Weightlifting for women to the novice female lifter, can appear a daunting subject, even without mentioning the weights room! A space still largely dominated by men, there are many myths which perpetuate the uncertainty and apprehension many women feel when faced with a barbell or a pair of dumbbells. Nevertheless, more and more women are choosing to ditch their running shoes in favour of the barbell back squat, the dumbbell curl, and the leg press. Many of these women attest to greater feelings of confidence and capability. So, while weightlifting for women is making a comeback, why are so many still hesitant to try it out? Here are some of the most common myths debunked, read on for Weightlifting for Women: 5 Myths Dispelled!
Myth 1. Lifting weights will make me look bulky
Believe it or not, building muscle does not and can not simply happen overnight the moment you pick up a dumbbell! It takes a solid amount of hard work and protracted effort before you start to see gains. With proper nutrition, consistent training, and progressive overload (increasing weights over time), weight training will build lean muscle mass at a slow rate over which you have complete control. Better yet, newbie lifters can expect to experience muscle gain and fat loss at the same time, helping to create that toned, sculpted body which so many women desire. Weight training also aids fat loss by burning calories and increasing your resting metabolic heart rate.
Myth 2. Weightlifting is dangerous
With proper form, lifting weights is perfectly safe. Qualified personal trainers are always on-hand to provide guidance and many commercial gyms now offer women-only weight classes where you can comfortably learn safe and effective form, without getting overly self-conscious. A study of exercise-related emergency room visits in the U.S. in 2016 concluded that the gym exercise most likely to cause injury is, in fact, the common treadmill.
Myth 3. Lifting weights will wear my joints and bones out
Contrary to beliefs, lifting weights has been found to actually strengthen connective tissue and helps to maintain or build bone density. This can translate into excellent functional, real-world situational strength, stamina and endurance. In the long term, this helps to prevent future injuries and protect against osteoporosis.
Myth 4. Weightlifting for women is just too strenuous for their bodies
Weightlifting is a strenuous activity, as is running a 5k or performing a high-intensity spin class. Can women’s bodies cope with stress and exercise? Absolutely. The burn of lifting weights may feel unfamiliar and difficult at first, but it’s really no different than that of your first Pilates class.
Myth 5. Lifting weights is only for men
Social norms play a big role in our perception of weight training. In reality, men and women can benefit equally from weight training. And today, you will find a greater balance between men and women in the weights room. You only have to take a look at the #womenwholift tag on Instagram to realise women are taking to weights in droves, and with good reason – don’t lose out!