A Breakdown of Resistance Training for Women
February 7, 2023
Alexandra Wade

Resistance training, for the longest time, has been a gendered pursuit. However, both men and women are equally capable of increasing muscle strength through resistance training. In fact, not only are they capable, but research shows how women’s muscle mass is tightly linked to improving their life spans. Apart from affecting chronological age, resistance training also turns the wheels back on an individual’s fitness age. Fitness age is the real measure of how old your body is. Calculated through oxygen uptake, it suggests that the higher the VO2 max levels, the lower the fitness age and the overall chances of dying. And what, then, could be a better way to increase maximum oxygen uptake than some vigorous exercise?

Getty Images/DigitalVision/ Mireya Acierto

When talking about resistance training for women, a commonly asked question is if lifting weights is a necessary part of the endeavor. While weights provide great assistance, they are not necessarily mandatory. Resistance training for beginners can entirely be based on body weight exercises. This helps save time and money because you don’t need to go to the gym. As long as you push your muscles to the point where you actually feel challenged by the exercise, all other things like place and equipment become irrelevant.

An essential part of building muscle endurance and strength is repetition. Figure out the maximum weight you can shoulder and break that down to 25 repetitions. For example, if you start with a pushup where your knees support a portion of your weight, repeat this around 25 times instead of going for a whole-body push up resting on your toes as the pivot, where then no more repetitions are possible to be carried out.

Lastly, resistance training is about a variety of movements, mainly a combination of compound movements and isolation movements. As the name suggests, compound movement engages multiple joints, while isolation movements engage only one. Compound movements like pushups, pull ups and squat variations are better than isolation movements because they consume maximum energy and exhaust the muscles. These can then be followed by isolation movements like calf raises to target a specific muscle group.

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