Ok this is one for the ladies. The place of barbells with in the life of the everyday woman is something that I am very passionate about and to that end, I am please to announce that I am dealing with a wonderful new training partner, and yes, she is a girl who wants to lift. Interestingly enough, she has a very unique goal. Nope, she doesn’t want to get slim and she doesn’t want to drop a dress size. She wants to get strong! Now, before you jump to conclusions about this lady, I can confirm that she is sporty, attractive, and feminine.
So, that’s 70kg over her head…who says strength isn’t feminine!?
The reason I felt I needed to describe some of this lovely lady’s characteristics is that it is a social convention to consider strength as a masculine pursuit rather than a universal pursuit, on which gender has no bearing. See, this woman wants to be strong both in and out of the gym, and express her strength in all aspects of her life. Isn’t this truly what strength is all about? This week I want to throw some tips out there focusing around strength and how a few changes in your views on strength may in fact make you a stronger more powerful woman. All these titles are quotes I have heard from a number of women, and if I had the chance, these are the things I would like to say to these women.
- “Being strong isn’t feminine!”
I want everyone, including you lovely ladies, to be happy in the bodies that they are in, and live a life that is full of joy and expressions of your fitness and strength. Now if a woman decided that she wanted to become a bodybuilder and become as massive as possible, then I would support her in her choice, as it is a choice which is leading her down the path to happiness, and most importantly, its on her own terms. With that being said, I realize that most women do not want to walk down this path, but just because you don’t want to be bulky, doesn’t mean you should forgo strength training.
Have the strength to not stop!
I know that the general school of thought is that weights only make you big and strong. While this can be true, they can also make you faster, more toned, slender, and other things besides all that. The barbell is a tool; its how you use it that dictates your results. Being strong allows you to push past challenges in your life, whether that be picking up more shopping without throwing your back out, or climbing a rock face, having more energy to play with your children, or opening heavy doors. What could be more feminine than having nothing hold you back from living your life as a woman who can push through everything with pride and strength? So remember ladies, strength is never a weakness.
2. “I couldn’t do that, I’m a girl!”
Fair enough, women are not as strong as men, at least not maximally. Strength is a multi-faceted concept which we could debate the nature of for hours on end, but what I want to touch on is that fact that strength is a pursuit which is passed over because women think that they can’t be strong, simply due to the fact that they are women. I don’t think any of the women reading this magazine would want to have their gender be used as an excuse, or be viewed as a short coming, so why let your gender have any bearing on your training? Whether you define strength in terms of gymnastic ability, endurance capacity, or maximal strength, you must pursue this goal without any limitation. You can be as strong as you choose, so long as you follow a good strength program and pursue it with absolute commitment. Female gymnastics is one of the most impressive displays of feminine strength I have ever seen, and none of these women could ever be considered weak or unfeminine. So don’t let your preconceptions of what you can or cannot do hold you back from being the strongest person you can be, in what ever capacity that may be.
You’re damn straight you can!
3. “I don’t want to get bulky!”
So, going back to what I said in point 1. – the barbell is a tool, and how you use it is going to dictate the results that you get. With that being said, I am a man who is very much on the path of strength. I am committed to being as strong as I can be, in every definition of strength that I can think of, and I can tell you one thing, its really hard to get big. I mean, it is really, really hard, and I have the added advantage of having a substantially higher level of testosterone that you ladies do.
Life is always moving. Be strong in movement!
Using weights to increase your athletic strength will not make you big and bulky, but it will increase your metabolic rate and improve your posture – if used correctly. It can make you faster, burn fat more effectively, increase the efficiency of your body at partitioning the nutrients that you eat by making your body more opposed to storing fat, and many other things. Beneficial all round!
Lastly, if there is one thing that you ladies take away from this is that weights help to increase your bone density. Why would you want that? Well, a little known fact is that 50% of women in the UK experience some form of osteoporosis. This is a weakening of the bones which can lead to all sorts of medical issues and has one of the most simple fixes for the majority of cases… Strength training! Wolfe’s law dictates that the density of a bone is directly correlated to the amount of resistance placed upon it. The stronger you are, the denser your bones are and the less degeneration you will have as you age. This in itself is an argument for why even the elderly should also engage in strength training in order to regain some of their strength and improve their posture. So why not start now?
Get ready to start the journey
Remember ladies; femininity is founded in strength. Never forget the potential that you all have to become the strongest version of yourselves, both in and out of the gym.
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