Women should lift weights, but do they REALLY need to lift heavy?

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I just got through reading an article directed toward women saying that they need to lift heavy weights several times a week and to, “Put the 5-pound dumbbells away, just put them back in the corner where you found them. Light them on fire while you’re at it.”  It also mentioned the picture in the fitness magazine of the woman standing on one leg on the bosu while lifting a 5lb db is not the workout they (women) need. I’m sorry, but if you ask me, women, or anyone for that matter need several different types of workouts from weights, to cardio, to yoga and pilates. I congratulate the women who take the time to find a workout they love and work it into their busy schedules to do 3-5 times a week!

It even went on to say, “ANYTHING you read in any women’s fitness magazine is suspect. Actually, it’s not just suspect — you can be guaranteed that they’re feeding you inaccurate trash.” Wow. That’s a pretty bold statement. I’d tell the lady who wrote that article to check out Oxygen Magazine. It’s what got me started toward my first Women’s Physique Competition! Certainly NOT inaccurate trash!

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I’m the third from the right in the lavender suit. This photo was taken at the OCB Midwest States Bodybuilding Competition in November 2006 at the Egyptian Theater in DeKalb, Illinois.

So, let’s back up a bit and think about where this person is coming from and what exactly the message they are trying to relay is. Obviously I have no idea who this lady is that wrote this article or what her credentials are, but I think she was a little off base generalizing that every woman who wants to workout should,”put several 45-pound plates on a 45-pound barbell and deadlifting and squatting “. I agree that women should lift weights IF they are cleared to do so by their doctor. There are conditions of which lifting HEAVY weights as the person in the article advised every woman should do, is contradictory to what is truly beneficial to a persons health.

Instead of reading the article I read, I would recommend my clients read something more like this:

8 REASONS WOMEN SHOULD LIFT Or this Why Women Don’t (But Should) Lift Weights

I really liked #7 in the 8 reasons article, “As you age, you are at risk of losing both bone and muscle mass. Postmenopausal women are at a greater risk for osteoporosis because the body no longer secretes estrogen. Resistance training is an excellent way to combat loss of bone mass, and it decreases the risk of osteoporosis.”. Notice it said “RESISTANCE TRAINING”, not “LIFT HEAVY”. By the way, you can also do your own isometric resistance training if you don’t have access to weights or is you are rehabilitating an injury. 

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Iris Kyle MS Olympia  (multiple times over)

Lifting weights does have many benefits as we know, and by now most women are aware that they will NEVER look like Iris Kyle, the Ms Olympia (unnatural Ms.Olympia that you see on TV as opposed to the Natural Ms. Olympia Jodi Miller) by lifting some weights. Besides toning, tightening, and shaping the muscles into looking gorgeous body parts we all find attractive, they offer many benefits that are happening INSIDE the body that we can’t see!

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Jodi Miller, PNBA Natural Ms. Olympia 2012

Of course, if you are a woman looking to compete in Bodybuilding or power lifting competitions, obviously YES! You will have to lift heavy! That muscle doesn’t just multiply like bunnies mating! The people you see on stage take their sport very seriously and they work at it every single day. It takes hard work and dedication along with eating the right things, getting enough sleep, and more. That is INTENTIONAL muscle gains. They don’t lift what is heavy to them every single day though. High rep/lower weights and low rep/higher weigh days are worked into their workout routine along with how may sets and how many exercises for each body part.

***As always, before you start ANY fitness plan or program we always recommend getting a physical evaluation by your doctor and let him in on what your goals are. 

 

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