The title of this article has been one of the age-old questions in fitness.
There are a lot of ridiculous misconceptions surrounding this. The idea that you’ll become more manly, just because you’re a female lifting weights, is one such example.
But many of these false beliefs are dying out. And thank god that they are.
Just as is the case with men, weightlifting provides a variety of benefits for women. A proper routine can make you look better, feel stronger and improve your ability to do everyday functions.
Let’s talk more about why it’s important for women to lift weights, and how you can put together a suitable programme.
You’re not going to get bulky if you don’t want to
Let’s begin with eliminating what is many women’s biggest barrier to getting started with weight training. And to make sure that we’re all clear, I’ll write it in bold. Weight training will not make you look more like a man.
Why? Well, science. And in particular, testosterone.
As explained by Dr. Sue Pedersen, a specialist in endocrinology and metabolism based in Canada, “muscle bulk is dependent largely on testosterone production”. And since women produce a lot less of this hormone than men – various sources online state anywhere between 1/10th and 1/30th – there’s little to worry about.
Also, stop and think for a moment. How long does it take to build a significant amount of muscle? Months, if not years. You’d be able to notice yourself turning into the Incredible Hulk long before it actually happened.
Increasing strength and functionality
Not becoming as muscular as men doesn’t mean that weight training is useless for women. While you won’t grow as much visually, you’ll still become stronger with the right programme.
Lifting weights is important for not just visual reasons, either. Performing this activity on a consistent basis will also improve your functionality in everyday activities. This means that you’ll not only have to rely on fewer people, but also reduce your chances of getting injured.
Weightlifting can also be attributed to, in some cases, the alleviation of certain pains you might be suffering. For example, strengthening your glutes may get rid of lower back or knee problems. Lift for the benefits that are hidden to others, not just to pose on a beach in Southern Italy…
Sculpting a better figure
… But of course, there are aesthetic benefits to weightlifting.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to slave away on the treadmill every day to burn fat. And if you want to get ‘toned’, then performing just cardio isn’t the way to do it.
Of course, the main goal of fat loss is to create a calorie deficit. And yes, running, cycling and so on do this. But so does weightlifting, and just because you can’t see what you’ve burned on a screen in front of you doesn’t stop that from being a fact.
Pumping iron on a regular basis will make you look leaner and stronger, while also boosting your confidence levels.
But here’s the thing…
Simply picking the first ‘weightlifting for women’ regimen from Google isn’t the best idea. There’s no guarantee that this will be the right choice for you, since there isn’t a one-size-all programme.
In order to ensure that you enjoy steady progress, and do so without running the risk of injury, your best option is to think about your specific needs.
At the end of the day, you know your body better than everyone else. What worked for Jessica Ennis-Hill at the 2012 Olympics isn’t necessarily the right approach for you.
Should women lift heavy weights? Yes, absolutely. And to really maximise the benefits, your best option is to develop a routine which is tailored specifically for you.
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