Lifting heavy. Maybe you’re ready to get your hands on that barbell. Maybe you’re still not sure if lifting heavy is for you.
I’m not here to sell you why you should lift heavy. Yes I have an online ebook to tell you all of that, but here all I can share is the research I’ve done and how lifting heavy has affected my body, my mindset, and my self-esteem.
Whether you’re all in or on the fence about starting, I hope this post will help clarify the benefits of lifting heavy and give you the confidence to cross from the carpet to the rubber the next time you hit the gym. (The red to the black mats in my gym specifically) haha
Here, we break down how lifting heavy leads to a bigger, faster, stronger body.
Bigger – Benefits to muscle
A common concern women have when considering lifting is that they will get too big or look like a bodybuilder.
I’m here to break it to you not-so-gently: you won’t.
Bodybuilders work insanely hard to build the muscle and maintain a lower body fat composition — measuring and weighing their food. And that’s just normal day-to-day life. You should read what they go through the days and weeks leading up to a competition.
The truth is building muscle is the only way to get that toned physique you crave. And lifting heavy is the best way to get that muscle.
But more than helping you achieve that perfect bikini body, building muscle has significant other benefits.
At 172 cm and 63 kg’s, I don’t look like a menacing meathead who can deadlift twice her body weight and squat 100kg’s. Fact is, I can’t, you don’t have to either. There are women smaller than me out-lifting me by 100kg’s or more.
Being able to lift twice your body weight is seriously empowering.
It’s also practical. Are you lifting kiddos on a daily/ hourly basis? Do you want to be able to move that furniture or heavy bag without waiting for your significant other to help you?
By strengthening your muscles, you’ll also reduce your risk of injury in other areas of your life. Think about it. Your muscles surround vital joints, tendons, bones, and organs. The stronger that muscle, the more protection there is.
Metabolism and why you need all the donuts
Muscle mass is the “engine” of the calorie-burning machine. As you strength train and increase your muscle mass, you build a bigger, more efficient engine that burns more calories and helps you lose weight.
Not sold yet? What if I told you lifting heavy lets you have donuts, burn calories at rest, improves your blood sugar, cholesterol, and improves blood pressure.
Faster – Benefits to central nervous system
I know I said I wasn’t going to sell you guys on lifting heavy, but I feel like an infomercial. Did you think lifting heavy only had benefits to muscle? Think again. Lifting heavy also has a huge impact on our central nervous system.
Basically, when someone lifts heavy, their muscles all perform as a group faster and more efficiently. The neural communication to triggering those muscles improves, giving a person who lifts that split-second edge to react. Quite important, considering how quickly you need to react to situations in real life, you may change your mind.
In a LiveStrong article, Eric Brown writes about the value lifting heavy has on motor unit recruitment, coordination, and synchronization of motor units. “The stress placed on the [Central Nervous System] is directly proportional to the load you are attempting to lift, so the heavier you train, the greater the Central Nervous System response,” he writes.
Stronger – Benefits to the bone
Another common concern people that don’t lift weights have is the impact lifting heavy can have on joints and bones. You may be sensing a theme here of misconceptions.
You guessed it: Lifting heavy improves bone density and decreases bone loss.
Through a process known as bone remodeling, strength training stimulates the development of bone osteoblasts: cells that build bones back up. While you can achieve some of these bone benefits through aerobic exercise, especially in your lower body, resistance training is really the best way to maintain and enhance total-body bone strength.
Building all of that muscle and improving bone density has another subsequent benefit: improved posture.
With more and more of us suffering from nerd neck after hunching over our computers every day, this may be the greatest reason to start lifting. Working together and working against your every hunch, your muscles naturally begin to hold those bones in place and return them to the body’s ideal alignment.
That doesn’t mean you don’t have work to do to fix extreme postural deficiencies, but if you’re lifting heavy you’re on the right track.
I hope this was helpful and that I would see more and more girls moving over to the weight section from the cardio machines, if this is not enough benefits, and if you can’t sense my absolute passion for it? I don’t know what else to tell you!
But you’re not going to get a tight toned booty by sitting on it 😛