The science behind Strength Training for Women is endless, so why then are only about 20 percent of women lifting weights?
Many women believe that strength training will make them develop bulky muscles. Many have heard that this is just a misconception, and it is, but why exactly is this so? Why aren’t women prone to bulking up? And if that’s the case, what about female body builders?
From a physiological standpoint, here are a few reasons why women shouldn’t fear becoming bulky from strength training. #1, testosterone. The average female produces about one tenth of the testosterone as the average male. And since building muscle mass is largely dependent on testosterone, this small amount restricts the degree to which females can increase the size of their muscles.
According to Matt Brzycki’s book A Practical Approach to Strength Training, another reason has to do with women’s proportion of fast-twitch (FT) and slow-twitch (ST) muscle fibers. Research has shown that females possess a slightly higher percentage of ST muscle fibers than males. FT and ST fibers both have the potential to increase in size but FT fibers have a much greater potential, therefore, since females have a higher percentage of ST fibers, their potential to increase the size of their muscles is lower. When women lift weights, the changes to their muscles are generally related to tone, strength, and endurance rather than size.
In the case of female body builders, women must realize that they have a different objective in mind with strength training than the average female. Everything they do, from their eating to their training, revolves around increasing size. Also, it’s safe to assume that at least some female bodybuilders have used muscular enhancing supplements, but perhaps the most significant factor that determines muscle size is genetics. Body builders have developed large muscles because of their genetic profile, not simply because they lifted weights. Our genetics play a huge role in our strength potential. Factors such as muscle-to-tendon ratio, lever lengths, body proportions, body type, tendon insertion, and neuromuscular efficiency, all determine our individual and unique response to strength training.
Regardless of the different goals women have for lifting weights, one thing will always remain true with strength training, it has many positive health benefits for ALL women. For women who want to lose weight or prevent weight gain, building muscle is a critical component. It will help reduce body fat and burn calories more efficiently.
A consistent strength training program can also help women fight the aging process by increasing bone density, which slows down bone deterioration and reduces the chance of developing osteoporosis.
With increased strength come not only strong muscles, but also strong tendons and ligaments. When you build muscle, you help protect your joints from injury and increase your balance and coordination.
I feel one of the most important benefits of exercise is that it helps to achieve an overall better quality of life. We all want to be able to move through our day with more ease and less pain. Feeling stronger and healthier not only makes everyday life easier physically, but also has a significant impact on our mental well-being and self-esteem. The better you feel, the more confident you feel, the happier life you will lead