Many fitness experts agree that strength training is essential to a good exercise program for women. Using free weights, which are any type of weight not constrained by levers or pulleys, can have some distinct advantages over other types of strength training regimes. Free weights for women allow the opportunity for versatility and an easily adapted weight routine, while providing important benefits such as protection against injury, all-over strength training, and prevention of bone-density loss.
One of the greatest benefits of free weights for women is their versatility. In addition to performing simple muscle-building exercises, free weights are easily incorporated into a variety of workout routines. Some people hold free weights while walking or running, in order to increase arm muscle involvement in a cardiovascular workout. There are even yoga and Pilates classes that incorporate free weights, boosting the muscle-toning power of these already excellent exercise forms.
Some fitness experts recommend free weights for women simply because of how weight machines are designed. Traditionally, many weight machines are built with the male, rather than female, physique in mind. This means that the weight, height, and reach levels of the machine may not suit a woman's body very well. Using machines that can't be adapted to the size and shape of the user is a sure way to increase chances of injury and muscle strain.
Instead of building strength in a particular muscle, many women want to achieve an fit body overall. One of the advantages of free weights for women is that, if performed correctly, weight moves can have a beneficial effect on the entire body, not just the muscles involved in the movement. Proper posture and form is essential to free weight workouts, in order to ensure that the whole body is used to correctly perform the exercise. For women just starting out with free weights, it may be a good idea to schedule at least one session with a personal trainer who can provide form tips. Doing exercises in front of a mirror can also help ensure that posture and form remain correct throughout training.
One of the most important benefits of free weights for women is protection against osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. These conditions are caused by a loss of bone density as the body ages, and are much more typical in older women than in men. Health experts often recommend the use of free weights for women in order to combat or reduce bone density loss, which can also help reduce risk of bone breaks and fractures.