Why Every Woman Should Lift Weights

If you want to lose body fat, gain confidence, increase bone density, and overall, look amazing, you have to lift weights. I don’t care if you are a man or woman.

When I first got into the fitness industry, were trying to get “toned” in group fitness class with pink light weight dumbbells or cardio queens spending endless hours on the elliptical machine. We have come a long way since then but not far enough.  Crossfit and Olympic lifting has helped change the thoughts around heavy lifting ladies for the better. Endless memes and quotes on social media have empowered women across the world to embrace the lifting realm. 

While this has been an amazing movement in fitness for women, there are still many people out there who still believe that lifting weights will cause excessive muscle growth. (For the men reading this article, you know that gaining a significant amount of muscle is not that easy.) The avid weightlifter looks to gain muscle for many years and in reality, they don’t get that much bigger. They want to get bigger, no doubt about it, but it’s just not that easy.

There are many variables that cause muscle growth and one of the most influential variables is hormones. Men have a clear advantage since our primary sex hormone is testosterone; a hormone that helps build boatloads of muscle during certain parts of a male’s life. Females, on the other hand, produce mostly estrogen and less testosterone.

A female’s hormonal environment is not optimal for appreciable muscle growth. Lifting weights will not naturally result in huge and masculine-looking muscles. It simply doesn’t happen that easily.

Why lifting weights is so important

More muscle equals more metabolism: Studies performed by Wayne Westcott, PhD, from the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Massachusetts, found that the average woman who strength-trains two to three times a week for two months will gain nearly two pounds of muscle and will lose 3.5 pounds of fat.1 As lean muscle increases, so does resting metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories throughout the day.

Bone Health: If you are a woman in your 20’s and 30’s, you probably are not thinking about osteoporosis yet, but you should be. Many studies have shown that lifting weights regularly can increase bone density. Other forms of exercise just don’t provide the same benefits. The only true way to do this is to lift heavy stuff and then put it back down. Be proactive now, so you don’t have problems later.

Strong makes everything easier: Strength training improves athletic ability. Golfers can significantly increase their driving power. Cyclists are able to ride for longer periods of time with less fatigue. Skiers improve technique and reduce injury. Whatever sport you play, strength training can improve overall performance as well as reduce the risk of injury.

Mood Boost & Confidence: The act of strength training produces mood-improving neurotransmitters such as endorphins, dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.

Women who strength train report feeling more confident and capable as a result of their training. That gym confidence starts to leak into every other aspect of life. A strong lady in the weight room = a confident lady outside of the gym.Crushing weights in the gym is simply the best natural medicine.

Now that you have an understanding of why lifting weights is so important, let’s take a look at a beginner 3-days per week program 

(Make sure to perform a proper dynamic warm-up that includes foam rolling, dynamic mobility, core work, medicine ball throws, and plyometrics. This should be brief, yet effective and only last 10-15 minutes. )

Example Program:

Day 1

  • Goblet squats: 8 reps
  • Push-ups: 8 reps
  • Kettlebell Swings: 15-20 reps
  • 1-Arm dumbbell row: 8 reps each side

Perform these in a circuit fashion for 3-5 rounds. Rest as minimal as possible.

Finisher: Perform a Farmer’s Walk for 3-5 minutes straight. Put the weights down as minimal as possible. Pick a weight that you can carry for 50 meters

Day 2

  • Deadlifts: 3-5 reps
  • Assisted Chin-ups: 3-5 reps
  • Dumbbell Push Press: 3-5 reps

Perform these in a circuit fashion for 3-5 rounds. Rest as minimal as possible.

Finisher

Burpees: Perform 8 rounds of 30 seconds on, and 30-seconds off. Try and match your previous rounds rep number each round.

Day 3

  • Inverted Row (TRX Row): 10-12 reps
  • Walking Lunges: 8 reps each leg
  • Dumbbell Chest Press: 10-12 reps
  • Single-Leg Deadlift: 8 reps

Perform these in a circuit fashion for 3-5 rounds. Rest as minimal as possible.

Finisher

Perform your favorite cardio exercise as hard as you can for 10 minutes. You can break it up into intervals if you need to.

It’s time to lift, ladies

Cardio, Pilates, Yoga, and step aerobics all have their place in the world of women’s fitness. I am a believer that you need to enjoy what you choose to do for exercise. But there comes a time when you need to do what’s best for your long-term health and fitness. Lifting weights is the most beneficial form of exercise for all women to include in their workout program. The data from studies prove that and the best way to achieve these goals is to throw around some heavyweights. Put away the yoga mat and barre class for another time and lift heavy, ladies. Your body and mind will thank you.


(1)Westcott WL, Winett RA, Annesi JJ, Wojcik JR, Anderson ES, Madden PJ. Prescribing physical activity: Applying the ACSM protocols for exercise type, intensity, and duration across 3 training frequencies. Physician Sportsmed. 2009;37(2):51-58. doi:10.3810/psm.2009.06.1709.

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