Ladies: time to lift weights


There are Ladies who Lunch and there are Ladies who Lift.

The Ladies who Lift will have no worries about eating lunch.

Why women should lift weights

From a health perspective a strong case can be made that it’s even more important for women to lift weights than men. I’ll explain why, but let’s first dispel some myths and focus on some other positive reasons why the weight section of the gym should be a female port of call.

The ‘Belle of the Barbell’ story

Abbye ‘Pudgy’ Eville was world-famous in the 1940’s and 1950’s. Originally a cute but overweight young woman (hence the nickname) she was working as a telephone operator when she met Les Stockton, a gymnast, acrobat and bodybuilder who was a regular at California’s fabled Muscle Beach in Santa Monica. Les and Pudgy hit it off, started dating and eventually married. And being together, they trained together, doing it so well she became world-famous.

At five foot one inch and weighing 115lbs (151cms/52k) Pudgy was no 1980’s steroid pumped Eastern European cliché. A petite blond head-turner she was also much more than a modern torso-flashing Instagram girl. Genuinely strong, she fully deserved her title ‘Belle of the barbells,” with a physique to be envied. Yet the myth persists that if a woman lifts weights she will end up looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The secret to a lean, lithe physique

Weights. Yes, weights. The secret to increasing lean muscle mass is resistance training and the proper use of weights. The incorporation of weights into your fitness regime will simply make you stronger and increase your ratio of lean muscle mass, which will make you look ‘toned’. What is not to like about any of these benefits?

Initial steps

Some women understand and appreciate these points, but whenever they come to contemplate using free weights they often feel intimidated because that section of the gym is often crowded with guys. I can understand this can be off-putting to a novice lifter, but simply adopt tunnel vision and focus on the job in hand. For example, if you are following a program and you need to use the squat rack, then just go and use it. If the particular piece of equipment is being used, just ask the person using it either how long they have left or if you can work when they are resting. Taking the initiative will serve to boost your self-confidence, and as your strength increases it will skyrocket. Reticence or fear will no longer be an issue. And let me let you into a secret: the guys will most likely feel more intimidated than you when you walk into the weights area; even more so when you start to lift more than they can!

Other benefits

The data indicates that resistance training has a whole heap of health benefits, which include some that are more important to women than men. When done properly resistance training’s main benefit is an increase in strength over the long term. This does not just mean an increase in the strength of your muscles, but also your joints, ligaments and bones. The increase in bone density is especially important to women because they have a higher risk of developing osteoporosis as they age. In part this is because when women hit menopause the amount of oestrogen they produce decreases, which in women is the main hormone related to bone health. Resistance training can help maintain strong bones and along with proper nutrition help stave off the risks of developing osteoporosis.

Lift pounds to shift pounds 

Ditch your insecurities, embrace the barbells and boost your self-confidence. Just start lifting some weights and don’t let anyone interfere with your self-improvement.

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           About the author

Alex is a registered Master Trainer and Nutritional Advisor with Level 4 qualifications in obesity and diabetes. He is also a strength specialist and a Ni Dan in Shotokan Karate.

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