So without further ado, let’s get into article 3 of this series from the book Roar.
Whether you are old, young or somewhere in between, Dr Stacy Sims recommends you lift heavy weights, or in her specific words, Lift Heavy Shit (100% her words not mine, go look her up). There is a bunch of research to back up this statement.
Women are more prone to osteoperosis than men. This is where our bones are depleted and more fragile than we would like them to be. This fragility causes bones to break and that’s not a good thing in the later years of life. But this impact can be reduced by working in your younger years to lay down some good bone foundations and then maintain that bone while you age. Which leads me to this all caps sentence…
NO MATTER YOUR AGE, YOU NEED TO LIFT HEAVY TO AVOID OSTEOPEROSIS.
Now that I have your attention, I want to lay some facts on you about your bones and muscles. Firstly the muscles are so important for bone strength as it’s the muscles that move and manipulate the bones. Weak muscles leads to lower density bones.
You start to lose 3% of your muscle density per decade from age 30, while strength declines 30% between the ages 50-70.
More research has shown that 40% of females 55 to 64 years of age, 45 % aged 65-74 and 65% between 75-84 cannot lift 10 pounds. That’s not even 5kg!! I don’t know about you but sometimes my groceries weigh more than that and this is a large portion of women who possibly can’t lift their shopping.
And although this may seem like for an 84 year old woman, another way to look at it is this 5kgs is a bag of cat food. How many elderly people have animals to feed let alone their own groceries they want to move. And if they cannot lift this amount, it means they are more prone to become off balance and fall when they are moving items around and this is when we get the nasty bone fractures we desperately want to avoid.
Further along this line, strength training will also go a long way to enhancing your endurance. And if you think about the little old ladies walking 50 meters and needing to sit down, you might rethink how important endurance is.
It is endurance or stamina in our muscles that helps us to perform for longer. If you are training for a sporting competition then it will allow for a better performance (as long as the strength exercises are specific for the sport you’re doing). But if you are strength training for life and your bones, then endurance means you can walk, stand, carry objects for longer without fear of falling over.
Another fact is by lifting heavy it doesn’t mean you will suddenly put on a heap of muscle mass and “look like a man”. The reason women are more prone to osteoperosis is because we have different hormone levels to men and this will also stop you from building a massive amount of bulk muscle (unless you are specifically training for this). But by training for strength alone, you aren’t going to be able to put on bulky muscle.
Strength training 2 to 3 times a week will allow for a long term impact on your bones. Dr Sims recommends moves such as a squat, lunge, deadlift, kettlebell swing, ball slams, jump squats, push up and plank.
Now more than ever there is a growing ability to work out at home so consider buying a kettle bell or medicine ball and work with that at home. This will allow every woman to lift heavy no matter their circumstances or space. Dr Sims recommends doing 10 repetitions with a kettle bell/medicine ball and if it’s the right weight the last repetition will be hard to perform but maintain correct form.
Start simple and build your way up but maintain your goal in mind “I want to lift heavy shit so my bones are strong”.
*****Make sure to investigate proper form for these exercises and maintain that form for every repetition of the exercise (don’t get tired and try to get the last repetition out but your whole body is crumbling – this will lead to injury).
**Seriously consider a personal trainer for one session a week to help with form (and commitment to training for your bones).
Any further questions on this please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org