Getting huge and growling at people while you’re in the gym is not what lifting is about. Lifting also isn’t only for men. Lifting is something all females should do, and definitely if you want to be a better athlete. I wish someone had taught a young Erica to lift in junior high or early high school for 4 main reasons…
1. I could have avoided injury by being more aware of my body and it’s imbalances
2. I could have avoided injury by working all my muscles
3. I would have been a better athlete
4. I would have learned what my body was capable of
1. Lifting made me focus on my form and technique. Focusing on how my body moved allowed me to learn more about my body. It didn’t take long to realize that I had some imbalances. For example, back squats made me aware that my right quad was a little weaker than my left. Deadlift showed me that my hamstrings were not evenly strong. I was then able to focus on exercises and programs that helped to correct those imbalances.
2. If you can list the exercises you work on in one page, you’re probably not doing enough (unless you write REALLY small). You’re also probably overusing the main muscles you’re working on. Just running or just doing the same workouts over and over can cause strain on your muscles. Lifting and adding a variety of exercises can strengthen the smaller muscles that support your main ones.If you’re a runner, it’s great to do some lifting to help strengthen muscles that can help you run faster.
3. I played soccer all my life and went to play a year at college. If I had been stronger, I would have been a better athlete. For example, if I had learned to squat I would have been more explosive. If I had learned how to bench press, I would have been stronger in the air. If I had lifted, all my movements would have been more successful during practices and games.
4. I’ve learned so much about my body because of lifting. I’ve seen what it’s capable of but I’ve also seen how much I need to work on. I did a strength program that my husband Ben created for me and when I started I was only able to dead lift 100 lb, and by the end of the 6 week program I was able to deadlift 175 lb. For bench press, I was only able to bench 65 lb, and by the end I was able to bench 95 lb. I had huge increases in what I was able to do. When I saw the numbers, I was like thought, wow.. I actually did that and I was actually able to achieve numbers I didn’t think possible. Now when it’s time to switch my workout program, I like to set goals whether it be 10 perfect squats at 140 lb, or a 7:30 minute mile. I love trying to reach those goals and challenging myself, because NOW I know I can do it. NOW I know what I’m capable of.
I guess there is another reason why women should lift…it’s because you can! You don’t have to go out and deadlift twice your weight to show someone that you know what you’re doing. (Trust me, we all go to the gym and think about everyone watching us, so we work a little harder.) It’s a lot better to deadlift with perfect form using a lower weight instead of curling your back trying to pull 200 lb. People will respect that you’re trying something new, so it’s totally okay when starting to use the 45 lb bar for squats or benchpress. Trust me, ladies, guys are totally okay with helping to spot you or help you with form if you ask. [I’m sure they don’t mind looking at your booty, too] You’ll even gather a group of guy friends at the gym and before you know it, they’ll be asking you to spot them and asking you about your workout program [Then you can ask “How YOU doing? 😉 ]
In all seriousness, lifting can change your body, awaken your mind to the possibilities, and help you find a great community of friends.