If you’re a woman I’m sure at some point in your life you’ve heard the following about weightlifting: “That isn’t good for you, you’re going to get bulky, it’s too heavy”. It may have been enough to either keep you from participating in that type of activity or being hesitant to do so. If you’re in the sport, or weight train regularly, I’m sure you all know the above isn’t true. Women weightlifting is an empowering and beneficial activity with many physical and mental advantages.
Manage Glucose Levels
Hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, is a very dangerous condition that is regularly associated with diabetes. How does weight training tie into lowering blood sugar? Weightlifting, and weight training in general, uses glucose for energy. We store this glucose in our muscles and liver. As we exercise our bodies use up all of the stored glucose in our muscles. Once it runs out and we need more, we start pulling the glucose from our blood and liver (Staff, 2020). This directly reduces the amount of sugar in our blood stream and therefore our bodies. Not only that, because we used up all of the stored glucose in our muscles, the next time we eat that sugar has somewhere to go. As we continue to weight train and our muscles get bigger the more room there is for glucose to be stored inside. That further reduces your regular blood sugar level.
Reduce Blood Pressure
Weightlifting can be an effective means of reducing blood pressure and improving cardiovascular health. It’s an anaerobic exercise that requires short bursts of intense effort. Engaging in weightlifting activities puts a demand on the cardiovascular system, forcing the heart to pump blood more efficiently. Over time, this strengthens the heart muscle and improves its ability to pump blood throughout the body.
More efficient pumping leads to more blood flow to our muscles. Increased blood flow promotes the expansion of the blood vessels improving their elasticity. There is a thin membrane lining our blood vessels and heart. This membrane is called the endothelium. When we are weightlifting, we place physical stress on the blood vessels. This stress triggers the release of things like nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps dilate blood vessels and improve blood flow supporting healthy endothelial function. That means, more blood flow, less pressure!
Improve Bone Mineral Density
Osteoporosis is often called a “silent killer” and impacts 1 in 3 women over the age of 50 (Keen, 2023). We discussed this a little bit in our last blog (read here) about why bodyweight training is important. Much like last week, it’s important to understand that a sedentary lifestyle without elevating regular stressors on your bones leads to losing bone density. That means you’re more likely to break or fracture your bones from little things. Regular daily activities aren’t enough to promote healthy bone density. Putting extra stress on your bones, like weightlifting, activates cells called osteoblasts in your body that generate new bone. Now, I don’t want you thinking that you’re fully reconstructing in there, however, these small new formations strengthen your bones making it less likely that a small trip or fall will result in a break.
Weightlifting is an excellent way to lose fat and gain muscle. I’m not talking about hulking out of your t-shirt, but rather tightening and toning your body. You’re going to see body composition changes. Body composition is the combination of the percentage of how much muscle, fat, bone, water, and other tissues are in your body. So a composition change might mean you’re reducing the amount of fat and increasing the amount of muscle.
You can always train with a goal in mind and if you’re working with the right trainer they’ll be able to help you achieve your goal. You can be strong without being bulky. It’s all about understanding the right way to train to achieve your goals.
We went over the physical benefits but let’s not forget the mental ones we gain. Women weightlifting provides self esteem and confidence boosts. Often struggling with body image, women will shift focus from losing weight to building strength. That translates into carrying yourself with more ease and confidence.
The next time someone tells you that you shouldn’t weight lift, it’s not good for you, or it’s too heavy, ignore them. There are just as many benefits for women weightlifting as there are for anyone else. It’s important to be healthy and strong and to feel that way too.
For lots of great exercises that incorporate weights and body weight make sure you check out our growing YouTube library!
Our Amazing Athletes
Casey “Big Grizzly” Pierce
Playing football since he was 12 years old, Casey loved to watch and support the Eagles from a young age. His career grew as he was a 3 year letterman at Solanco High School, spending 2 years as a starter. From there, he received a walk on offer from Shippensburg University and earned a scholarship later that spring. Within 2 full years he went from a semi-pro footballer to a professional outdoor player. He was invited to the XFL 2022 showcase in Washington, D.C. and worked out for the USFL Memphis Showboats in Houston of 2023. Casey connected with Mobility-Doc in about 2016 through his training at Garage Strength with Dane Miller. He was out of football and getting into Olympic Weightlifting but needed help improving shoulder and hip mobility.
With all of us, life goes through ups and downs. In 2020 Casey was struggling. He had poor mental health and was nearly giving up on football but was able to pull a 180. He said:
“I could not be here if not for the added knowledge and treatment and mobility exercises to prevent injuries of Dr. John that I’ve used for years now. I think everyone can utilize his knowledge for athletic purposes but also quality of life as we age so we can live the best possible life the way our bodies were designed to move”.
It’s been challenging, but Casey’s other main focus outside of football is to finish his degree. He is currently planning to graduate from school with a degree in exercise science and nutrition in 2024.
Currently living in Peach Bottom, PA Casey has been in Saltillo Mexico for the 2023 season and will return home after the Championship game this Saturday. A proud Dino, he said that “playing in the Mexican LFA has been great for my Spanish, but to travel the country and help lead my team to a championship as an offensive lineman has been incredibly rewarding”. The Dino’s are set to compete tomorrow afternoon (Saturday 6/10/23 at 12pm). Tune in and watch them here to support Casey! GO DINO’s!
Mayo Clinic Staff, 2020, Hyperglycemia in diabetes, Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hyperglycemia/symptoms-causes/syc-20373631
Keen MU, Reddivari AKR. Osteoporosis in Females. [Updated 2023 Apr 15]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK559156/