Why You Should Focus on Strength and How You Can Get Stronger by Chloe Kyprianou
As I lock out on yet another heavy deadlift I can’t help but grin from ear to ear. The reason for my smugness is twofold:
- Once again I proved that I am stronger than ever.
- I didn’t pee myself!
There are few things more empowering than proving your physical strength, to yourself and for yourself.
The day I decided to ditch all other methods and focus my workouts solely on strength, was the day my life changed.
It turned out the testosterone filled weights area of the gym wasn’t half as intimidating as I thought it was going to be. Quite the opposite in fact. As the months progressed I got nothing but compliments, encouragement and support from my fellow weightlifters, as they witnessed first-hand just how powerful I was becoming.
While I didn’t feel at all uncomfortable, I couldn’t help but notice that more often than not, I was the only woman in the room. It’s worth noting; my relationship with weightlifting started some years ago. Things are a little different now, as more women are taking on the non-conventional iron. However; we can’t deny it remains a very male dominated sport.
Over the years I couldn’t help but feel frustrated by the complete misconceptions that surround women and weightlifting. I kept thinking; ‘If only more women knew the truth’. That was when I decided to do something about it. If it’s the last thing I do, I will continue to project the message that women can and should lift heavy.
I want to share with you the benefits of focusing your workouts on strength and what you can do to continue to build your physical strength beyond anything you ever imagined.
Why you should focus your workouts on strength:
- You can only run/swim/cycle so far, fast and for so long. With weightlifting there is no end to how much you can lift, because once you’ve lifted it, you add a couple more pounds and lift again.
- Tracking your lifts is one of the most accurate ways to monitor your progress. The majority of other tracking methods entail variables that are outside of your control.
- With a strong body, everything else gets easier.
- The feeling of empowerment that comes through weightlifting is second to none.
- There are also many health benefits to strength training, including (but not limited to);
- Strengthening of bones, joints and ligaments.
- Improved posture.
- Supporting your mental health
- Good for your heart health
- Boosts energy levels
How to build your strength
There are a number of things you can do to ensure you are getting stronger with each workout.
Track: By far the most important thing you should be doing is keeping track of your lifts. If you’re not making a note of how much you lift in each session, you’ll have no benchmark for the next session.
Build slowly: For sustainable results and to avoid injury, it’s important to build your strength up consistently over time.
Lay the foundations :Before you start adding weight to your lifts, you must first make sure you have laid a solid foundation to build upon. You should begin each new exercise using light weights and focusing on your form. Do not add weight to sloppy exercises, it’s not worth it.
Once you are confident that you are performing the exercise with good form and posture, you can start to add weight slowly.
Add weight as often as you can-As a rule of thumb; you should start to struggle around the 8th rep of a 10 rep set. If you are managing 10 reps without any struggle towards the end of the set; you can go heavier.
3 reps is better than no reps- If you attempt to work a heavier weight and you can only manage 3 reps; it’s still a valid set. Don’t underestimate the power of high volume and low reps. This is a widely used technique to build strength and muscle at a faster rate.
Drop the weight and focus on the full range of movement- This may seem contradictory to the above, but hear me out. Your strength will be built up over time using a variety of training methods. This is how you get well rounded results. It really does pay to slow things down and focus on good form, as well as your mind muscle connection.
Use the mirrors- Some women don’t like to see mirrors in gyms, but they serve an important purpose. Not just for selfies; gym mirrors are your way of monitoring your form, posture and range of movement. Use them! Well performed sets matter.
Add the little plates-It may only be a couple of pounds, but by adding those to your lift, you are slowly conditioning your muscles to lift heavier.
That’s not all!
Weightlifting in general is only part of the equation. How you perform your weightlifting workout routine contributes largely to your outcome. The fact is; there are a number of different training methods that you can adopt, all of which serve a purpose. Which methods you use will depend entirely on your desired outcome.
To begin with; keep things as simple as possible. Get in the weights room and start to familiarize yourself with the equipment and some basic exercises to get you started. As your strength builds you should start to explore different training methods to see which suits you best.
Lipstick Lifters was born in 2015 out of my love of lifting and my desire to spread the word. My goal is to empower, support and encourage as many women as possible into the world of weightlifting. I do that by providing reliable information and ongoing support to all women in weightlifting, through the Lipstick Lifters brand.