On a number of different occasions, I’ve heard women provide the same response to the idea of incorporating resistance training in their workout routines – “I don’t want to look like a man!!”
Now that’s a valid concern because most women I know (especially the most important one – my wife) prefer to retain a more feminine physique. The fear has always been that consistently pumping 10 repetitions with a dumbbell would make them look like the Incredible Hulk. Now, insert mental image of the Hulk with long hair and lipstick. Now, that’s not my cup of tea but there’s someone for everybody because true beauty is internal and not external. But, I digress…
This notion is purely a myth because only a very small percentage of women possess the genetic capacity to build a significant amount of muscle mass. Are you sure you may ask? Of course I am, because it has everything to do with science.
Why you may ask? Men are predominately bigger in size, have more muscle tissue, and higher quantities of anabolic hormones (i.e. testosterone) than women. A ton of benefits can be realized from resistance training. A woman that doesn’t perform any resistance training will lose 0.5 lbs. of muscle each year. Here are a few:
Increased RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate)
Increased BMD (Bone Mineral Density) – important to reduce the risk of osteoporosis
Lean physical appearance
Makes ADL (Activities of Daily Living) easier by focusing on core functional movements (i.e. pushing, pulling, single-leg lifts, bend-and-lift, and rotational)
So, don’t hesitate to add some resistance training. An effective exercise program includes both aerobic and anaerobic training. For example, a total body resistance training workout with enough weight to complete 12-15 repetitions per set that’s done 2-3 days per week will do wonders for you. Actually, I’d encourage starting with body weight movements before adding any external weight. Resistance bands are great too. The key to success is proper form and not the amount of resistance.
**Note – before you incorporate any new physical activity please consult with a medical professional. Now, go play with some barbells and dumbbells!