Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Female Athlete Training Myths

Ladies, it's about time we debunk the myths of weight training once and for all!

Lean, strong, and nothing masculine about this athlete!

Weight training is beneficial for ALL types of people. Not just men! The common myth I hear all too often from women..

"I don't want to get too bulky" "I don't want to look manly!" Sound familiar? I don't blame you! After all, the media portrays a terrible image of strong, fit women and usually only show the female bodybuilders that are so full of the "JUICE" and artificial drugs (anabolic steroids if you haven't caught on), that they start to actually take on male characteristics.

This is NOT the way women were intended to look- testosterone is a male sex hormone and it is plainly obvious to see if a woman if using androgenic drugs. Moving on..

Women do not possess or produce the large amounts of testosterone that men have- this is why men are generally stronger, have more muscle mass per pound of bodyweight, larger frames, deep voice, adam's apple, facial hair, etc. These are all male characteristics. So how is it possible to get too bulky or manly from lifting weights if women do not produce enough testosterone to achieve that look? NO WAY will that happen (unless you using some substances discussed above).

Myth #1- If I lift weights I will bulk up and gain weight.
FALSE! Weight gain is highly contributed to how much you take in. You are either in caloric surplus (you eat more than you burn), caloric defecit (you eat less then you burn), or you are in neutral (your calories burned vs. taken in are about equal). Weight training will give you that look I'm sure you're all after- lean, toned, etc, right?

Myth #2- I will never get strong; I'll just lift the light weights since girls aren't supposed to lift weights anyways. Those heavy weights are for the guys!
FALSE! Women can actually achieve very high relative levels of strength (compared to their own bodyweight). And yes, everyone including female athletes can get strong! As long as you are progressing, you are getting stronger, the numbers will sort themselves out later!

Myth #3 Weight training will make me slow

FALSE! This is actually a very common myth among both men and women. In fact, it's quite the opposite as long as you do it CORRECTLY! Yes if all you do day in day out is lift weights and do NOTHING else, then you may become "tight" or stiff and performance may suffer; however if you stay on top of mobility, flexibility, and keep striving to improve on strength, power, and speed, then the gains will be nothing short of positive! Weight training also has great benefits for preventing injuries- Especially important for women who are 2-3 times more likely to tear an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) then their male counterparts. Not an injury you want to have happen to you unless you want surgery and a 8-12 month rehab!

In my opinion females can train just as hard as males on similar training programs. Women represent half of the training population, so why train differently? The only difference between the two is the hormonal make up! I've seen plenty of women in gyms kick some GUYS asses in workouts.. You'd be surprised!

Take home message? ALL women should be participating in resistance training, ESPECIALLY if you are participating in sports. The more lean muscle tissue you possess the more FAT YOU WILL BURN AT REST as well. As a friend of mine ELLIOTT HULSE over at Strength Camp has said "NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING STRONG!"

Get Some!
-John Cortese

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