Strength training is probably one of the most misunderstood and underutilized approaches to fitness for women. The benefits of strength training are many, especially when it comes to looking fit and lean. Unfortunately, too many women tend to sideline strength training in favor of cardiovascular exercise. This leaves them struggling to burn fat (muscular bodies are the ones that burn fat faster) and wondering why they can’t achieve the tight and toned look they want.

While cardio exercise has a number of health benefits, it should always be paired with strength training to achieve the best possible results.

Here’s why strength training is important for everyone:

Controls weight

Muscular bodies are better fat burners than non-muscular bodies. If you strength train regularly, you’ll develop muscles, which will help you burn calories more efficiently. This leads to a leaner body and truly healthy weight loss.

Preserves muscle mass

As you age, your muscle mass decreases and your fat increases. The best way to guard against this is through strength training. You’ve got to be working to replace any muscle mass you lose and avoid increasing your body fat.

Reduces injury risk

Muscular bodies are better able to handle all the demands of life. Strong bodies tend to have fewer issues with joints and injuries. They also have better balance and coordination. To stay healthy, keep your body as strong as possible.

Decreases risk of osteoporosis

As women age, hormonal changes lead to less bone density and risk of osteoporosis.  Strength training can help counteract this. Lean muscle can not only help to slow bone deterioration, it can prevent it altogether.

Getting started with strength training should be a little slow and a lot smart. Strengthening muscles takes time. Proper technique is critical to avoid injury. I always recommend that beginners start with body weight exercises. These are movements which use your own body weight for resistance. Great examples are wall sits, push ups, booty lifts, lunges, squats and more. Get some resistance bands to help. Furniture sliders are wonderful for things like mountain climbers. I also like Lebert bars for pull ups.

Once you’ve gained some strength, add some free weights into the mix. A set of variable weight dumbbells, a body bar, and a kettle bell will give you all you need for really effective in-home workouts. Be sure to seek proper instruction so you are building muscle and avoiding injury. If possible, work with a trainer to learn the best ways to use your weights and develop a program that can grow as you gain in strength.
To be truly warrior strong, you’ve got to build those muscles! It doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. Pick up a few of the items I’ve suggested, try to consult with a trainer to develop a program that works for you, and incorporate strength training into your exercise regimen. The results will increase your health in so many ways.