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Weights for women | The West Australian

So, you exercise a lot?

Walking, yoga, jogging or swimming perhaps… what about lifting weights?

Many women scoff at the thought of weightlifting for a workout, fearing it will make them bulk up.

If this is you, read on.

Over the years, there have been many mixed messages about whether pumping iron is good for the female body, but when talking to the experts these days, the answer is a resounding yes.

“I guess some people still believe that lifting heavy weights will instantly make you big, bulky and manly — or they may also feel out of place or out of their comfort zone,” says Kristiina Rintanen, personal trainer at Next Generation Kings Park.

“I also think that some people genuinely still don’t know that gaining and maintaining lean muscle mass by lifting weights has the massive overall health and wellness benefits that it does, so they just don’t worry about it.”

Tyler Hall, accredited exercise physiologist and clinic manager at Absolute Balance Exercise Physiologist Services, says there are plenty of benefits that come with resistance exercise.

“It will help increase lean muscle, which in turn increases your metabolism and helps you lose weight,” he says.

“Lifting weights also increases strength in connective tissues and joints, which is important in preventing injury, and helps to enhance mood and decrease stress, which leaves you with more confidence.”

Even if time is an issue, it’s worth working out a way to include weights in whatever exercise time that is available to you.

“I have a lot of women who are time poor, so they just do what they enjoy and they enjoy group fitness over weights,” says Denise Curnow, of Bodytech Fitness.

“I was explaining to a client just this morning the different energy systems we use when we lift weights, and explained again why I am recommending she do a weights program three times a week.”

Not sure where to begin?

Ms Rintanen says a weights program that works for your body is essential, so meet with a qualified trainer to discuss your body and fitness goals.

“The training program needs to be designed for you, based on your needs and your body,” she says. “For example, some of us like to do more traditional-style weight training and others enjoy playful exercises.

“For newbies, working out with a trainer should make it less intimidating to learn correct exercises and techniques and ensure you’re using your time and money wisely.”

Understanding skeletal muscle mass

Combining lifting weights with a healthy diet can help gain lean skeletal muscle mass.

Skeletal muscle mass describes the muscles that are attached to your bones and help to move your body.

“As we age, we lose skeletal muscle mass,” says Kristiina Rintanen, personal trainer at Next Generation Kings Park.

“The more skeletal muscle mass you have, the higher your basal metabolic rate is — and the more calories you burn on a daily basis — so ladies, grab those barbells and dumbbells at the gym.”

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