Blog written by VYBE.
Whether you're looking for a strategy that will help you lose weight or you want to get stronger, tougher, and better able to handle whatever life might throw your way, an effective strength and conditioning program is a fantastic solution. Strength training for women has a number of critical advantages--and the good news is, assistance recovering from those tough workout days could be in the palm of your hand. With a VYBE V2 Massage Gun, you can massage away muscle tension and set yourself up for a faster recovery.
What is Strength Training?
Strength training, also known as resistance training, is a workout strategy that uses resistance to help build your overall strength and anaerobic endurance. Strength training may utilize a variety of tools, including:
- Resistance bands
- Free weights
- Weight machines
- Bodyweight training options
Resistance training for women has a number of known health benefits, making it a critical part of your overall health and wellness program.
Should Women Strength Train?
For women, strength training is sometimes controversial. Men often strength train in an effort to build muscle--and a lot of women worry that if they engage in those same strength training activities, they may find themselves "bulking up" more than they want. In reality, however, strength training has a number of critical advantages for women. Not only can it help reduce overall body mass, it can help prevent you from losing muscle mass due to inactivity over the years.
Strength training for women should, in fact, be an important part of your regular exercise schedule--not something that you put off or ignore in favor of a treadmill run, but rather a form of exercise that you incorporate and embrace on a regular basis.
The Top Benefits of Strength Training for Women
Still on the fence about incorporating strength training into your workout routine? Check out these crucial benefits.
1. Strength training can help you build a toned, leaner body in a way that cardio alone just can't.
- If you've been relying on cardio to help you get weight off or stay in shape, you may hit a plateau faster than you think--and you may find that cardio alone just isn't enough to help take you to the next level. If you're looking for a lean, toned look, strength training is the ideal way to help you get there. In fact, adding resistance training for women may be the best strategy you can use to lean down problem areas and feel (and look!) your best.
2. Strength training can help you reduce body fat more effectively.
- Muscle naturally burns more energy than fat, so when you build muscle through strength training, you're often able to meet your weight loss goals more effectively. Not only that, muscle is leaner than fat in general, which means that even if the pounds aren't necessarily coming off the way you would like, you may discover that you're developing a more toned look in general.
3. Strength training can help combat muscle loss.
- Every year, women who do not engage in strength training lose a small percentage of their muscle mass, especially as they get older. Over time, that can lead to serious declines in overall health. Studies show, however, that women who strength train do not experience the same decline in muscle mass, which may help them stay healthier, longer.
4. Lifting weights doesn't have to mean that you bulk up.
- Many women are reluctant to get started with strength training because they fear that it will cause them to bulk up. However, in reality, you can build lean muscle mass without bulking up at all. It's all in the type of training you do and the type of exercises you perform. If you lean toward very heavy lifting, you may start to bulk up over time. On the other hand, body weight exercises, lighter weights, and resistance bands will simply help you as you move toward that leaned, toned physique.
5. Lifting weights can help improve bone density.
- Osteoporosis can be a real threat for many women. Not only that, decreasing bone density as you age can lead to more joint problems and lower back pain, which can cause decreases in mobility. Lifting weights, on the other hand, can improve overall bone density, which may lead to decreased joint pain and lower back pain.
6. Strength training helps decrease overall risk of injury.
- Strength training, done correctly, can help increase your overall core stability and strength. That means that when you do find yourself in situations that could result in injury, you may discover that you can more easily let them roll off, get back to your feet, and go back about your day. You'll also find that you're less likely to injure yourself when you engage in activities around the house, like lifting boxes or even throwing around the kids (or grandkids), since you have the strength to accommodate those movements.
7. Strength training can benefit your other exercise goals, too.
- If you're trying to increase your run time, improve your cycling efforts, or otherwise increase your cardio training, you may find that strength training can actually have more benefits than you anticipate. When you engage in strength training, your muscles will get stronger, which means that you'll be in a better position to hit those other goals, too. As you continue to strength train, you'll reap the benefits in many different areas.
8. You may notice an increase in your overall confidence as you hit your strength training goals.
- Not only is reaching those goals important all on its own, you may find that, the more you meet those goals, the more confident you feel in other areas of your life. Because you feel stronger, you do not have to rely on others to take care of the heavy lifting for you. You may feel better about how your body performs in a wide range of situations--not just in how it looks, but in what you're able to do.
What is the Best Way to Strength Train for Women?
Strength training for women can take a number of forms--and there is not necessarily a "best" way. Are you looking for convenience: strength training exercises that you can easily perform in your living room? Do you want a strategy that will help you build more lean muscle and get the toned look you've been after? Make sure you have an idea of your options so that you can choose a strategy that fits your needs.
1. Body Weight Training
- Body weight training involves using your body weight to grow your own strength. Push-ups and lunges, for example, build strength in several key ways, including greater overall muscle power and strength, but do not rely on external equipment. Body weight training is highly convenient because it can be done anywhere, at any time, and requires nothing to get started--which means that it's a great introduction to strength training.
2. Resistance Bands
- Resistance bands are a great way to add a little more muscle-building power to your workouts, especially as you improve your body weight training efforts. Resistance bands also do not require a great deal of space: you can easily pack them to take along when you're traveling (right alongside your favorite VYBE Flex Percussion Massage Gun for targeted soreness relief after your workout!) or use them in the privacy of your own home.
3. Weight Training
- Some women prefer to use weights, including either free weights or machines, to help build strength. Weight training is a great way to build additional muscle and increase your strength over time, and it may take you to heights you cannot reach with body weight training alone. On the other hand, weight training may mean investing in a great deal more equipment or require you to go to the gym on a regular basis in order to effectively include it as part of your routine.
How Many Days a Week Should Women Strength Train?
Strength training can be incorporated into your regular workout schedule. If you want to reap the maximum benefits, you may be tempted to kick it up and start trying to strength train more often, including trying to get to the gym every day. However, you need to allow time for your muscles to recover between strength training sessions. You may find that strength training 2-3 days a week offers the best distribution. More than 4 sessions per week could actually delay your recovery and leave you feeling more stiff and sore. (Of course, when you bring your VYBE Premium Muscle Massage Gun along for use after your workouts, you may find that you don't have to deal with nearly as much soreness!)
Start by introducing strength training into your workout schedule a couple of days per week. You can intersperse it with other types of exercise that fit your needs, whether that means a yoga session a couple of days a week to help stretch out that tension or a regular run so that you're still getting in some cardio.
The Top 5 Basic Strength Training Exercises for Women
Basic strength training for women can incorporate a wide range of potential exercises. However, there are several key exercises that will be part of most effective strength training routines.
- In its basic form, a squat requires you to "squat down" from a standing position, lowering until your elbows meet the top of your knees and then raising back up again. As your fitness level increases, or if you want to help target other muscle groups, you may want to try other strategies, including sumo squats with a wide-leg stance, adding dumbbells, or even incorporating arm exercises along with your squats.
- In a push-up, you literally push yourself up from the floor. Push-ups are great for building upper body strength--and they can easily be adapted over time as you continue to gain strength. If you cannot do a full push-up on your toes, go down to your knees. Try widening your arms out or bringing them closer together, even pressing your hands into a diamond position. Push-ups can target all those important areas in the upper body and provide you with a higher overall degree of strength, since they can also help target your core.
- In a plank, you lay on your front with your feet together and position your hands on your shoulders. Then, engage your core, raise your hips, and create a straight line from your toes to your head. You can do a plank on your hands or on your forearms, depending on your overall level of strength. Try shaking it up by doing side planks, crossing one ankle over the other, or even adding weight. Planks are a fantastic way to build core strength and, like many other basic strength-training exercises, can be adapted to increase resistance or difficulty as you get stronger.
- A row is usually performed with weights, cables, or even body weights. It helps build up back muscles, especially if you spend most of your day sitting behind a desk, and can help improve your overall strength--not to mention giving you that fantastic lean look you really want. A classic barbell row can help you build steadily increasing strength over time in a simple way that you can reproduce fairly easily at home.
- If you're looking to build strength in your lower body, lunges are another great strategy. By stepping out long, lowering one knee to the floor, and stepping up again, you're building strength throughout your lower body. You can also continue to add weight as your strength increases, which can help you achieve higher levels of strength over time.
It's Time to Start Strength Training
If you want a leaner, more toned appearance, greater strength, and more confidence, strength training is a great way to go--and VYBE will be there to go on this journey along with you. With VYBE's percussion massagers, you can target specific muscle groups and reduce soreness following a strength training workout, which may help you feel more confident about diving in again for your next workout. What are you waiting for?
Contributing Writer: Emily Goodman