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6 female strength training myths that persist

6 weibliche Krafttrainingsmythen, die sich hartnäckig halten

It's time to debunk six popular and widely held myths about strength training for women that are very persistent.

There are dozens of these myths, but the six discussed below are the most widespread myths. It's time to dispel them once and for all.

Myth #1: Training with weights makes women bulky and muscular

Unsurprisingly, this is still the most common myth regarding women and strength training, but regular, progressive, heavy training with basic multi-joint exercises definitely does not make women bulky and overly muscular.

The real culprit that gives women (or anyone!) a bulky and out-of-shape appearance is excess body fat.

I can deadlift at 150 kilos, do pull-ups with extra weight, dips on parallel bars and squats at 1.5 times my body weight and not look bulky or unfeminine. All of my clients do progressive weight training (and of course I always use exercises that are appropriate for the woman in question and cater to her preferences) and not one of them has complained about getting too bulky during my 10 years as a personal trainer.

Many women are hesitant to move heavy weights because of this persistent myth, but after a few weeks they love the physical AND mental results they achieve in conjunction with other phenomenal strength training benefits.

Bottom line: Progressive strength training helps women build the body they really want. It also helps to increase self-confidence, which is a fantastic added bonus.

Of course, it's important to realize that not every woman wants to achieve the same body. Some women want to build as much muscle as possible, while others just want to look 'toned' but not too muscular. In addition, different women have different body types. For example, I have long limbs and a relatively short torso, so my body looks completely different to the body of a woman of the same height and weight who has the exact opposite build - short limbs and a long torso.

If your goal is to lose fat but not get too bulky and muscular, then you don't need to worry. Strength training will help you achieve this goal better than cardio alone. But you won't wake up one morning looking like the Hulk after a few weeks of training with weights.

Myth #2: Working out with weights is not the best way to lose fat & achieve that "toned" look

If a woman's primary goal is to lose body fat and get leaner, then she just needs to do cardio, right?

Absolutely wrong!

The only way to achieve that "toned" and shapely look is to build some muscle and lose excess body fat. That's why a well-planned workout with weights is the ultimate way to achieve the body you want in the shortest possible time.

Myth #3: Training with weights is too time consuming

No, it's not, you can do an effective workout with weights within 30 minutes a few times a week. As long as you use multi-joint exercises and challenge yourself (use enough weight) and improve your performance, you won't need much time.

You can achieve excellent results with just two training sessions with weights per week.

The most important thing, of course, is that you focus on the quality and not the quantity of your training. Work hard with a few excellent exercises, increase your performance whenever possible and be consistent.

Myth #4: You need a lot of equipment

This is also not the case. Do you need a fully equipped gym to build a strong, lean and healthy body? No!

You can build the body you want regardless of what equipment you have or don't have. Do you only have your body weight to work with? That's all you need.

What if you only have your own bodyweight to work with? Can you only build a great body with exercises that use your own body weight? No problem. You can find numerous programs for this on the internet.

Conclusion: Whether you can only train at home with your own body weight or you have access to a fully equipped gym, you can build the body you want.

Focus on what you can do with the equipment you have at your disposal.

Myth #5: Strength training is dangerous.

Everything is dangerous if you do it incorrectly. Strength training is no exception.

As long as you take the time to learn the correct form for the basic exercises and always have a training partner (who can help you with heavy weights) or additional safety features (e.g. squats in a rack with safety racks), training with weights is very safe. There is not much more to say about this.

Myth #6: The right way for women to train with weights is to perform many repetitions with light weights.

This is a common recommendation (which is sometimes meant to be derogatory). Women should only use very light weights and do lots of repetitions (usually 15 or more) - or so the myth goes.

While high repetition exercises may have their place and benefits in a strength training program, they shouldn't be the only thing you do and they shouldn't be what you do most of the time.

I like to encourage women to challenge themselves and discover what their bodies are truly capable of. I want them to recognize the physical strength they have and not make their self-esteem dependent only on their appearance. Of course, this can't be achieved with tricep kickbacks using a soup can as a weight - not even with the family size.

If you're not using a weight that challenges you, then you're probably not providing your body with sufficient training stimulus to adapt to. For example, if you've worked your way up to absolutely perfect push-ups with 10 or more reps per set, then you'll get those sexy arms you're after. A soup can won't be able to do this, as the weight never changes and super high reps with baby weights won't be a challenge for your body.

In addition, moving heavy weights (primarily with 6 to 12 reps) will lead to increased confidence, which is just one of many reasons why women should train with weights. As long as you haven't experienced this phenomenon yourself, you'll just have to take my word for it. I have seen this happen with every single one of my clients. Do you think you will feel strong and confident after vigorously attacking the weight of your shake for 5 minutes? I don't think so.

By Nia Shanks


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