7 Female Strength Training Myths – Busted!
There are so many myths, stories and falsities out there that society would make you think that one solid lifting session and you will look like a man.
Jokes aside I’m happy to report that this is definitely not the case! over my time in the industry i have seen hundreds transform into strong, capable and beautiful women through the implementation of strength training but i’m yet to see a woman become too “bulky” or manly!
So let’s dive in and examine the most common myths and why this has become such a contentious issue.
Myth #1 Don’t lift heavy weights or you’ll get bulky
As a trainer i hear this all the time, women come into our gym and the first thing they say is “I don’t want to get bulky” The truth? A bulky appearance comes from excess in body fat. Period. It doesn’t happen from frequent, progressive, heavy lifting.
It’s this very prevalent idea that drives so many women to avoid strength training in the first place. But within just a few weeks, they begin to fall in love with the physical and mental results it brings. Strength training has proven to help women achieve the body they want and gives them a dose of confidence to go along with it too.
It’s also important to understand that everyone has different physiques that they’re trying to achieve. Some might want to build as much muscle as possible, while others may just want to look ‘toned’, without the heavy appearance of muscle. At the same time, we need to consider that we all have different body types.
So don’t worry, you won’t wake up looking like The Hulk after strength training for a few weeks.
Myth #2 You need Cardio to Lose Weight
“All you need to do to slim down, is to do a lot of cardio, right?”
If you happen to enjoy running, aerobics or taking zumba classes – that’s awesome. Power to you! However, if you’re only doing these things to lose weight and wonder why you’re not seeing the results, step off the treadmill. There’s a better way.
As we mentioned in the previous paragraph, the only way to achieve a that ‘toned’ and athletic look is to build some muscle and shed the fat. That’s why we recommend strength training combined with some traditional cardio methods.
Myth #3 It takes Too Much Time to Strength Train
There are many things in life that are time consuming but strength training is not one of them. You can perform an effective workout in as little as 20 minutes just a few times per week. Save time by performing compound barbell exercises such as Deadlifts, Squats, Presses and by challenging yourself to increase the weight/intensity regularly to avoid plateaus.
The focus here is on achieving a ‘quality’ workout, rather than focussing on ‘quantity’. When i worked in commercial gyms i would see people in there for hours and get nothing done! They would sit on machines playing with there phones, slowly move from station to station and endlessly look in the mirror.
Don’t waste your time, get in and out, work hard on mastering great technique, always work on improving your performance when possible and then rinse and repeat – consistency builds habits.
Myth #4 You Need a Lot of Equipment
Don’t let equipment stop you.
Have you got a pair of dumbbells or Kettlebell? If yes, then you’re all set.
If not, don’t worry. You’ve definitely got a body and that’s more than enough to work with. By using exercises like Pushups, Squats, Lunges and Pull-ups, you can build a great physique!
The point is, you should focus on what you CAN do with what you already have – whether that means working out from home or from accessing a fully loaded gym.
Start by doing 3 rounds of 1min each exercise followed by 1min rest and repeat this 3 times per week. Add extra rounds to create a more potent stimulus and Before long you will see some amazing results!
Myth #5 Strength Training Is Dangerous
So is anything else if you don’t know how to do it correctly! I know many people who have injured themselves doing seemingly safe activities like Golf, netball and playing with there kids.
Always take the time to learn proper form on the basic exercises and keep a spotter around or take extra safety measures (e.g. squatting in a power rack with safety bars). Do this and weightlifting won’t seem like such a danger zone anymore.
Myth #6 Strength Train using Light Weight and High Reps
While this method does have some benefits in a strength-training program, it shouldn’t be the only thing you do, or the method you perform the most.
Sometimes women underestimate their strengths, because they simply just don’t know what their bodies are truly capable of. To achieve a higher level of physical strength, women must challenge themselves to go beyond ‘bicep curls with a soup can’ and up the load. Your body will adapt to the strengthening stimulus.
Again, lifting weights (between 3-8 reps, primarily) has found to create the highest strength increase. Not only will you be working towards your ideal physique, but you’ll also be walking out of the gym feeling like a badass!
Myth #7 Targeting where You Want To Lose Fat
We’ve all seen the infomercials where only “8 mins a day” on the latest XYZ ab machine sizzles and melts away that stubborn fat but it’s a lie! Our bodies unfortunately don’t work that way. Doing sit ups alone will not remove any belly fat.
Our bodies are genetically predisposed to store fat in certain locations, in a certain order. The same goes for when you start to lose weight. It might start to come off from your arms, then your legs, then your back and THEN your belly. Or you might start to lose the weight in a different order altogether – it all depends on your genetic makeup.
Combining a balanced diet rich in protein, good fats and plenty of fresh vegetables with regular exercise and you will start to see real results in as little as 4 weeks!
Now ladies, where are the weights at? Go get ‘em.