It's been a long standing misconception to the world of health and fitness that women who strength train will instaneously become equally as large and bulky as our male counter parts. Additionally, women have been poorly influenced to gravitate toward free weights that are hot pink, purple, yellow, orange, and other fun colors that weigh somewhere in the vicinity of 1 to 10 pounds. Often times, the 10 lb dumbbell is too heavy, yet the last time I checked most women carry around purses, laptop bags, or backpacks, all weighing an excess of 10 pounds. Some even carry two bags and balance a cup of coffee in their free hand during their commute to work (talk about functional training!) Yet when asked to press that 10 lb dumbbell overhead, you'd think you just asked them to kill someone with the look that was recieved.
Now I'm not bashing the 10 lb dumbbell if it's used as a starting point, but that's all it can be used for, is a starting point. After a few weeks of strength training, there is no reason why that 10 lb dumbbell should still be in her hand. I usually don't bring science and medicine into my posts, but today I'm going to, briefly. Women want to start strength training to avoid the risk of osteoporosis as they age. Weight bearing exercise and resistance exercise, what a great idea and if that is someone's only reason to start strength training, then I'm glad you have a goal and I'll help you achieve it, but eventually you're going to be using weights that weigh more than 10 lbs. That 1 lb dummbell isn't going to prevent you from getting osteoporosis.
A book weighs more than 1 pound!
A gallon of milk weighs more than 1 pound!
Your child weighs more than 1 pound!
I bet, on Sunday morning, the newspaper weighs more than 1 pound!
One more time, your purse weighs more than 1 pound!
Now, before I get it handed to me because I haven't taken into consideration the women that have a medical issue, or someone with a disability, I'm not talking about that part of the population, although I think they have every right to be strong too, I'm talking about your everyday average woman who wants to 'tone up' and get fit, but who whines, cries, and complains when they actually have to lift a weight.
Let's skip ahead to progress. Assuming 10 pounds is finally overhead safely and even confidently, why stop there? Why not make any gains? Why not challenge yourself again and over time try 15, 20, 25, 30 pounds or even more? If not for your own personal satisfaction of just knowing that you can do it, then why not for your kids? Last time I watched my friend's son he thought the coolest thing that afternoon was that I'd pick him up over my head, twirled him around and now he could fly like an airplane(iguratively of course) My friend's son weighs 40lbs.
Three things that cease to amaze me...
It ceases to amaze me how few women are willing to push themselves hard enough to want to be able to pick up a heavier kettlebell, dumbbell, barbell on their own. Increasing your strength directly affects your quality of life, it builds confidence, creates a sense of pride, but most importantly it allows you to go through everyday life activities without a second thought.
It also amazes me that women (and men) settle for having to struggle through everyday life activities because they aren't strong enough to open a jar, carry in the dog food from the car, or empty the water out of the dehumidifier, among hundreds of other things if not more. These are tasks you don't have to settle for, but I guess it's easier to have someone else do something for you than be able to just do it yourself.
The last thing that amazes me, is when people dumb down an application to sell it to the masses rather than promote it's truth. It all goes back to the hot pink, purple, yellow, orange, and other fun colored dumbbells and kettlebells.
I don't expect everyone who walks through my door to walk over to the heaviest kettlebell, dumbbell, medicine ball, whatever, and pick it up. I don't expect everyone to have the same strengths, the same goals, my strengths, or my goals. What I do expect from everyone that walks through my door is dedication and a starting goal. Once that goal is hit, a new one gets set, and advances are made, progress occurs. No one is happy with a plateau or settles for lifting the same weight they did 5, 10, or 15 months ago.