I have made it no secret that I believe strength training is absolutely critical to health and fitness. Unfortunately, I find even committed fitness fanatics, particularly female ones, resist embracing it. I suspect this is due to many misunderstandings and myths about strength training, but its very frustrating to watch people failing to reach their fitness goals because they are missing out on this vital component in their exercise program.
Why is strength training so important? This is why, it:
- Reverses sarcopenia, or the loss of muscle mass we experience with age
- Lowers risk of osteoporosis
- Lowers risk of dementia
- Strengthens tendons and ligaments, lowering risk of injury
- Improves overall strength and helps to maintain mobility as we age
- Builds lean mass which increases metabolism, making it easier to lose weight and maintain weight loss
- Improves sport performance
- Is empowering
Need I say more?
But since the world is primarily motivated with aesthetics, let me reiterate the point that it is just as important as, and quite possibly more so than, cardio for improving your body composition and HOW YOU LOOK!
Now a lot of women tell me they just don't know where to start, and weight rooms and machines seem intimidating. They need not be! Honestly, its like anything else, once its familiar, you realize there is nothing to be scared of.
Now, perhaps you can't afford a regular personal trainer to take you through several weekly workouts. I get that! Most people can't afford that. Even 2-3 sessions with a trainer can get you started. But if you want to figure it out on your own, than Delavier's Women's Strength Traning Anatomy Workouts may be the book for you.
This book is absolutely packed with information. It too may seem intimidating because of the sheer volume of info, but if you read through it carefully, you'll realize it is actually quite straightforward.
It is particularly well suited for people who really want to understand the what and why behind things. And really, I think anyone who works out should know that about their exercise or activity. Too often I see folks at the gym doing weird things, which you can tell, they are doing because they saw someone else doing it, but because they don't have a clue what the purpose of the exercise is, or what muscles they are trying to target, they are doing it all wrong. This makes it useless at best and dangerous at worst.
Delavier's Women's Strength Traning Anatomy Workouts tells you everything you need to know. Should you not be interested in the details of your anatomy, than you can ignore those parts and diagrams. But again, its helpful to understand why you are doing what you are doing.
In Part I, there are directions for now to create a strength training program for yourself, based on your level of experience, while avoiding injuries. It also talks about how to integrate cardio and stretching into your routine.
Part II has very, and I mean very, detailed sections organized by body part (glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, abs, shoulders, upper back, lower back, chest and arms) including instructions on how to do the foundation exercises properly (most are pretty fundamental), what muscles you are working and why, and how to avoid injury. There are photos and diagrams for each too.
Part III puts together a whole bunch of programs for readers from beginner to advanced with all sorts of variations based on workout frequency and whether you will be training at a gym or using minimal equipment. Again, these sections include photos of each exercise, so you don't have to go back to the previous section to figure out what they are if you forget.
Whether you simply want to stay healthy and mobile as you age or you want to be a ripped, lean, mean fitness machine, I can't stress enough the importance of strength training. If you want to see and feel an amazing change in your body, I suggest you give it a try. And if you want some guidance, this book is a great place to start.
Disclosure: I was presented with a complimentary copy of this book, but all opinions on this blog are my own.