strength training that suits you.