Can it be that, finally, the mainstream media representation of womens training might be catching up with reality?
You may have seen the posts on social media of model Kate Upton training recently, she works with trainer Ben Bruno, (go check his stuff out here, its awesome!) She is crushing heavy trap bar deadlifts, landmine variations and heavy hip thrusts and more, hopefully putting paid to the thought that women should only do light weight, high reps and focussing on (in some magical, non-surgical fashion) making muscles longer and leaner…thanks Tracy Anderson for that nugget.
Here are 5 reasons you should follow Kate’s example and start lifting heavy!
1. If you want a great shape, strength training will get you it, body fat levels allowing. That generally speaking is why most most people train, with the exception maybe of pro athletes who train to improve performance and consequently earn more, but even they want to look good naked. Curves in the right places, lower body fat totals and good definition all come from building muscle.
Ladies, if you want those curves, 3kg dumbbell curls aren’t gonna get you them. Lifting heavier weights challenges the body and demands more muscle be built to better handle the loads the next time.
Muscle = curves.
And no, you won’t get “bulky”.
2. As you get older the risk of osteoporosis increases, as does a loss of power, a loss of stability and an increase in falls. Putting your body under load in a controlled way following a structured training plan has been shown to improve bone density in trainees thereby helping to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. The associated improvement in power output from strength gains also may help in avoiding stumbles and falls as you get older.
3. Setting training goals and following a plan to work towards and achieve them is an amazing way to build confidence in and out of the gym. The real world tasks we all deal with, carrying shopping in from a supermarket trip, playing with your kids, physical activity at work or at home all become easier when you have a good basic level of strength. Confidence blooms as you realise that day to day tasks are “magically” easier.
4. Burning calories is easier with higher amounts of muscle mass. Muscle tissue is metabolically active, it therefore needs fuel to function and consequently you burn through higher calories. Don’t get me wrong, diet still matters a great deal when it comes to body composition, but having your body primed for burning more fuel is always going to help.
5. I regularly see folks on the gym moving from the 1 piece of cardio equipment to another taking up to 2 hours a night to work up a bit of a sweat. I’ve been seeing the same folks do this over the last year or more and their body shape hasn’t changed 1 bit! Low intensity, soul sucking cardio hasn’t got them any closer to the body they want. Total waste of their precious time.
Instead, focussing on hitting big heavy compound movements, backed up with complementary exercises to strengthen any weaknesses, covering all the rep ranges will help build the body shape you want in less time (albeit with a little more effort…)
Now before anyone jumps all over me about cardio bashing, let me say that there is a time and place for steady cardio. Done for the right reasons and at the right intensity it has a place in the training spectrum. Being fitter helps with recovery between sets and between sessions, meaning you can push the intensity a little harder and get more awesomer more quickly. But hoping that long slow cardio sessions alone will get the job done has been shown time and again to not work, use it to support and enhance your strength training via better recovery and not turning bright red and gasping for air as soon as your reps approach double figures!
Stay strong (and get stronger!)