THE TOP 5 REASONS WHY WOMEN NEED TO LIFT HEAVY
Time to read 3 min
Time to read 3 min
Have a pat on the lats, you've eared it. However, this is just the beginning.
While you've done an amazing job so far applying the principles of resistance training, you can take this to the next level with strength training, specifically focusing on heavy, compound movements.
Now, if you're a regular to the <5kg dumbbells and know every machine in the gym like the back of your hand, this is going to be unfamiliar territory, but don't fret! We're going to outline the Top 5 Reasons why scrapping the high rep isolation work is going to become counter-productive sooner or later, and why the squat rack and olympic bar will be your new best friend in the house of iron.
You've probably realised by now that lifting weights kicks trudging on a treadmill's ass ten times over. But did you know that strength training, in particular working with heavy weight in a lower rep range, can also have amazing fat-blasting benefits?
Remember that "heavy" is a completely "subjective term", and it's a great idea to find out what your 1RM (One Rep Max) is so that you know what you're working with, and can track your increased strength. Try working within sets of 6-8, or even for going for 5 sets of 5 reps, with plenty of rest in between to push out that last rep every set.
If worrying about putting on too much muscle is what's holding you back, then think again. The huge dudes and bulky ladies didn't get that way just by doing compound lifts, it comes from a consistent calorie surplus, hormones and training volume.
Favouring movements such as Deadlifts, Squats, Overhead Press and Pull Ups aren't going to turn you into the incredible hulk overnight, you'll simply be recruiting more muscle fibres to build a better, stronger you!
Do you think those amazing glutes and those toned quads and hammies are built on machines? Think again.
The tried and true best way of building a perky booty and the legs of your dreams are with squats and deadlifts. Heavy ones. Not only do these lifts activate more muscle groups than any other lower body movements (let's not forget the lunge too!), but the nature of these movements allows you to move more weight, and therefore, build more strength.
Plus don't neglect the upper body! Rows, presses and pulls are great movements to not only build a well toned upper body, but your arms will be assisting with every set, developing your biceps, triceps and forearms and keeping them lean.
If you're doing the majority of your workout seated or isolating specific muscle groups on machines, you're probably switching your core off. Core strength is absolutely vital to overall body health, posture and wellbeing, and particularly if you work in a seated job, the last thing you want to do is neglect the core!
While bridges and leg raises are fantastic ways to target your core specifically, focusing on standing compound movements is a great way to keep that core firing for your whole workout, and build a firmer and tighter midsection while you're at it.
We've talked about the physical benefits in the above points, but we haven't even begun to touch on the mental benefits of strength training!
Other than how unbelievably satisfying it is to throw around an olympic bar with a couple of plates, the endorphins released after a gruelling strength session will leave you feeling fantastic for hours. You'll often hear of runners and cyclists talk about the "runner's high", an endorphin release after a long period of cardio vascular exercise, but a similar endorphin rush can be triggered by strenuous weight training, work with heavy compound movements!
And that's not to mention the added confidence and self esteem that comes after a seeing strength increases you never thought were possible!