The Importance of Strength Training for Women

29 May, 2020
Strength training is commonly associated with gaining muscle mass. However, there are a number of other benefits, particularly for women.
 

As many of us already know, strength training can be an important factor when keeping yourself in top condition. Frequently, strength training for women is overlooked in favor of aerobic activity. But you shouldn’t underestimate its importance.

For a long time, women didn’t pay too much attention to strength training because it was seen to be a ‘male’ thing. Fortunately, people know this is ridiculous, and, particularly with advances in scientific understanding, people’s mentality is changing.

In today’s article, we’ll look at the importance of strength training for women and all the benefits that it can bring.

Differences between men and women

As we just mentioned, women have often ignored strength training because of certain myths or erroneous beliefs. One particular fear that women have is the fear of gaining volume.

However, in many cases, this fear is misplaced. It’s mainly due to an error in terminology since strength training doesn’t just have to be related to muscle volume.

Adaptation of strength training for women and men

Science provides a more positive answer to this concern, namely regarding the way that the body adapts to strength training for both men and women.

The basic starting point for muscle size and strength in both genders is very similar. The only difference is that men gain greater strength as a result of training. This is because of increased levels of testosterone in the body.

However, in 1988,  a study was performed in which men and women carried out the same strength training. The results were telling. After having performed the same training regime, the proportional increase in muscle mass was the same in both men and women.

 
A woman doing supervised bench presses.

The importance of the hormonal factor

Clearly, testosterone levels play a key role in strength development. This is the main reason why some women are able to develop more strength and power compared to others. The higher the levels of testosterone, the greater strength they gain, regardless of gender.

Benefits of strength training in women

So, as we can see, the body adapts in the same way regardless of the athlete’s gender. Starting from this premise, Steven Fleck in his book ‘Designing Resistance Training Programs’ claims that strength training is more beneficial for women than men.

Next, we’ll look at the benefits of this for women:

1. Increased basal metabolic rate

The basal metabolic rate is a measure of the number of calories we burn when our body is at rest. Increasing this is obviously good news for those looking to lose weight or reduce body fat.

2. Increased bone density

Strength training can become very important for conditions such as osteoporosis. Thanks to the increase in muscle mass, bone density also increases, and conversely, the risk of bone fractures decreases.

3. Psychological benefits of strength training for women

 

Without a doubt, when talking about the benefits of strength training for women, the most important may be the psychological impact. Research by Hatfield and Kaplan has shown that strength training can help reduce stress and help fight depression and low self-esteem.

4. Increased strength

It might seem obvious, but clearly strength training increases your ability to carry out all manner of tasks more efficiently. And this, in turn, improves something else of fundamental importance: your quality of life.

A woman lifting weights as part of strength training for women.

5. Reduced body fat

This is another thing that motivates a lot of women to exercise. Through strength training, muscle mass increases, and the percentage of body fat decreases considerably.

6. Increased capacity of our tissues

The body’s connective tissues are made up of tendons, cartilage, and ligaments. As you increase your body strength, the resistance of these tissues also significantly increases, providing greater stability in the joints. This will then reduce the risk of suffering any type of injury.

Conclusions on strength training for women

As you can see, strength training has numerous benefits ranging from increased functionality to improved quality of life. It’s time to leave behind these erroneous beliefs about women’s training. What are you doing to increase your muscle strength?

 
  • Cureton, K. J., M. A. Collins, D. W. Hill, F. M. McEelhannon (1988). Muscle hypertrophy in men and women. Med. Sci. Sports Exer. 20:338-344.
  • Ebben, W.P. y Jensen, R.L. (1998) Strength training for women. Debunking myths that block opportunity. The Physician and Sports Medicine,  26(5).
  • Fleck, S.J., W.J. Kraemer (2004). Designing Resistance Training Programs, 3rd Ed. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
  • Hatfield, B., & Kaplan, P. (2012). Exercise Psychology for the Personal Trainer. In J. Coburn, & M. Malek, NSCA’s Essentials of personal Training (2nd ed., pp. 126-128). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.