- Exercise & Fitness
Why Muscle Training Is Important For Women
Types of Muscle Training
Muscle training is more than just lifting weights, it comes with a variety of training methods and will often depend on the kinds of results you are looking for. Since most women who are looking improve their appearance through muscle training, using weights or other strength-increasing exercises for power or endurance isn’t necessarily what you should be shooting for. Muscle training for leg shaping, toning, and getting a better butt is likely going to be more along the lines of training for hypertrophy (increasing lean muscle mass without adding bulk). This is primarily what women are looking for, as it not only increases physical appearance, but also helps prevent osteoporosis, it reduces the risk of injury, arthritis, back pain and heart disease, and it can be accomplished several ways.
The easiest way to implement a strength training routine is to use weights. This can be free weights or machines, but when trying to build a better looking body without too much bulk, be sure to use lighter weights and more repetitions to exhaust the muscle groups rather than simply using heavier weight and less reps. Heavier weights might work well if you’re trying to increase the size and shapeliness of your butt, but is won’t necessarily make your legs and arms very feminine. Nice curves come from more of a gentle sculpting approach, rather than a “stop and start” mentality toward toning.
You can also use floor exercises to increase tone and lean muscle mass. Exercises like lunges and squats are great for leg shaping and for building a fantastic looking butt. Plus, utilizing light hand weights here can take your routine up a notch without adding bulk. Additionally, often-overlooked exercise regimens that require balance and endurance, like Pilates and yoga, are great muscle building techniques – and they are a lot harder than they look.
The Myth of Cardio
Women who are trying to achieve a killer body with nice curves often hit the cardio hard. Unfortunately, many people are misled into believe this is the key to burning fat and sculpting the body, and it just isn’t true. The key to leg shaping, great abs, and a nice back side is a combination of strength and muscle training and cardiovascular activity, and there’s a good reason why.
Pound for pound, muscle takes more calories to exist than fat cells, so when you build muscle you are not only burning more calories, but you are also helping prevent the increase of fatty tissue. Most people know this. However, what most people don’t know is that although cardiovascular activity is helping you increase your metabolism, give you better heart health, and promote better vascular heath (your blood needs to be able to flow freely to rid itself of toxins and obtain nutrients), if you exercise too long and hard on a treadmill, you actually being to start breaking down healthy muscle tissue instead of burning fat.
The body is a tricky machine, so while cardio is great for you, a simple 30 minute stretch is all you really need. In fact, according to a Harvard Medical School study, it may even be broken up into different chunks and still achieve the same results (unless your training for endurance, and not sculpting and overall internal health). This means you can hop on the treadmill for a 10 minute warm-up, perform your muscle training routine, and jump back on for 20 minutes at the end, and still achieve maximum benefits.
Don’t’ be fooled into thinking more cardio is better, because most of the time it’s counterproductive.
Taking Care of Your Body Machine: Good Food and Rest
Any woman who is using muscle training to get a better butt, more shapely legs and a more defined body needs to be taking special steps to make sure all their hard work pays off. This includes eating good food and getting plenty of rest.
The food you put inside your body has a big impact on how your body reacts to exercise, whether you build muscle effectively, and whether or not you are burning fat while you do it. Since the building block of muscle is protein, you should ensure that you eat plenty of it. Lean protein is always better, because it contains less calories, it generally contains less cholesterol, and may even provide some essential fatty acids that help you build muscle. This might include chicken and fish, legumes and even some vegetables (did you know broccoli contains 4.2 grams of protein per serving?). You might also want to incorporate fruits and vegetables that contain antioxidants, vitamin C, and which contain immune system boosting properties, like blueberries, strawberries, garlic, onions, broccoli, and ginger.
Sleep and good rest are also important, as building muscle requires a recovery period for the muscle cells to heal and strengthen from their workout. Additionally, proper rest doesn’t just mean sleep, it means waiting at least 24 hours after focusing on a muscle group to work it again. In fact, many fitness experts recommend alternating major muscle groups and extending the waiting period between harder muscle training to 48 hours, unless you are working your abs, which have a faster recovery time.
Muscle training is important for women. It helps them tone their body and look their best on the outside, and it helps keep them healthier on the inside. If you don't already have a good muscle training regimen incorporated into your weekly routine, it's time you start. After all, a better butt is waiting.