Hey girlies, if you’ve been wanting to build muscle but have been hesitant to push yourself with the weights then think again. A recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research shows that women who want to build muscle strength and endurance should opt for a “traditional” strength training routine, pumping iron with more weight and fewer reps than other strength routines.
Researchers at Ohio University studied three groups of healthy, college-aged females who performed three different training methods over a six week period:
- Traditional strength training – heavier weight, fewer reps
- Endurance strength training – lighter weight, more reps
- Low velocity strength training – lighter weight, fewer reps, slower workout
Workouts consisted of leg presses, back squats and knee extensions. At the end of the six weeks, participants were measured for absolute strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance and body composition.
If you’ve done any strength training, then you may not be surprised by the results:
- The traditional strength group gained the most strength in leg press and knee extension exercises; the groups were not significantly different in the squat exercise
- The traditional endurance training group was the most successful at boosting muscular endurance
- Cardiovascular endurance didn’t increase significantly in any of the groups
- All of the groups combined showed a small decrease in percent body fat, but it was not statistically significant.
It’s interesting that body fat didn’t go down by much, but I suppose that’s because these women were “healthy” to begin with. So don’t panic if you’re hitting the weights hoping to lose body fat. Last year, research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that strength training can reduce body fat in overweight or obese premenopausal women, even without dietary changes. The bigger message is: don’t fear the bigger weights. Allow me to refer you to one of my favorite sites for women’s weight training, stumptuous.com. In the words of its wonderful author, Mistress Krista:
If you’re a woman who’s always secretly eyed those dumbbells but has always had some dummkopf tell you you would “hurt yourself”, “get too big”, or Gawd knows what other idiocies, this is a good place for you to start finding out the truth and to learn to love the iron.
Best Bet For Boosting Brawn In Women Is Traditional Strength Training [ScienceDaily]
How Strength Training Can Reduce Body Fat [dietblog]
Women’s Weight Training [stumptuous.com]