11 Jul 2018

Why women need weights

You may have seen the recommendation from Public Health England that everyone should find the time to fit in a couple of resistance workouts a week.

Strength training is vital to maintaining strong bones and muscles, which is especially important as you get older.  The advice is to build up your muscle and bone mass as a young adult to help avoid issues later in life.

One thing you lovely ladies will like to hear is that since muscle is an active tissue, unlike fat, having more of it will burn more calories throughout the day, even if you are just sitting at your desk.

But the variety of exercises out there can be a bit daunting for those of you who are only used to lifting shopping bags!

Strength training should initially be multi-joint movements based around normal, daily tasks. If the aim is to maximise your time, focusing on one isolated movement or one joint will be counterproductive.

Using more muscles in a compound (multi-joint), movement will be more transferrable to movements you make in everyday life, burn more calories, and produce more endorphins to help elevate mood and relieve stress.

I am not saying you should expect to have biceps like Arnold Schwarzenegger or do Olympic Squats.

Indeed if you are a beginner, you should not work with heavy loads, so light weights that allow you to do between eight and 12 reps of each exercise are perfect. Aim to do between two and three sets of each exercise twice per week.

woman exercising

Here are some movements to try at home:


The best starting point for any lower-body programme should come from the ability to squat.  

Hold a dumbbell close to your chest and squat down slowly, pushing your hips back until your thighs are parallel to the ground. From this position, drive back up to standing, leading with your chest.

Working in front of a mirror will help you make sure you keep your knees in line with your feet and your torso upright.

Dumbell Step up

Set a step at a height that ensures your thigh is parallel to the floor when you place your foot on it.

Holding dumbbells at your sides, plant your foot on the step securely and drive up powerfully, focusing on contracting the glute in your leading leg.

Finish standing on the step with the opposite knee raised, then step back


The simple bridge is a great way to work on them.

Lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, squeeze your glutes and push your heels into the floor to raise your hips.

Your body should form a straight line from knees to shoulders, with your torso straight and your abdominals tight.


For upper-body strength, you can’t go too far wrong with the simple press-up.

Focus on keeping your abdominals tight, and try to keep your hips at the same height as your shoulders.

Make sure to lower your body in a controlled manner and drive powerfully back up to the starting position.


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