Women have such a complex relationship with lifting weights and resistance training. We want to lift, but don’t know how. We are afraid that lifting will make us bulk up. We are willing to lift, but do it with a fluorescent weight that is lighter than our purse. We read articles telling us how great resistance training is for our overall health and body composition, yet we are intimidated to go into the weight-section of the gym where the hard-core fitness enthusiasts live in low cut tanks with muscles bulging everywhere.
Here’s the thing: you should be lifting weights. Well, that’s not entirely true. You should be resistance training. Let’s get some terminology clear: weight lifting is using resistance to load the muscles; the benefit is the resistance, or load, on the muscles while they move. So, let me rephrase that: you should be resistance training.
There are so many benefits to resistance training. Here are a few:
Metabolism boost: More muscles means more calories burned at rest. (I had you at ‘more calories, burned, right?”). Additionally, a resistance training workout will have a greater after burn. Meaning, you will burn more calories through the day.
Increases bone density: Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens our bones and our joints and resistance training helps keep our bones strong.
Improve confidence: feeling strong will positively impact your sense of self and empower the inner-you to be your best.
Strong is the new sexy-Resistance training results in toned muscles and a lean body definition. Essentially, you’ll look better naked, and you’ll be able to get your bag down from the overhead bin on your own…that’s definitely sexy.
With fitness and workout technology what it is today, there are so many ways to resistance train. Most gyms have an assortment of machines to make it easier to navigate resistance training exercises, and the emergence of the TRX, or suspension training system (my personal favorite), is a great way to safely add resistance to your muscles. There are also some simple, but very effective, exercises that can be done at home.
The squat is an all-around winner when it comes to resistance training our lower body. Working our muscles from the glutes to our calves, a good squat gets every part of our booty and legs. This lower-body all-inclusive should be a staple. BUT, you have to do it correctly, and avoid common mistakes.
- Your feet should be shoulder width or a bit wider with your feet pointed forward.
- As you lower down, bend at the hips. Your torso should remain long and your spine should not bend.
- Your butt should go back and down, but your back should stay flat. Think about peeing on a low port-a-potty without touching the seat.
- Leg length and bone structure could alter your leg position slightly, however your weight should remain on the heels and balls of your feet, allowing you to wiggle your toes at any point in the movement.
- Each repetition is a lowering down (bending at the knees and hips), and then raising back up to a standing position.