Top 4 Reasons Girls SHOULD Lift!

Hello again! My last post—Top 4 (False) Reasons Girls Don’t Lift—was a real cliffhanger. In case you’re just tuning in, we debunked the four major “reasons” females steer clear of the weight room: from a scientifically unsupported fear of becoming “bulky,” to just plain not knowing what to do in the gym. And all of those reasons are simply not good enough! But here's the thing: the Internet is chock full of funky advice to females on how to be fit—much of which tells us that our aesthetic appearance is the end-all, be-all of our overall health and fitness. So now, the Volt team would like to give all the ladies out there some concrete reasons why we SHOULD lift, reasons that AREN’T all about looking cute in a bikini. Because, let’s face it: there is just SO MUCH MORE to life than looking cute in a bikini (especially when you live in the Pacific Northwest, like me, where hot, sunny days are few and far between).

But, yet again, I’m getting ahead of myself! Without further ado, the Top 4 Reasons Girls SHOULD Lift!

1. It makes your muscles stronger.

I know, I know, kind of a “duh” reason—but seriously: strength training makes your muscles stronger, which makes YOU stronger! Stronger muscles can DO more things! Need to help a friend move? Your muscles are strong enough to pick up those boxes of old DVDs! Gotta change the jug for the water cooler? Your muscles can do it without spilling it everywhere! Want to carry 12 full bags of groceries up the steep hill to your dorm room? GIRL, YOU GOT THAT! When your muscles are strong and supple, your whole body is better equipped to do the things you want to do. And this ultimately translates to better athletic performance—stronger girls make faster soccer forwards, more explosive volleyball strikers, and less-fatigued cross-country runners. Stronger, my friends, is just plain better.

2. It prevents injuries.

This one is super important, and is at the heart of Volt’s strength training philosophy: strong muscles are healthy muscles, and healthy muscles help you avoid injury during sports. In addition, a well-balanced strength training program can shed light on weaker areas, muscular imbalances, and missing range of motion in your joints—making you a more balanced and functional physical being!

As an aside on this point, before I became a trainer I used to be a fairly fast distance runner (half-marathons) but was plagued by injuries. Shin splints, low-back pain, chondromalacia…once, during a full marathon, both my knees locked up and I literally limped across the finish line, tears of pain rolling down my face (also rain, because this was in Portland). But as soon as I began incorporating sport-specific strength training into my weekly workout regimen, all my injuries slowly, over time, DISAPPEARED! I can now run faster, longer, and without any pain at all. That’s not a miracle, friends: that’s the amazing, scientific effect of lifting weights.

3. It makes your bones stronger.

Don’t be that old lady who breaks a hip tripping over the cat. Lifting heavy weights puts much-needed stress on your bones, which then tells your body to make those bones stronger. The solution to frailty in older age begins in the weight room now! 

In addition to your bone density, strength training also increases the integrity of your connective tissues: tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and fascia. As your muscles, bones, and connective tissues become stronger, your body becomes more durable, better able to withstand stresses like the repetitive movements of running or cycling, and random accidents like a wrong step off a curb or a fall down the stairs.

4. It makes your spirit stronger.

OK, this one’s a little less scientific, but hear me out. I remember the first time I did a full push-up from my toes—it was an incredible moment! It wasn’t about the push-up itself, but rather about the fact that I had independently effected a change in my own body. Through hard work and practice, I had MADE MYSELF STRONGER! And I’ll tell you, this is a feeling that isn’t just physical—it can transcend to other areas of your life as well. When I started lifting weights, I felt happier, more confident, more capable, willing to take more risks, more independent, less reliant on others, and truly proud of my accomplishments. Strength training will do wonders for your body on the outside, aesthetically, as mainstream media will tell you—but more importantly, it will change the way you feel about yourself on the inside.  That’s a benefit you can’t put a price tag on!

So whether you’re a softball player wanting to gain more power at-bat, a non-athlete looking to get fitter, or (like me) a runner trying to stay injury-free—strength training is a girl’s best friend.

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Christye Estes, CSCS, is one of the regular contributors to the Volt blog. She is a CSCS-certified strength coach and a Sport Performance Specialist at Volt.
Learn more about Christye and read her other posts | @CoachChristye