Strength training is important for everyone, but we often find women shy away from such activities. Fear of getting too muscular, or focusing too hard on doing activities they think will get them thinner and toned. With the popularity of CrossFit, this image has started to shift, and we are seeing more sayings like “Strong is beautiful” and such things that encourage women to lift weights. However, it is also important to ADD strength training to CrossFit, especially for those who desire to get stronger in the sport, or in general. Here are some other reasons strength training is important for everyone, but specifically women!
Long Term Effects
We always hope the habits we create now will have a long lasting effect on our lives. Many of us participate in CrossFit because we strive to be healthy, and ultimately live longer. We also want to look better naked, duh. So what are the long term effects of strength training? There are many, but to name a few, let’s start with increased muscle mass. As we get older, the age old (no pun intended) myth is we get weaker. But if we continue to strength train we can increase our muscle mass. The more muscle mass, the more calories you burn (on average per pound of muscle gained means burning an extra 7 -15 cals/day). Also the more muscle mass, the stronger you are and feel, and the more you can do. Another benefit is better coordination. Increased metabolism. Less injuries. Improved bone density. For women specifically, it has been shown that lifting is more effective in preventing weight gain than cardiovascular activities, which is against what most believe. Most believe cardio will help us fight weight gain, where the benefit seems to lie more with the weight training.
Many of us may start CrossFit and see many results right away. PRs left and right. HUGE strength increases. But then we might notice our PRs slow, or become less and we might get discouraged. CrossFIt is great, but there are so many modalities, it’s hard to keep up. And a lot of answers for “Why can’t I do a pull-up?” “Why can’t I hold a handstand?” “Why can I only do a few push-ups then it gets really hard?” “Why hasn’t my strength increased?’ Etc etc. can usually be answered by lack of strength, and lack of focusing on your basics. Building a strong platform to work off of can increase our abilities in CrossFit in all modalities. Building strength cannot hurt you in the sport. Also with CrossFit we find that we focus on moving quickly. Sometimes we need to slow down, focus on quality of quantity, and make sure our form is right. So when we go for a new 1RM we are confident that we won’t get hurt!
People often get asked what you would tell yourself 5 years ago, 10 years ago, maybe even 15. And what I would have told myself is to start lifting, you will like it. There has been nothing that has been more empowering than being able to lift weight with my body. My body that has been described by stereotypes and years of being told that women are weaker, and can’t do things themselves or need to rely on others. I have never felt more confident about myself, because at the end of the day I am proud of what my body can do. And without any type of lifting I would have never been able to feel this way. I know I am not alone in feeling this way. There is something about lifting heavy (a relative term) as a female that awakens a confidence and empowerment not found other places. So yet another thing that can come out of lifting is gaining confidence.
***If you are looking to add some strength to your CrossFit regiment, or looking to build a strong foundation, whether you’re a seasoned CrossFitter, or never walked in the door, Nevermore will be offering our 3rd go round of Barbell Betty’s where coach KP will help you hone in on your power lifts (deadlift, strict press, and back squat). Starting early January with 1x a week scheduled meeting, open gym meeting opportunities, and video homework. Stay tuned for more info, or reach out to KP for that!