Why Women Need Strength Training (Part 2)
In the last decade or so researchers have published many compelling studies on why women of all ages need to strength train. Strength or resistance training not only helps to build and maintain muscle mass but improves bone density as well. Although it is easy to establish the importance of strength training, a lot of women struggle with where to start. A number of options are available to women in the gym like body weights, weight machines, free weights (dumbbells/barbells/kettlebells/medicine balls) and pulleys. However an inexperienced individual can have serious confidence issues when getting started. It is advisable that beginners focus on weight machines that put them in a fixed position and provide muscle isolation. As they gain experience they can use equipment that provide less structure and control such as free weights and pulleys.
The following table highlights the basic resistance training guidelines.
As shown in the table above, the main focus for a beginner should be on learning the correct exercises with proper technique. It is important to note that at the end of each set you should not be able to complete another rep with good technique. In other words the weight should be heavy enough so you can’t do any more reps without a rest period. Another point to remember is that the heavier the weight, the fewer the number of reps and the longer the rest period required between sets.
* 1 Rep Max is the maximum weight you can lift for one complete repetition across a range of exercises.
** The table above has been referenced from Foundations of Professional Personal Training