There is a ridiculous amount of BS surrounding female training meaning that a lot of women tend to just stick to the cardio machines, group aerobic classes and machines when in fact there really shouldn’t be much differentiating the men’s training from the women’s. Obviously both genders have different areas they want to focus on; arms, chest and back for the men where as women tend to gravitate towards legs, glutes and the core. Yet, the basis for everyone’s training should remain similar.

One of the main fears women have when they hear the word ‘weightlifting’ is that they’re going to suddenly pack on pounds of muscle and turn themselves into a female Schwarzenegger. Have no fear, that’s never going to happen unless you want it to.

For example, the testosterone levels in men compared to women are WAY higher. We’re talking 300-1000 ng/dl (nanograms per decilitre) for men with 300 being seen as on the low side. How much T does the average woman have? 15-70ng/dl making a difference off 930ng/dl in the top ranges. So trust me, you’re never going to do a 5×5 set of deadlifts and wake up with thighs bigger than Kanye West’s ego.

Training should be associated around building your strength and improving your aerobic capacity using functional movements coupled with some strategic assistance exercises to aid any lagging muscles. We’re talking squats, deadlifts, bent over rows, bench presses, pull ups, kettlebell swings, vertical jumps, lunges , burpees as well as variations on those movements and some isolated work if you feel like you need it.

Weightlifting will improve your confidence, competence, capability, co-ordination and many other c words that I can’t quite think of right now. Imagine being able to crack out 12 pull ups easy or even being able to complete a muscle up.

That means no tiny pink weights to get ‘toned.’ Honestly, is there a more patronising or pointless piece of equipment than a 2lb fluorescent dumbbell? Make the barbell your best friend.

You know where treadmills get you? In the same spot you started in. Magazines, bad personal trainers and outdated views are holding women back. You are capable of amazing things and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

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author: Chris Cannon