Strength training is an effective way to increase your fitness level, boost your metabolism and improve your physique. But statistics show that there are far more men who weight train compared to women. In fact, a recent study conducted at Bryant University found that only 53.1% of women with a gym membership lifted weights, compared to 73.3% of men.
So why are women missing out? Unfortunately, there are several damaging misconceptions which might deter women from even entering the weights section in the gym.
Myths and mysteries uncovered
Strength training will make women look bulky
Watch out ladies, if you dare to even touch a dumbbell you're at risk of gaining 10kg of muscle overnight! While this is clearly ridiculous, there does seem to be a common misconception that women who lift weights become overly muscular and 'beefy'. While weight training is effective at building muscle, it won't make you lose your feminine figure overnight. In fact, depending on the exercises you choose, weight lifting can tone your body, giving you an even leaner look. Changing your physique through lifting is a gradual process. For more information on how strength training can lead to a more lean physique, check out this study.
The weights section is just for men
Of course it can be intimidating to walk into the weights section of the gym for the first time. Especially as a beginner you may feel out of place or nervous. But remember, everyone is there to focus on their own progress. The weights section is just as much for women as it is for any man! If you're interested in lifting weights but you're nervous about strength training at a public gym it’s a good idea to take tours of different gyms first. Keep your eyes peeled. Are there other women who are training there? Do they have female instructors and employees? Finding a gym which other women also use can make you feel more comfortable.
Weight lifting is bound to lead to injury
One common misconception is that lifting weights leads to immediate injury. Just like every other sport or type of training, there is a risk of injury. But lifting safely can greatly reduce this risk. You should ensure you wear appropriate shoes, learn correct form with a professional trainer and ask somebody to spot any difficult lifts. Interestingly, research shows that weight lifting can actually combat pain. A recent study in the Journal of Rheumatology found that those who consistently performed weight training exercises had a 43% reduction in joint pain. Click here to read for yourself!
It's undeniable that there is still a gender gap in fitness, especially when it comes to strength training. But if you’re a woman who is looking to improve your fitness, weight training might be just the thing for you!
Written by Eliza Wishart - Chief Marketing + Content Officer @ Hits Different