It seems that the image of muscle-bound female bodybuilders (Jodi Marsh, we're looking at you) may be discouraging women from targeting muscle when exercising, with only a sixth of women (16%) undertaking regular resistance training.
But there's really nothing to be scared of. Resistance (or 'strength') training includes things like free weights, weight machines, resistance bands and even your own body weight – say, doing a pushup or a plank.
And adding resistance to your workout is a surefire way to get fitter, stronger and even leaner. Women don't naturally have the levels of testosterone in their body necessary to get big and bulky, so you're in no danger of waking up and realising you've turned into Arnie overnight.
Still need convincing that weights are great? Here are five great reasons why you should embrace resistance training.
1. Maintaining your weight
Strength training increases your lean muscle mass, which in turn increases your metabolic rate. This means your body will continue to burn calories even after you've finished working out – meaning you can sit and enjoy MIC while feeling very smug indeed.
2. Improved posture
Sitting all day causes the muscles on the front of our body to become tight, pulling our chest and shoulders down and our head forward – giving us a slouched appearance. Resistance training helps to strengthen your core as well as your upper back.
To correct rounded shoulders, focus on your trapezius – the web of fibers that extend across your shoulder blades. It's known as the anti-hunchback muscle, because when it's strong, it keeps your shoulder blades down.
3. Increasing bone density
As women age, our bones start to decrease in density and become more brittle – putting us at risk of conditions such as osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. However, studies have shown that regular strength training is proven to increase your bone density and prevent these diseases. Combine with a glass of milk for a guaranteed happy skeleton.
4. Look better
We all know that there's no way to spot reduce when it comes to exercise – no amount of crunches are going to minimise that tummy pooch. However, resistance training can help to reshape and tone problem areas, such as bingo wings or a saggy bum.
Moves like the plank, which tone your core, will contribute to shrinking inches from your waist. Working on your chest muscles (using weights, or by doing press ups) will make your bust look perkier too.
5. Making life easier
Who doesn't want to feel stronger and more able in their daily life? Stronger muscles will help with your everyday activities, including carrying that gargantuan handbag around all day, lugging shopping home from the supermarket, or carrying your suitcase to the airport. Strong is the new sexy, people.
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