Strength Training Exercises for Women @ Reward Me

A mom’s guide to strength training

A busy work and family routine could mean that exercise has become a chore for you. But if you consider the benefits of strength training, it may be perfect for you.


The good news is that you don’t have to spend hours at the gym to reap the rewards – a proper strength-training programme can be effective with as little as three hours of training per week. Some of the life-changing benefits experienced by converts include feeling stronger, seeing muscle definition, improved lifestyle habits resulting in better physical and mental health, less joint pain and stronger knees, back and core. Fear of “bulking up” prevents many women from including strength training in their exercise routine, which is simply not the case. Women have lower testosterone levels than men, which means we just don’t have it in us to get bulky.

Some of the benefits of strength training that you may not be aware of include:

- Weight loss: Your body will burn calories more effectively because you’re adding more lean body mass and losing fat mass (muscle burns more energy than fat). Strength training and a healthier eating plan will also help prevent loss of muscle.

- Stronger bones: Strength training improves musculoskeletal health as the loaded movements increase bone density, which in turn prevents calcium loss and subsequent bone frailty, often associated with osteoporosis in later life.

- Better overall health: It can help manage life-threatening conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

- Improved sleep: Strength training has been shown to improve sleep quality by helping you fall asleep faster and inducing deeper sleep.

- More energy: You continue burning calories even after you train. One study conducted by Dr Erik Kirk from Southern Illinois University showed that, on average, participants increased the number of calories they burned by 500 per day with only 11 minutes of weight-based training a day.

What are your options?

There are several different kinds of strength training and finding the right kind may require trying different options before finding your training groove. Before you get going though, get the all-clear from your doctor and enlist the help of a trainer – at least initially.

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Some of the best options include:

- Resistance bands: A good option for beginners – they’re inexpensive and provide a challenging resistance when stretched. Versatile and flexible, bands can be adjusted as you become stronger. What’s more, they’re light and portable - perfect for limited space or if you travel regularly.

- Free weights: Barbells and dumbbells will fast-track you to becoming strong and lean-looking. It’s important, however, to always make sure you use correct positioning when working with a weighted load. If you’re new to lifting weights, first have a few sessions with a qualified trainer and follow a programme suited to your fitness level and goals.

- Weight machines: Weight machines are good if you’re new to strength training as they use fixed movements at a resistance of your choice. This means you have more control over the movement.

- Callisthenics: This is a form of body-weight training that includes movements such as push-ups, squats, pull-ups and dips. Don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s easy though. Done correctly, body-weight training can be all you need to get fit, lose weight and shape up.

- Pilates: This technique uses controlled movements to build body strength, flexibility and endurance. Many women favour Pilates because one of the more popular benefits is longer, leaner muscles. There are two types: mat-based Pilates, which includes a series of movements using a mat on the floor, and Pilates done with “reformer” machines.

- Yoga: There are various types of yoga, all of which can be a great addition to your strength-training programme. They can even stand alone as a restorative and intense physical practice. Regardless of the type of yoga you choose, the majority of yoga poses will improve your strength, flexibility and mobility.

- Kettlebells: Ideal for intermediate fitness enthusiasts who want to step up their workouts. However, as with the free weights, it’s important that a qualified professional shows you the correct form and movements first. The most common movements include the kettlebell swing, clean, Turkish getup and snatch. Most movements are explosive. Due to the displaced centre of gravity when using kettlebells, your body is forced to constantly recruit muscles to help maintain control and stability, providing a full-body workout.

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