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Silový trénink pro ženy? Ano! 12 důvodů, proč cvičit a posilovat

Strength Training for Women? Yes! 12 Reasons to Pump Iron

Is there anyone today who believes that strength training is only for men? I hope not. The myth that women who work out with weights look like men is long gone. In fact, it would be a shame to deprive yourself, ladies, of the positive effects of strength training.

You want a toned body with sexy curves, don’t you? But aesthetics are not the only advantage. Imagine your constant upbeat mood, better stress management, and even improved overall health. Join us as we take a look at how strength training can change your life for the better. 

Benefits of strength training for women

1. Firm and toned physique

Women who want to lose weight often focus only on endurance training, such as runnning, cycling, swimming, and the like. That’s a shame. While cardio is a great way to get rid of excess fat, you’ll never get the figure your favourite fitness model on Instagram has. She’s worked hard for her rounded buttocks.

Moreover, a toned figure looks better and more symmetrical, if you don’t focus only on certain parts. This is a mistake often made by women who have a larger lower body. This is partly due to a wider pelvis and genetics, in addition to lifestyle, which can cause more fat to be stored in this area. But women still want to lose weight in this area, so they constantly exercise only their legs and buttocks.

Even if these areas get firmer, they will probably still look bulky compared to the upper body. The key is to exercise the whole body and not leave out the upper body. The whole body will then look symmetrical and the bigger buttocks and wider thighs will blend together better. If you have an area of your body that you consider problematic, strength training is the perfect way to work on it.

If you’re wondering what proper training and a healthy diet can do for your body, you shouldn’t miss our article How Does Your Body and Mind Change When You Start Exercising and Eating Healthy?

Firm and toned physique thanks to strength training

2. Easier weight loss

Firming and shaping the body can go hand in hand with weight loss. If you have some extra fat, strength training can be a great way to get rid of it. Even if you burn more kcal per hour by running, for example, it’s not crucial in this respect. In fact, after weight training you continue to burn calories for free and you don’t have to do anything extra to do so. This “magic” is called EPOC (Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption). The idea is that after exercise, our body has increased oxygen consumption, which translates into higher caloric expenditure. This popular phenomenon can also be known as metabolic acceleration. This most often lasts 24 – 48 hours after weight training. The number of calories burned and the duration of faster resting metabolism depends on the intensity of the exercise. [1-4]

Expenditure during training itself is certainly not negligible either. Depending on the intensity, an average 65 kg woman can burn 390 – 650 kcal per hour of strength training with weights. That’s definitely not a small amount. When you combine that with an even lower calorie intake, the results will come really soon. [5]

However, with strength training you will not only lose fat that is visible. It will also gradually reduce the amount of visceral fat around organs, which is associated with an increased risk of developing chronic diseases. Thus, it is ideal to reduce its volume in the body. [6]

If you’re wondering how many calories you burn through different activities, you shouldn’t miss our article How to Lose a Kilo of Fat and How Much Energy is Actually Hidden in It?

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3. More food on your plate

As mentioned above, strength training burns a high amount of calories, both during and after exercise. Unless you don’t want to lose weight, you need to supplement this expenditure in some way, especially if you want to gain some muscle.

Let’s see what 400 – 500 kcal can look like on a plate:

Are you afraid of gaining weight, so you avoid all your favourite treats? Thanks to strength training, you can put this worry out of your mind. You will see that if you lift iron, you don’t have to worry at all that the cake at the café will somehow take a toll on your figure. Rather, you can look forward to it giving you energy for your next workout. And the best part? You’ll gradually see that you can treat yourself to some extra goodies and still look just as great.

Thanks to strength training, you can eat more

4. Improved posture

Over time, you’ll start to notice that your body is changing in some way, and not just because of your rounded buttocks. In fact, strength training will gradually firm and strengthen most of the muscles in your body. And core muscles are no exception. Nowadays, when people spend most of the day sitting in an office, we already consider hunched and rounded backs as something normal. And we have also come to accept hip and cervical spine pain as normal.

Correctly performed strength training can deal with both. It will help strengthen the back muscles that act as a support for the spine. This is mainly due to the strengthening of the deep stabilization system (specifically the deep muscles of the trunk and back). Sitting and walking upright will suddenly become much more natural for you. Correct posture will also reduce back pain that may have plagued you for years. Let’s face it, correct posture without a rounded back and slumped shoulders makes you feel more confident.

If you want to learn more about back pain, you shouldn’t miss our article Back Pain: The 10 Most Common Causes and Ways to Get Rid of It.

You can also take advantage of the advice in our article 7 Tips To Beat Back Pain Caused by Sitting for Long Periods. 

5. Better performance in sports

Very often athletes are divided into two groups – strength and endurance athletes. The first group of athletes are trying to build muscle mass and strength that will help them lift heavier weights. Endurance athletes, on the other hand, need to be as light as possible so that they don’t have to carry excess muscle weight and thus slow themselves down. But can these two groups of athletes also learn something from each other?

Strength athletes often avoid endurance activities because they are unreasonably afraid of losing their hard-earned muscles. They often don’t realise how important these activities are for the cardiovascular system and other aspects of health. As long as they maintain an optimal calorie intake, they don’t have to worry about losing their muscles after a few hours of running. It really doesn’t work that way. Therefore, they should definitely not avoid these forms of exercise.

It is similar for endurance athletes. They, in turn, typically don’t want to do strength training, lest they gain muscle that would be an unnecessary load. Unfortunately, they don’t take into account the benefits they gain from strength training. In fact, strong muscles can also help endurance athletes perform better.

For example, a study on runners showed that strength training improved their running performance. The positive effect is also confirmed by a study conducted on elite cyclists. The group that incorporated strength training for sixteen weeks experienced a 12% increase in quadriceps strength and an 8% improvement in 45 minute time trial performances compared to the control group. [7-10]

As you can see, ladies, strength training can help you improve in other sports you play. If you want to be a better runner, cyclist or even swimmer, all the more reason to pick up the weights.

Better running performance through strength training

6. Stronger bones and lower risk of injury

You may be surprised to learn that strength training does not only strengthen your muscles, but also your bones and tendons. When you load your body with heavy weights, it has to adapt. Thus, it works to make the bones, joints, tendons and other parts of the body stronger to handle the load. You may not appreciate it now, but when you’re older, you’ll see that you’ll thank yourself for the volume of strength training undertaken.

This way you can successfully prevent bone thinning (osteopenia – a precursor to osteoporosis), osteoporosis and other problems associated with low bone density. These include, in particular, increased brittleness, which can have fatal consequences later in life. In addition, a strong body is much better supported and so will help prevent falls. The results of a meta-analysis confirm that strength training can reduce the risk of falls in older people (mean age of respondents was 76 years) by up to 34%. [11-13]

In addition, strength training will improve your strength, range of motion and the function of your joints, ligaments and tendons. So you can expect to become a more well-rounded athlete who will be able to perform better. In addition, strength training can also help you prevent various injuries, as scientific studies have confirmed. You can owe this not only to a stronger body, better flexibility and mobility. [14-15]

In addition to strength training, adequate intake of protein, calcium, vitamin K and vitamin D is also important for bone health. Read more about it in our article Vitamin D and All You Need to Know About It.

7. Lower risk of developing various illnesses

Strength training can influence your health in many ways. 

It can help, for example:

  • in improving the health of the cardiovascular system (blood circulation and strengthening of the heart and blood vessels)
  • in lowering blood pressure – study results show that strength training could work as a supportive strategy to prevent and combat high blood pressure
  • in improving blood lipid profiles, such as cholesterol
  • in improving the body’s blood sugar regulation, but may also help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes [16-20]

As you can see, strength training is actually a universal remedy for many problems. And if any of them are already bothering you, all the more that you should start with it. 

Reduced risk of developing various illnesses through strength training

8. Better stress management

Well, think about how you sometimes feel before a workout. Your head is full of worries, you are wondering what’s ahead of you, or you are analysing if you should have acted differently in some situation. Your head is just constantly a mess and you already consider stress such a normal part of your life. Can you somehow get rid of it, or at least reduce its level? You can! The solution is, unexpectedly, again strength training and other physical activities.

During a workout you’re facing new challenges, lifting heavier weights, and outperforming yourself. Furthermore, you surely don’t have time to think about whether you’ve had a good day at work, how many tasks you have ahead of you, or that fight you had with your boss. All the stressors just go away. And after the workout, when you remember the stressful things in hindsight, you’ll see that even the biggest problems will seem like small things compared to the weights on the barbell. Stress will stop controlling you, and feeling good after a workout will help you see problems through fresh eyes.

If you want to learn more about how to manage stress, you shouldn’t miss our article Why Is Stress Dangerous and How to Reduce It?

9. Better mood

During a workout you will relax and as a bonus you can enjoy a better mood and a rush of endorphins (happy hormones). These are responsible for you leaving the gym with a smile from ear to ear. What’s more, a meta-analysis of more than thirty studies suggests that strength training can also help fight anxiety and depression. However, it’s not just strength training that brings similar benefits. Walking at a brisk pace, running or any other endurance activity that makes you happy can also work wonders. [21-22]

Better mood thanks to strength training

10. Better quality sleep

Does it happen to you, ladies, that your partner is already asleep and you are still looking at the ceiling for hours and counting sheep? Who wouldn’t be annoyed, right? And it’s even worse when you keep waking up at night. In the morning, you probably feel like you’ve been run over by a steamroller. Strength training can be helpful in this regard, too. It reliably tires out the body and you naturally feel a greater need for rest. Lower stress levels can also make it easier for you to fall asleep.

However, sport and performance work in such symbiosis that they influence each other. Physical exercise has a positive effect on sleep and can in turn affect your sporting performance. By being rested, you will be able to lift heavier weights and be faster at the same time. And if you’re looking to lose some kilos, you’ll appreciate that strength training and a quality sleep can reduce sweet cravings and make weight loss better overall. So benefits all round. [23–24]

If you want more tips on how to fall asleep easily and wake up refreshed, you should not miss our article How To Fall Asleep Quickly? Try Our Simple Tips for a Better Sleep.

11. Improved cognitive skills

Do you skip a workout because you have an important exam or presentation at work and need to prepare as much as possible? Maybe it’s not the best idea to sit at it all day. A head full of thoughts probably won’t be able to go 100% all day anyway. However, do you know what will help it relax and focus better afterwards? Yes, you guessed right, it’s strength training.

With weight workout, your brain will be better supplied with nutrients and oxygen, which can significantly affect your level of cognitive function. In fact, this is confirmed by research that shows that strength training has significantly improved attention, concentration, and even reduced reaction time. The results were observed even after 2-3 weeks of training. So it’s never too late to start. Another benefit that you will appreciate, especially during busy periods, is the ability of strength training to increase productivity. Thus, regular training can help us work more efficiently and ultimately save some of those minutes for other important activities. [25-26]

Better focus and concentration through strength training

12. Greater self-confidence

Less fat, a stronger body and skills you never dreamed of before. It all goes hand in hand with the more confident self-image. Just wait until you find yourself fitting back into the clothes you wore a few years ago. Stress reduction, better mood and increased productivity will then contribute even more to your overall satisfaction. This will make you better able to face challenging tasks. It’s not just you who will see these positive changes in yourself. It’s only a matter of time before those around you start to notice them too. This will then make you even more confident that you are on the right path.

For more tips on living a happy life, check out our article 10 Ways to Be Happier in Life.

What should you remember?

It is clear from our list that strength training can literally turn your life around, and of course only in a good way. You’ll see some of the benefits first hand. Your body fat will decrease, and your overall physique will become firmer. You might even finally put on your favourite pants that have been sitting in your wardrobe for years.

A firmer physique will improve your posture, so it’s quite possible that you’ll also get rid of unpleasant back pain. Your health will improve in other areas as well. Not to mention your psyche. In addition to feeling better, you’ll also feel less stress, and you’ll even sleep better. The icing on the cake is also a full plate of food that you can enjoy without gaining weight. You can thank your accelerated post-workout metabolism for that. Simply put, once you start strength training, the benefits will convince you that this was the right decision.

Sources:

[1] THE AFTERBURN EFFECT: UNDERSTANDING THE SCIENCE OF EPOC – https://www.precor.com/en/resources/coaching-centre/afterburn-effect-understanding-science-epoc

[2] Resistance Training and EPOC – https://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/epoc.html

[3] Cynthia A. Gillette et al. – Postexercise Energy Expenditure in Response to Acute Aerobic or Resistive Exercise. – https://doi.org/10.1123/ijsn.4.4.347

[4] Dolezal, B. A., Potteiger, J. A., Jacobsen, D. J., & Benedict, S. H. – Muscle damage and resting metabolic rate after acute resistance exercise with an eccentric overload. – https://doi.org/10.1097/00005768-200007000-00003

[5] Compendium of Physical Activities – https://sites.google.com/site/compendiumofphysicalactivities/home?authuser=0

[6] Johanna K Ihalainen et al. – Strength Training Improves Metabolic Health Markers in Older Individual Regardless of Training Frequency – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30774600/

[7] Bazyler, Caleb D. MA et al. – Strength Training for Endurance Athletes – https://journals.lww.com/nsca-scj/fulltext/2015/04000/strength_training_for_endurance_athletes__theory.1.aspx

[8] B R Rønnestad et al. – Optimizing strength training for running and cycling endurance performance: A review – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23914932/

[9] Yamamoto, Linda M et al. – The Effects of Resistance Training on Endurance Distance Running Performance Among Highly Trained Runners: A Systematic Review – https://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/fulltext/2008/11000/the_effects_of_resistance_training_on_endurance.43.aspx?casa_token=E4AjbBKxeXIAAAAA:itCy8ChtYltm8XfDZ5LYY1WpdBoyf4uyhCZkP5VT_gQcg-rBI_qijR5l_nNuIFVAT98fdN8u6wh25dH_IUM30fM

[10] P. Aagaard et al. – Effects of resistance training on endurance capacity and muscle fiber composition in young top-level cyclists – https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1600-0838.2010.01283.x

[11] Catherine Sherrington et al. – Exercise for preventing falls in older people living in the community – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30703272/

[12] Belinda R Beck et al. – Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA) position statement on exercise prescription for the prevention and management of osteoporosis – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27840033/

[13] Paul Rowe; Adam Koller; Sandeep Sharma – Physiology, Bone Remodeling – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499863/

[14] Marco Beato et al. – Implementing Strength Training Strategies for Injury Prevention in Soccer: Scientific Rationale and Methodological Recommendations – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33503589/

[15] Benjamin K Walters et al. – The effects of resistance training, overtraining, and early specialization on youth athlete injury and development – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28597618/

[16] Hayley V MacDonald et al. – Dynamic Resistance Training as Stand-Alone Antihypertensive Lifestyle Therapy: A Meta-Analysis – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27680663/

[17] Wayne L. Westcott, PhD – Resistance Training is Medicine: Effects of Strength Training on Health – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22777332/

[18] Bong-Sup Park – Effects of Elastic Band Resistance Training on Glucose Control, Body Composition, and Physical Function in Women With Short- vs. Long-Duration Type-2 Diabetes – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26562712/

[19] JungHoon Lee et al. – Resistance Training for Glycemic Control, Muscular Strength, and Lean Body Mass in Old Type 2 Diabetic Patients: A Meta-Analysis – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5446383/

[20] Véronique A Cornelissen et al. – Effect of resistance training on resting blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15662209/

[21] Brett R. Gordon, MSc et al. – Association of Efficacy of Resistance Exercise Training With Depressive Symptoms – https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/2680311

[22] Brett R. Gordon et al. – The Effects of Resistance Exercise Training on Anxiety: A Meta-Analysis and Meta-Regression Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials – https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs40279-017-0769-0

[23] Yanbo Chen et al. – Relationship between sleep and muscle strength among Chinese university students: a cross-sectional study – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5749041/

[24] Cheri D Mah et al. – The effects of sleep extension on the athletic performance of collegiate basketball players – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21731144/

[25] Gisela Sjøgaard et al. – Exercise is more than medicine: The working age population's well-being and productivity – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30356522/

[26] Katharina Wittfeld et al. – Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Gray Matter Volume in the Temporal, Frontal, and Cerebellar Regions in the General Population – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31902428/