Weightlifting is a way of fitness and a healthy life choice, being adopted by many. It has been practiced by men for a long time now, however, in the last few years, females are also making their presence felt in the domain.
Myths about females lifting weight
Conventionally, most weightlifting programs designed for women are focused on light weights. However, it is a myth that the female body is not capable of lifting heavy weights.
In terms of appearance, the society has instilled a fear in most women that gaining muscles will affect their feminine appearance. This is a completely wrong notion and must be done away with. It only makes the body fitter.
Hormonal effects on lifting weight
Weightlifting depends a lot on the physiological anatomy of the body and the hormones, for example while the male body produces type II fibers while muscle strengthening, female body produces type-I fibers.
The hormonal cycle of the female body also affects the work out, for example when the body is menstruating, the body secretes more hormones, increasing the catabolism of the body. Hence during this phase, the energy levels might be very low, making it difficult to progress with the intensity of the exercises. In this case, it is suggested to reduce the volume of the exercise during this time. Training during this time may lead to gain of leaner muscles than usual.
It comes with many perks such as strengthening the muscles, reducing risks of injury by strengthening the bones, ligaments and muscles.
Weightlifting requires one to follow a strict routine. A goal must be set which is to be achieved via the training programs. The goal may be short term or long term, whichever creates and bigger impact and motivates better. The initiation to the process should be made by creating a timetable or workout routine.
The routine should include at least two to four days of training. While making the routine, the hormonal cycles, individual body strengths, energy levels of the body and the ability of the body to do physical activities must be kept in mind. In case of existing physical issues, a doctor must be consulted, and the routine should be made as per the advice of the doctor. The routine should cater to the full body and different exercises for different parts of the body must be included in the routine.
For example, if the routine includes two days of work out, it must be a full body work out that should include upper body exercises (such as overhead press, pull ups), lower body exercises (like squatting), and dead lifts. If the routine permits more time, focus can be shifted to more quad centric exercises too. Alongside the previous routine quad centric training (such as Spanish squats, leg extensions) should be included. More can be added to the previous training too such as more upper body exercises (such as bench press, Arnold press).
Certain glute and hamstring-centric exercises can be added too (like hip thrusts, forward leaning walking lunges, single-leg deadlifts). These exercises must be evenly distributed in the routine depending on the needs of the body.
Irrespective of the number of days of training included in the routine, each day compulsorily include core exercises (planking) and heavy lifting (such as farmer’s carries) and rotational exercises (such as banded chops, Russian twists). In order to maximize strength, about five to ten sets of exercises per muscle group should be included ideally in the repetitive sets of exercises.
Increasing physical strength
The next step is increasing the body capacity. There must be continuous progress in the work out routine and this can be done by putting in a little more effort everyday. The workout timings can be increased by few minutes everyday. The weight lifted should also be increased gradually and the nutrition intake should be modified accordingly.
In this manner, the muscles will continuously adapt to newer tasks with heavier weights and in the process the strength will increase eventually, making the muscles stronger.
The routine must be modified regularly after a certain period of time, as it might suit the body. The routine must be modified keeping in mind the ability of the body to adapt to the changes. In no way, should excessive pressure be exerted on the body.
The routine must include breaks. After a rigorous period of work out routine, the body must be given a certain period of rest. During this time, light exercises may be done. After this period of the rest, one can continue with the same work out routine or start a new modified work out routine, as is may suit the body.
Diet and Sleep
While this routine is followed, few other things must also be kept in mind.
Diet is an essential part of this routine. Lifting weight requires strength. Secondly, muscles are hard to maintain, thereby requiring more food intake or nutrition intake. A diet must be made according to the height and weight. It is very important for the body to get the right number of calories, in order to be ready for the workout and the exercises.
A healthy sleeping routine is required. The exercises will exhaust the body and the body needs enough rest for it to continue the workout. Ideally the human body needs at least seven to nine hours of sleep during this routine.
It is very important to stay focused and maintain the routine strictly. Once in a while, there may be alterations to the routine due to circumstances and situations, but it is best to avoid it if possible. Motivation is extremely necessary and plays a pivotal role here. Even if at times, the body or the mind feels like giving up, one must find ways of motivation and continue with the work out routine sans interruption.
The body might not react well to the interruptions or changes in the routine suddenly and physical difficulties might appear.
Weightlifting not only enhances body strength and physical capabilities but also provides a healthy and fitter life. It must be practiced by everyone, irrespective of their gender, thereby choose a healthier body and lifestyle.