Why EVERYONE Should Lift Weights

by aevans
I’ll get to the science in a minute, but first watch this 32 year-old woman do 7 unassisted pull-ups.

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She is 5’3” and 114 pounds.  She is not a personal trainer.  Nor is she a fitness competitor.  She works out 5 days a week for 45-60 minutes then works full-time in the fashion industry.  (Full disclosure:  she is my partner and I have her permission).  Women ask her for tips and advice every day.  When asked what she does, she says she lifts weights, “heavier than you think you are supposed to.”

I wish this issue could be laid to rest, once and for all.  Should women lift weights?  Will you get bulky from strength training?  The science has been out there for decades, yet the myth persists. 

I’ve worked with some of the most beautiful women in Hollywood and I can tell you they lift weights.  They lift weights that are heavy enough so they can get stronger.  It’s important to distinguish between bodybuilding and strength training.  Bodybuilding is a sport where men and women do everything they possibly can to build very large, defined muscles.  Bodybuilders work their muscles so intensely that multiple days are required to recover.   Therefore, they are only able to train one or two muscle groups per day.  The bottom line is it’s really very difficult to “bulk up”!

Strength training is a method of improving muscular strength by gradually increasing the ability to resist force through the use of free weights, machines, or a person's own body weight.  Strength does not necessarily equal size!  The benefits of strength training include increased bone, muscle, tendon and ligament strength, improved joint function, reduced potential for injury, increased bone density, increase in metabolism, improved cardiac function, and elevated HDL (good) cholesterol, not to mention improved performance in all sports and physical activities.  No other form of exercise provides a greater range of benefits.

Maybe you’ve tried lifting weights before only to find that your clothing fits tighter.  Here’s what happening:  If you’ve never really worked out with resistance before, you’ll have very little muscle tissue under a larger layer of fat.  By the third, fourth and fifth week of a good strength program, you are beginning to build lean tissue (muscle) under that layer of fat.  Muscle is denser than fat.  You go to pull your jeans over your thighs and they feel tighter.  You freak out because you think you are getting bigger. 

What’s actually happening is you now have denser tissue, which makes it more difficult to “squish” into those jeans.  Here’s the important part:  You haven’t yet given your metabolism a chance to change. Once you have more muscle tissue on your body, you will burn more calories, period.  You’ll burn more calories asleep, awake, working out, and watching TV.


Dale Dymokoski is a leading fitness expert and celebrity trainer. Be sure to check out Dale Dymkoski's blog, Changing Bodies,where you can find tons more fitness and nutrition tips!