It is rare to come across women who engage in strength training workouts because of one reason: They fear to end up like professional weight lifters.
The undeniable fact is, vigorous strength training combined with healthy eating will without a doubt build muscle. The good news is, if done properly, strength training exercises can add value to any woman’s life. Here is how.
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Scientifically proven benefits of strength training for women
1. Burns body fat faster
Strength training burns fat faster compared to other workouts such as indoor aerobics, yoga, and the rest. Unlike other exercises, it works well to burn the fats that surround your body muscles during and after you complete the workout.
2. Increases energy
National Institute of Health posted a study suggesting that energy increase after a workout session may alter the balance between oxidation and energy balance. The more you train for strength, the more the muscles involved gains endurance. So, engaging in some strength training in the morning might give you the energy to perform other daily duties.
3. Relieves stress
Several studies have proven that exercising is one of the most effective ways to manage stress. Strength training isn’t an exception. According to several researchers, regular strength training works for stress much better than other remedies and is healthier than taking pills.
4. Good for your health
According to the America Heart Association, building strength can reduce the risks of heart complications. Another study confirmed that, when heart disease patients train to gain strength, both their heart rate and blood pressure reduces after some time.
5. Better sleep
It has been noted that those who train to gain strength, sleep much better than those who don’t. International Sports Med Journal mentioned that working out in the morning or evening significantly impacts the sleeping patterns.
As you can see, strength training isn’t just about adding mass. It is vital for your overall health. But this doesn’t eliminate the fact that it can make your muscles much bigger if not performed correctly. If you are looking for building strength without bulking up, here are some few tips.
Strength training tips for women who don’t want to bulk up
1. Do a lot of plyometric exercises
Plyometric exercises are simply, workouts that employ much force at shorter time intervals intended to improve both your speed as well as strength. While performing these workouts, your body uses its stored energy effectively to produce stronger contradictions.
Here are some of the best plyometric exercises for women
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- Box jump– Place a 6-inch box in front of you, squat with your feet approximately shoulder-width apart, jump explosively and land onto the box, stand and then get back to the starting position. Aim for 8 to 10 reps
- Weighted Lateral jumps– Take light barbells on both sides. Squat and ensure that all your body weight is distributed evenly. Jump upwards to the left and then to the right repeatedly
- Barbell squat jumps– Place some light barbell on your back the same way you do in a back squat. Squat quarterly and then perform a vertical jump as usual. Aim for two sets of 6 reps
- Scissor Jumps– Stand straight with your left foot in the front of your right and spaced approximately, 2.5 feet apart. With your elbows bent about 90 degrees, jump and switch both your legs and arms. This time your right foot should be in front with your left leg at the back. Do this repeatedly, aiming for three sets of 20 reps.
You can also try other plyometric workouts such as skater jumps, broad jumps and more.
2. Hill sprints
Strength is all about speed and power, and nothing works best for legs than sprints. Sprinting works on several twitch muscles on your legs increasing strength and take-off speed that is vital for athletes. It also improves the rate at which your body burns the fats around your muscles.
3. Explosive weight lifting
As mentioned earlier, strength training can add weight, and that is what you might be feared as a woman. The good news is, you can avoid bulking up by lifting weights explosively. Among the best exercises, you can perform explosively include, including speed dead, speed bench, box squats and more.
- Stretch after and not before working out– Stretching before workouts have been proven to negatively impact the production of strength, speed, and agility you need to exercise properly. So, stretch after and not before exercising
- Focus on your weakest muscles– You won’t be doing yourself any good by working on your strongest muscle and leaving the weak one. Because you will be building overall strength, perform exercises that will influence mostly your weak muscles that can be your leg, arm, back or core muscles
- Rest between your workouts – The best way to gain from strength training is by allowing your muscles to rest properly before the next exercise. Doing this will give you the strength to continue. So allow approximately one minute of rest between your workouts
- Eat well– Unless you are planning to add weight, avoid a lot of fatty or sugary foods that will encourage the accumulation of fat around your muscles. Instead, take a lot of fruits, vegetables, proteins, and healthy fats.
The bottom line
Strength training is one of the most complicated exercises for women who don’t want to add size. One thing most women forget is that strength training is not all about building muscle but training the muscle to react explosively. The exercises and tips mentioned above focus on toning your muscles while at the same time building strength and speed needed for a healthier lifestyle.