Why Strength Training is Important for Women
We have seen a huge shift from cardio to strength training over the years. Strength training is touted for its incredible range of benefits. This includes improving body composition, increasing metabolism, improving bone density, and much more. It’s also a departure from the cardio-only mentality (specifically seen in women) that can lead to muscle less, fatigue, or injury.
To learn more, we spoke with Amy Delligatti, personal trainer and fitness coordinator at the Saw Mill Club in Mount Kisco. Below, Amy shares some of its physical (and unexpected benefits!) and how strength training is something women of any age can (and should!) try.
Westchester Family: Why is strength training important for women and moms?
Amy Delligatti: Strength training is all the rage for all the right reasons! It has an unequivocal positive impact on one’s physical and mental well being.
Strength training will leave you feeling empowered and can help alleviate anxiety and feelings of depression and will immediately boost your mood as your body releases endorphins. When you feel empowered in your workouts, you are much more likely to feel empowered on the home front! If you are raising littles or big kids, tween, teens, adult children, you name it, you know it can leave you feeling like a hot mess and strength training can help provide you with not only the strength but the confidence and clarity every parent seeks.
As a mom of two young boys, I can completely relate to those who have struggled to regain themselves after children. I have learned though that prioritizing myself and wellness does not equate to me not prioritizing them. Instead, I continue to bring my empowered and best self back home after every workout and this is invaluable to my family. If you’re on the fence, just do it, begin strength training and make it a lasting lifestyle change for your sake and theirs.
On the physical end, the benefits to strength training are vast. I’m not talking about some two-and-half-hour long celebrity workout on repeat. I’m talking about doing 30-60 minutes of dedicated strength training a couple times a week. You can expect to see benefits such as improved energy, reduced stress, and anxiety. Plus, improved body composition, increased metabolism, improved bone density, better sleep, and dare I say better sex!
Westchester Family: How can strength training help moms post-baby?
Amy Delligatti: New and seasoned moms are trying to navigate their new bodies post baby and it can be very frustrating and intimidating. I remember working extra hard to just find my center of gravity and reconnect with my core. My abs felt foreign for a little while there. But now my youngest is 2, and after returning to strength training as soon as I could, I have even more muscle than before. It takes time, patience and understanding to build back (or build new) strength post baby but it can absolutely be done with the right guidance at a pace appropriate for the individual. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say our babies and young children demand us to be strong and fit.
After having a baby and then of course obtaining clearance from your doctor, this is the perfect time to consider strengthen your core, body and mindset. The physical and mental benefits are too vital not to.
Westchester Family: Have you seen a shift from cardio to more strength-based exercises?
Amy Delligatti: I’ve definitely seen a shift to strength-based exercise compared to strictly cardio. Strengthening has to be the top goal established by the majority of my clients. The information is out there and people are absorbing and implementing it on all platforms.
Gone are the days when women are only in the cardio room. Women are not only seen in the section of health clubs where the strength equipment is. They are quite literally dominating that space. I mean this figuratively, dominating their workouts and also dominating in numbers, by bridging the ratio and gap between men who lift and women who lift. Incredibly, women are truly winning at wellness these days!
Westchester Family: What is the ideal amount of time women should strength train?
Amy Delligatti: If you’re new to strength training, two times a week is a great goal. This will help ensure you’re getting enough benefit but also not burning out. Even just 30-60 minutes a week – of dedicated full- body strength training – will have you reaping the benefits. So, don’t stress if you feel crunched with time. A little can go a long way if programmed well.
Westchester Family: What are some ideal exercises to try?
Amy Delligatti: Compound movements are a very effective way to improve muscle mass without spending countless hours grinding away. If you’re looking for efficiency, stick with the exercises that work multiple muscle groups collectively.
Compound movements tend to also benefit your core and your stabilizers. Exercises like squats, lunges, bench press, bent rows, deadlifts, lat pull downs, bulgarian split squats, military press, romanian deadlifts, and pushups are great compound movements to try.
Westchester Family: Why do you think women are intimidated by strength training?
For so many women, entering a weight room feels like entering a country in which you don’t speak the language. Odds are that the women they were surrounded by growing up did not strength train, and lucky for them if they did! Sadly, this sense of unfamiliarity may dictate whether they walk left to the cardio equipment or right to the strength equipment.
Additionally, women often fear getting “too bulky” and will shy away from any heavier lifts. Now although the word “bulky” is subjective, I can assure you that it takes a lot of dedication, for some even years, and often very strict dietary measures to get “bulky.” The tremendous benefits to strength training should far outweigh this sort of ridiculous concern. With obesity statistics being at unbelievable highs, we need to focus on supporting each other and really tear down these myths about strength training and let wellness and strength training be uplifting, not intimidating.
Westchester Family: What are some simple ways to start?
Amy Delligatti: I have to say that women and moms of today are likely scrolling on Instagram or YouTube in hopes of finding their next workout and for few this may work well, but for most, their skill set is not well established and the risk of injury is simply too high. If you are new to strength training or have been on a hiatus, the simplest way to ensure a safe and effective start is to connect with a personal trainer. This is your golden ticket.
I’ve been a personal trainer at the Saw Mill Club in Mount Kisco for nearly 10 years. We offer an incredible introductory package to new training clients. We focus firstly on establishing goals and then develop a personalized exercise plan to build a strong foundation for exercise. This includes a focus on proper form and movement patterns being paramount.
Westchester Family: Anything else to add?
Amy Delligatti: Some food for thought:
1. Consistency is key. Period.
2. Don’t let your kids be your excuse for not training; let them be your reason.
Saw Mill Club
77 Kensico Drive
Mt Kisco, NY 10549
Saw Mill Club East
333 N. Bedford Rd
Mt Kisco, NY 10549