The idea that bicep curls and barbell squats are a recipe for an Arnold Schwarzenegger physique has stopped women from entering the free weights area at their gym for too long. Contrary to the myth that lifting weights makes women ‘bulky’, weight training contributes to increased strength, muscle tone and confidence as well as helping to sculpt leaner, more powerful arms, legs and abs.

We’ve combined the expert opinion of our resident Personal Trainer and Buf Girl, Libby Babet, with a hefty dose of scientific research to prove that weight training has holistic health and fitness benefits, with no Arnie muscles in sight.

Lean and mean

Resistance training has been shown to significantly increase lean body mass. Lifting weights is responsible for greater muscle growth than other form of exercise, meaning our bodies become more efficient energy-burning machines. The more muscle we have the higher our basal metabolic rate. In simple terms, lifting weights means that your body burns more energy when you’re doing nothing at all. Winning!

It’s not all about muscle

Studies show that resistance training has favourable effects on blood lipid levels and blood pressure. Lifting weights with moderate to high intensity (think circuit training or a resistance style class at your gym) also works to increase your cardiovascular endurance and VO2 max. The benefits are endless!

Stress Less

What could be more relieving than taking out your tension on a set of dumbbells? Resistance training has been linked to lowered levels of stress. Ask any girl who has completed a few sets of barbell squats, the whole process is like therapy! Even more interesting is the link between resistance training and reduced anxiety symptoms.

Better Bones

Multiple studies have shown that women who took part in regular resistance training experienced improved bone mineral density. Having healthy, strong bones is an especially important issue for women who later in life, are at greater risk of Osteoporosis.

Look Good Naked

“Most women express a desire to look “toned” in the buff. Well, tone is simply a combination of muscle growth and fat loss, and resistance training delivers both,” says Libby. Cardio burns calories, but it’s not great for creating the lean muscle mass you need to get a sculpted look, so make sure you lift if you want to look good naked 😉

Natural Botox

Lifting weights through multiple planes of motion will improve the health of your skin and connective tissue, boost blood flow and increase collagen production to combat wrinkles and give you glowing, plumped-up skin. Yes please!

These are just some of the benefits of resistance training. You don’t have to start grunting and bicep curling with the guys to add resistance training to your program, start small. Try adding some simple resistance moves to your using lightweights, focusing on your form and work your way up. Check out some of the workouts in our fitness section as a guide.