Jul 27

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Don’t Be Afraid of the Incredible Bulk

Benefits of Strength Training
Mention the words “strength training” and many people will roll their eyes and poo-poo the entire idea. Images of big burly men lifting Olympic size weights immediately enter their minds. Who wants to have muscles like that?
What they don’t understand is that strength training isn’t about getting bulging muscles. Oh, you can get them, if you are a man; but the average woman won’t build “manly” muscle – no matter how much they lift.
First, let’s define strength training, or resistance training. Resistance training is any exercise that causes muscle to contract against an external resistance with the expectation of increasing strength, tone, mass, and/or endurance. The external resistance can be anything that causes the muscles to contract – such as dumbbells, tubing, or even your own bodyweight. So, do a push-up and you are strength training – no bulging muscles there!
Now, let’s put away our overactive imaginations for a moment, and take a look at why you should be strength training.
I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying, “use it or lose it”. With muscle, this can be taken quite literally. As we grow older, our lean muscle mass diminishes, and if you don’t do anything to replace it, it will be replaced by fat. By strength training, you build lean muscle mass, reversing this aging effect.
Stronger muscle will help you perform daily chores, reducing your risk of injury and increasing the chances of maintaining your independence as you grow older. And you can start at any age; research has shown that whether you are 20 or 60, you can make the same gains (progress) in the gym.
There are many health benefits from strength training. It not only builds muscle mass, but stresses your bones, increasing bone density and reducing your risk of osteoporosis as you get older. Research has shown that it can help reduce the signs and symptoms of many chronic conditions, including arthritis, back pain, depression, diabetes, obesity.
You don’t need to spend hours in the gym – you don’t even need a gym – to reap the benefits of strength training. You can gain an increase in strength with just 2-3, 20-30 minute sessions per week. This meets the American College of Sports Medicine and government health guidelines for strength training.
Now that you know why you should be strength training, do you know how?
To avoid injury, be sure and start slow. If you are a beginner, start with bodyweight exercises. Make sure you learn proper form and technique. You can either hire a trainer, or find some professional videos on the internet to show you a demonstration of each exercise.
If you start with dumbbells, make sure you pick a weight that will allow you to do 12 repetitions. You don’t want to go too light, but you shouldn’t be struggling either. Once you can do 12 repetitions, and the 12th rep is no longer a challenge, you will need to increase your weight or reps. It is important to progress by increasing your weights or reps; this continuous challenge allows your muscles to grow strong and stay strong.

Make sure you allow for rest days for the muscles to recover. You can do this by performing a full body routine on Monday, Wednesday and Friday; or upper body Monday, lower body Tuesday and resting on Wednesday and starting routine over on Thursday. A

Permanent link to this article: http://www.get-fit-naturally.org/2012/07/dont-be-afraid-of-the-incredible-bulk/


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  1. BlushnCheeks

    This was a great post. I agree women think they will get huge for some reason. I always try to tell them its not happening.

  2. Sela Toki

    How enlightening this is! I’m getting me weights. Have always thought it’ll bulk up my muscles but after reading this, I’m excited to try it. Thank you.

  3. thedoseofreality

    This is truly helpful information! And I have the weights, but sadly I have found that they don’t lift themselves! 😉 Hope you have a fabulous SITS day! 🙂

  4. Sheila Skillingstead

    Resistance training is easy to do but time lately is so short. I’m planning on restarting as soon as Christmas Break is here. The other nice thing about weights is on vacation, your body is with you. No gym needed.

    It was a nice post but I think the bottom was cut off. The last paragraph I read was about alternating days and ended with a capital A but the post wouldn’t scroll down.

    Have a great SITS Day.

    Today I posted about a vacation to Big Sur. http://www.eaglesclawsanctuary.com/2012/12/06/big-sur/

    1. getfitnaturally

      Thank you I will go see what happened!

  5. Andrea

    I really need to get on the ball with this. I also need to stretch more often. Heading into my 30’s requires that I revamp, or even begin, a daily workout regimen.

  6. Classic NYer

    You know, you’re right. I always assumed that women who lifted weights would get all bulky. I don’t know why I assumed that, though.

  7. Monica

    I have a friend who has been strength training. She’s really into it, like can lift what many men at the gym can life. And of course she is not with these bulging muscles either, but a lot of people definitely don’t understand. I wish I had her determination though. I’m such a flake, but I will say this, this is a step in the right direction. I always knew that muscle weighs more than fat, but that it’s what keeps you toned so while I knew it was good for me, I wasn’t aware of all of these other benefits like less chance of osteoporosis. So now I just need to get myself to commit to a routine. Happy SITS day.

  8. Rabia @ TheLiebers

    The only weights I lift these days are a two year old and a five year old!! Does that count?!?! 🙂

  9. Lisa

    I have found in the past that when I put in a good effort with lifting weights, that I slim down faster. I just wish I was consistent.

  10. Kelly Stilwell

    My husband and I met at Bally’s. We know the importance of strength training and cardio exercise. We just need to make the time for it again. Thanks for this article!

  11. Mo @ The Baby Is Fine

    that photo is hilarious!

    i need to do more strength training…I am good about doing cardio because it’s easy/mindless (e.g. running), whereas I always feel like I don’t know what I’m supposed to do when it comes to strength training!

  12. Kristiina

    Thanks so much for this post! I just started lifting weights, good to know I am headed in the right direction.

  13. Denise

    Wow, now I need to get back to the gym. Thanks for the push.

  14. Christine @ Love, Life, Surf

    A great article. It took me a while to embrace the fact that I wasn’t going to bulk up by lifting weight. Love it now and definitely appreciate how weight training has helped strengthen and change my body. Happy Happy SITS Day! Hope you are enjoying it!

  15. Summer Davis

    I used to lift weights all the time and while I DO get quite bulky, I MISS being so toned. It’s been so long that I forget how to do it, and I need to find an accountability partner, as well as get into a good routine of lifting.

  16. Smashinbeauty

    Excellent post 😀 I just recently started workout with my old trainer and it felt as if I never worked out before

  17. homejobsbymom

    I would love to be more tone. Especially my belly.

  1. Get Fit Naturally - The SITS Girls

    […] Don’t Be Afraid of the Incredible Bulk […]

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