Author Bio: Andrew is the founder and CEO at Aim Workout. He is passionate fitness professional and triathlete, with years of experience using indoor cycling spinning bikes. He has also been an avid mountain biker, deep sea diver, rock climbing guide and has spent considerable time learning and practising mixed martial arts. In short, Andrew has a penchant for the wild and extreme.
Many women avoid strength training because they are afraid of bulking up, but strength training does not necessarily involve heavy weight lifting or bulky bodies. Women athletes can achieve new physical heights by performing five simple exercises, and it leads to some fantastic results.
While many women include strength training in their workout regime, some are yet to understand its importance and incorporate it into their exercise schedules.
Let us go through a few benefits of strength training from the perspective of a woman athlete.
- Injury Prevention
Injury prevention is one of the main concerns of any athlete, male or female. According to a survey, women athletes are more prone to injuries than their male counterparts are. This means females make up a large number of those visiting an athlete recovery center to receive treatment for injuries.
Therefore, women should be extra cautious. If your core muscles are strong, it does not matter which sport you play; you will find yourself performing better than before. With a strong core, you are less prone to a variety of injuries.
- Improved Body Composition
If you have increased muscle mass, you will have a better metabolism as well. Every athlete understands the importance of a healthy metabolism. The increased muscle mass does not necessarily mean bulkier body structure.
Yes, it does change your body type a little. However, it will make you look fitter in a positive manner. It just refers to having more muscle mass and strength. Strength training also improves bone density, which prevents osteoporosis.
- Improved Strength Generation
Strength training will increase your speed, coordination, balance, and endurance, so you’ll be able to perform better for longer periods without feeling fatigue.
Although you can take up multiple exercises to increase strength, here are some of the most effective exercises that’ll help you build strength without getting too bulky.
- Squats (with or without weights)
The best part about squats is that you can do them anywhere and anytime, either with weights or without them.
Squats will engage your quadriceps, hamstrings and calf muscles. They will also engage your core muscles since you’ll be using them to stabilize and balance yourself throughout the movement.
Squats improve your upper and lower body strength as well. Also, the squat will also help your knees by improving the flow of blood and oxygen flow in your joints, and they’ll give you that toned butt you’ve always wanted!
Women traditionally tend to train their lower bodies more than their upper bodies since they fear they’ll become top-heavy and bulky. Push-ups are the perfect exercise solution that can provide women with good upper body strength and toned arms without adding unnecessary bulk to the frame.
Push-ups increase the functional strength of your body since your core muscles, lower body muscles and the muscles in the arms (biceps and triceps) are all engaged to support your body frame while stabilizing your movements.
Burpees are a great strength-endurance exercise, which means that they offer both aerobic as well as anaerobic benefits. If you’re looking to burn some excess calories while also building strength in your entire body, then the burpee could be your best bet.
The burpee is a combination of several exercises, including the squat, pushup or plank and the sports jump. When performed correctly, the athlete transitions from one movement to the next effortlessly, without any hiccups or breaks.
If you can comfortably perform squats and pushups for multiple repetitions, then you’re good to try your hand at the Burpee.
Just as with squats and pushups, you can do burpees anywhere. Burpees can not only help you reach your weight goals faster, but also help you build immense strength, flexibility, and endurance.
As a woman athlete, you need a good amount of upper body strength if you want to succeed and excel in your given sport. You need sufficient strength in your arms to be able to perform pull and push movements when required. While the pushup is a great exercise that develops the capacity to push, the pull-up is a great exercise that can help you build the capacity to pull.
You can do pull-ups in multiple ways. If you’re an absolute beginner, you should start off with dead hangs on the bar and use a stretch cord to support your body weight. The negative pull-up is also a great way to get used to the ‘pull-up’ movement and build strength in your arms. As you gradually increase your upper body strength, you can try different variations.
One of the most popular pull-up variations practiced by several male and female CrossFit athletes is the kipping pull-up. Unlike the conventional pull-up, with the kipping pull-up, you swing your legs to gather momentum and use that momentum to lift yourself over the bar.
The deadlift, if done correctly, builds unparalleled strength in the legs and lower back. Unlike, the other exercises mentioned in this article, however, the deadlift does require additional equipment apart from body weight. A simple barbell and some weight are all you’ll need to perform the deadlift.
It is similar to the burpee in that it is extremely effective for burning fat and building muscle. Along with squats, performing deadlifts can help you build strong legs that are not only powerful but also toned and stunning!