Jessica Bento, MSPT
Ladies, is it just me or are you tired of it? Are you as tired as I am reading articles, often by men, trying to tell us how we should workout? How about fitness magazines that don’t come close to giving REAL fitness information. If I have to see another fitness magazine where an 18 year old fitness model is working out with 3 pound dumbbells, I am going to be sick.
Over the weekend I was watching E! News, I know there is an oxymoron there, but they were interviewing Miley Cyrus’ trainer. No matter what you think of Miley’s antics, I could only think of one thing. She is 21! Can you remember your body when you were 21? Yea me too! Hearing ridiculous and flat out wrong information about how to train a 21 celebrity that spends their life performing didn’t really resonate with me. Maybe I put too much thought into it.
Is it better though? Better to listen to those articles I see go through my Facebook newsfeed preaching to women to lift heavier? I wonder, I wonder if these articles (mostly written by men) telling us to lift heavy realize what we want, how we want to feel, and what we want to a achieve.
Should we lift heavy? Depends, how do you see “heavy”? I often think of my girlfriends that don’t workout, my Mom, and women at my work. Should these women lift “heavy”? They need to train with a weight that is right for them! What does that mean?
Form has to be number one! The weight you use should NEVER cause you to lift with bad posture or form. This may seem obvious, but I am constantly amazed by the videos Josh shows me of people posting their “heavy” lifts and I am just appalled. When I ask him why people are cheering such bad mechanics he tries to explain to me, “all in the name of “strength”, or something.” Without getting too far off topic, heavy or light your form needs to be impeccable.
Once we realize what good and bad form look like, we need to use a weight that makes us work. That is terribly vague though! How much?
Here is where maybe I have a different perspective. Being a physical therapist you might think I am the no-no police. No don’t train hard, no don’t lift heavy, but that isn’t the case. I will tell you that it is all relative.
What I do see in the clinic is a full spectrum of people. Those that are competitive athletes to those that haven’t gotten off the couch in a VERY long time! There needs are very different and we can’t give one blanket recommendation to everyone. Ironically though, you might see some similarities.
These are men AND women that are often weekend warriors to fairly competitive in non-professional sports. Maybe they do triathlons, obstacle races, leagues, and even Crossfit.
Even though many of these people train all the time, they often have BIG holes in their fitness and strength. It generally isn’t they need to lift heavier or get “more fit”, they needed to prepare their bodies far better for the demands they were going to place upon it.
Ladies, we may need a bit more. We are up to 8 times more likely than men to suffer non-contact ACL injuries. Our hormones can influence our body’s readiness and reaction to strength training. Those of you that have had children, your body go through a significant trauma that needs to have the body re-trained. You have to focus on a lot smarter training than just harder!
These things don’t make women weak, they just mean we need more thoughtful programs. Unfortunately, these women too often push their body to the limits and do little to help support their bodies. Knees, backs, I see them all the time, too much!
The Fitness Enthusiast
Although I am giving kind of a hard time to the macho laden articles for women, there is some truth. As I have talked about in the past, I was never a big lifting person in the past. I would probably go for more cardio based training if given the option.
I Googled “women’s workouts and it was very hard to find a image of a woman lifting more than her body weight or a 5 pound weight. Whether we like it or not, the image of a woman being skinny is far more promoted than women being healthy and fit. That is why it is still easier to find women in a yoga class, spin, or crowding the “cardio” area a the gym than it is them pushing on the weights.
Now THIS type of woman definitely needs to lift heavy, right?! Well, they probably need to train heavier. The priority isn’t giving them bigger weights. It is teaching them how to conned to their bodies. How to move effectively and efficiently. How do you use the right muscles and then we can add the RIGHT amount of weight.
I see it all the time, both trainers and new enthusiasts get all wrapped up in the rapid strength gains they see. Posts on Facebook start to go way up and it seems there is no limit. That is all a trick! Whenever we do something new, we have a period of rapid improvement because of our bodies learning. The smart trainer controls the enthusiasm and doesn’t just go heavier and heavier.
The SMART woman and coach realize that the body needs to be built progressively, not over night. That is why I think DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training has such power for women. We can push ourselves, we can make challenging workouts, we can get “stronger” a host of different ways.
Why is this any different? To me, there are two HUGE benefits. The first is that you are constantly making progress. You learn all types of different strength you can build and muscles you didn’t know you had. Strength can be so many different things and you start to see how we can be what I call “athletically strong” with DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training.
Secondly, you don’t get hurt. I am not going to say you will NEVER get hurt, but I’ll tell you something. In now six years of using DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training, I have never had an injury from training. With a background of herniated discs in my back and torn rotator cuffs in both shoulders, this is a BIG deal to me. I can’t tell you how many people I have treated because of their fitness program.
So, What Do I Do?
The question ultimately becomes, “what should I do then?” That is why I have made the promise to blog a lot more about how to be strong, athletic, flexible, and feminine. Next time I will break down how you can develop a program that shows that us women don’t need others to tell us how to be strong.
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