Lets get this out of the way. Lifting weights will not turn you into the female equivalent of the Incredible Hulk.
Sally Moss, Founder of Strength Ambassadors, says that this idea "came from seeing pictures of freaky body builders who aren’t representative of weight lifting. But there’s no reason why just lifting weights would completely change your femininity. It actually enhances it."
Lifting weights strengthens and tones your muscles in a way that no other form of exercise will. In fact, Sally says that the women she trains completely change physically AND mentally by using weights. So it's not just about your body, lifting weights will give you a whole new attitude towards your fitness.
Frankly we can't stop raving about weight lifting, but if you still need some convincing, check out these OMG benefits for women lifting for women. We guarantee you'll be in the gym faster than you can say 'lift'.
14 reasons why you need to lift weights
1. It perfects your posture
Got problems with your posture? The British Chiropractic Association (BCA) found that 65 per cent of under-35s have experienced poor posture related neck or back issues, which could be prevented by exercise.
Weight lifting can help with that, Sally reveals that one of the biggest changes you will see from lifting weights, will be in your posture.
"We are abusing our posture with our desk bound lives. We’re sitting hunched over with our backs rounded, our shoulders are protruding forwarded, we’re not using our leg muscles. Within a few weeks of lifting weights your posture is totally different.", says Sally.
2. Weights shape your muscles
Weight lifting tackles your muscles in a completely different way to any other exercise and as a result, Sally says "weight training can give your limbs and muscles a really nice shape".
But it isn't just about shape. Building your muscles is also integral to a healthy lifestyle and can help with anything from avoiding injury to burning extra calories. Lean muscle, because it is metabolically active, burns calories even when you're not in the gym. Lovely stuff.
3. It prevents injury
If you don't use your muscles often enough, they'll be more prone to injury, it just makes sense. Typically people who just run or cycle without any weight training, can expect to get injured along the way pretty quickly as the muscles that surround the joints don't get the strength training they need. This is why all major athletes will have some form of weight training element within their training schedules.
"If those muscles aren’t working properly and not supporting your joints properly then injury is almost inevitable. Weight training maintains muscle strength too," says Sally.
4. It helps you with ANY other sport
Which brings us to our next point. If you're an athlete or training for any major running event, weight training will actually help you improve within that sport too!
5. It will improve your self esteem
It makes sense that getting fitter will make you feel better about yourself but there's something about weight training that goes beyond that. Power. Yes, cardio will make you lose weight but could you lift a chair above your head? We don't think so.
Sally says: "There are physical changes but the thing that people talk to me most about most is how they feel about what they are capable of. They lift weights they never thought they’d lift off the floor. That feeling of progress and doing something that you previously thought super-human. People become their own inspiration."
6. It burns a LOT of fat
Think cardio, cardio, and more cardio is the best way to blast your fat? Wrong.
Although fat burning isn't the main aim of weight lifting, pumping all that iron reduces your body fat faster than you might think. The LDN Muscle fitness team explain: "Weight training also burns more calories than steady state cardio during and after the session, and is a lot less boring than cardio sessions!"
In fact, the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that women who completed a 60 minute weight training workout burned an average of 100 more calories in the 24 hours afterwards than those who hadn't touched a single weight.
7. It super-charges your metabolism
Another major asset to replacing that fat with all this new muscle is that your metabolism naturally increases. "Building lean muscle is also vital in boosting your metabolic rate as you age," says LDN Muscle boys.
8. It's really safe
It might not look it, but lifting weights is a lot safer than you might think. "A lot of people are afraid of injuring themselves but really there’s no reason why lifting weights should be any more dangerous than anything else. There’s nothing intrinsically dangerous about it." explains Sally.
So there's no reason why beginners can't start right this minute! Just make sure you have a trained professional assist you when you first start. Sally has her own class Ladies Who Lift that specialise in women lifting weights from beginner to advanced levels, so check them out.
9. It maintains bone strength
Not many of us will think about our bone strength and by the time we need to, no amount of downing cartons of milk will save us.
Unfortunately, brittle bones is something that causes us girls a lot of aggro when we're old and you guessed it, "any weight training strengthens your bones and that’s so important".
10. It boosts your confidence
Sally says that being a strong, healthy woman is the ultimate confidence boost and nothing does this like lifting weights.
"It gives you an inner confidence. This traditional idea of women being these delicate, skinny creatures is very, very outdated."
11. You'll have a healthy old age
Want to be healthy and happy in your old age? Weight training will give you a massive advantage and the good news is, Sally says it's never too old to get into weights (she sees a lot of forty to fifty year olds in her classes).
"With things like strength, the earlier you start, the healthier and stronger the body will be throughout life. If you can get into them early, you’re going to have a much healthier old age. It’s never too late, you can make a lot of progress in your forties, fifties and even sixties."
12. It's the only way to improve your speed
If you want to increase your power and speed, you have to do exercise with resistance and some kind of load on them otherwise you won’t make any progress. The major mistake people make is training with the same weights for weeks. Our body will adapt to that after a few weeks so you have to keep changing.
Sally says: "The muscles you use when you want to accelerate, take your glutes for example, they’re designed for short bursts of power like sprinting and jumping, the stronger they are, the faster you can go and the further you can jump. Sprinting on it’s own can’t develop those muscles efficiently."
13. You'll look AMAZING
"Different people have different notions of what’s feminine, for me women look their best when they look fit, healthy, and capable," says Sally. We couldn't agree more.
14. There is NO reason not to
Seriously, if you'd listen, we could bang on about how good weight training is all day. With benefits like these, there's really no reason not to get to the weights pronto.
“I think the reason why a lot of women don’t do weight training is because they’re not aware of all the benefits. There’s literally no downside, it’s all upside. I can’t think of anything in your physical being that wouldn’t be improved. You’ve got everything to gain and nothing to lose.”, Sally says.
What do you think? Inspired to take up weight lifting alongside your normal gym routine? Tweet us at @sofeminineUK if you'll be heading to the weights section soon. Alternatively you can get out and do something about it - Ladies Who Lift (in the video below) will be taking new classes in April so get involved!