Strong not only looks good - it's essential. Why women should lift weights (and heavy)

Those who have trained with me know I am a massive advocate of women lifting weights (heavy ones) and for very good reason. As referenced in ROAR, a book by Stacy Sims PhD. Exercise Physiologist & Nutrional Scientist states that from around age 30, women begin to lose muscle density and lean mass slips at a rate of around 3 percent per decade between the ages of 30 to 80 and strength declines by 30 percent between the age of 50 to 70.

Whilst I will not go into science or hormones, what I will speak to is encouraging women to lift weight so they are able to remain strong, able and live independantly, as mentioned above you can see how rapidly muscle and strength are lost.

When choosing a weight to start with, try lifting something for 10 reps, if you feel you can complete further reps the weight is too light, of course the starting point will always be to focus on form, isolating the tagerted muscle group without the reliance on momentum, however as a reference point, the 10 rep rule for load is a good starting point.

Within MOVE's training sessions we take a full body approach, however sessions are tailored to the individual needs of the client. I will say in my experience of training clients, women need to work much harder for upper body strength and this becomes a focus area. 1, for function and 2, for asthetics, becasue lovely toned arms and a strong back are highly desireable.

As women / mothers our lifestle habits and occupations have us spending majority of our time lifting, carrying, sitting, feeding, reaching as example, all of which are anatomically working the anterior (front) of our bodies which over time can result in rounded shoulders, over active upper traps, weakened core, decreased breathing capacity, tight hip flexors and if you're a high heel wearer it can wreak havoc with your dorsiflexion / ankle mobility (think ability to squat deeply) We could go on, however for the purpose of this article we are going to focus on the upper body portion and for the reasons stated above, is why MOVE's sessions will always focus largely on pulling patterns rather than pushing, posterior chain to counteract lifestyle/ocupational habits.

Building greater awareness through posture so you not only move better, you look better, and are proud & confident in your strong body. As a coach there's nothing better than seeing a woman work on her strength, lift weights and gain confidence through working hard. If you need some inspiration of what's possible, please stop by @trainwithjoan, Joan Macdonald, 73 years young - an absolute queen in my eyes, living proof that lifting weights and training at any age is truely transformational.

Have I convinced you, yet?


Image by Natalie Davies Photography

Dr Stacy Sims PhD.

Joan Macdonald - @trainwithjoan

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