Weight lifting produces the same results in men as women: it increases muscle strength, tone, size and definition while raising metabolism, building bone density and improving posture. When designing a weight lifting routine, most women will want to place extra emphasis on fat loss, bone building and specific work for fat-storing spots such as the back of the arms and hips.
Women & Weight Training
Because the physiques of men and women differ, their workouts should as well. Women first began weight training in earnest during the late 1970s and through the 1980s most trained using the same routines as men. Today;'s educated trainers know how to make subtle changes in a routine so that it fits more women's goals.
Weight Training and Aerobic Exercise
Weight training complements aerobic workouts. The female hormone estrogen is fat-reliant, therefore women have a propensity to store fat, and those storage cites change as a woman ages. Weight training increases the body's metabolism, making it easier to maintain a healthy body weight later in life. Weight training, unless supercharged by steroids, will not make a woman bulk up, nor will it produce results so quickly the user can't make adjustments to the routine. Women with naturally athletic physiques--a mesomorph body type--should use higher repetitions and perform aerobic exercise after the weight training. Aerobic exercise can be performed every day, but weight training exercises require at least two days of recovery before repeating.
Emphasize Back and Core
Weak back muscles cause low back pain and create postural deformities, according to SportsInjuryClinic.net. Today's more sedentary lifestyle gives women few opportunities to work the back, and low back problems are common, even in women who consider themselves fit. Around menopause, women begin to store more fat on their backs. The back muscles need the abdominal muscles to hold the body upright. Core training, such as Pilates and abdominal exercise, need to be emphasized as well as the back.
Extra Time for Triceps
The upper arm is composed of two muscles: one-third is the biceps in the front of the arm, two-thirds is the triceps in the back of the arm. Women get plenty of work on their biceps carrying things. The triceps are less used, and are a fat storage site for women, giving you reason to include two or three exercises just for the triceps. One exercise for the biceps will suffice.
Lower Body Solutions
Unless you want bigger thighs, women's workouts should use high repetitions on the legs and only work against your own body weight. Lunges are a popular exercise that works most of the lower body muscle groups, and can be performed in several variations: forward, backward or walking. Body weight squats translate into a real world movement that teaches you to lift with the legs and not the back. You can slow the tempo of the squat on the lowering, or negative, and standing, or positive, portions giving your muscles a challenging workout that won't bulk you up.
- exercise lady image by Paul Moore from Fotolia.com
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.