One of the recent stars of the CrossFit Games, Lauren Fisher, developed a line of apparel branded “Grown Strong.” While her brand and the term is applicable to all, it is directed to women. Especially CrossFit women. Fisher was brought up to be physically strong, and like many other women in CrossFit is shifting perceptions of what it means (and looks) for a woman to be physically strong. There are however still a bunch of misconceptions about ladies and strength training.
You need weightlifting, of course, to get stronger, and strength is a physical trait included in the broad-based fitness we aim to attain. It naturally forms a part of our daily programming. While the large contingent of ladies in our membership base have adopted a culture of strength, many of the same questions and concerns are raised by prospective and new female members. Let’s knock some of them on the head!
- You’re not going to get big or bulky
Nor are you going to end up looking “like those women on YouTube.” While certain people, women included, are genetically predisposed to building muscle faster than others, weightlifting as part of a well rounded training program isn’t going to make you big. You would have to eat and train in a very particular way, and take a good dose of supplements (largely illegal) to pack on the sort of muscle you’re worried about. Stronger means stronger, not bigger.
- In order to “tone up” you need to build muscle
I always have a little chuckle when both women and men tell me they’d like to tone up without building muscle. Toning up IS building muscle. Perhaps the work “build” is too closely associated with bodybuilding (or images of brick houses). Either way, the process of toning up requires you to increase (not build :-P) lean muscle while shedding excess body fat. Toning up is building muscle, but it’s not bulking up!
- Yes you can do pull-ups
This is another contradiction in the thought process. “I want to get stronger, but I don’t want to build muscle….and I really want to be able to do pull-ups!” Now you know that getting stronger doesn’t necessarily mean getting bigger. You do need to get stronger to be able to do pull-ups, though, and getting stronger takes time and a dedicated effort. But regardless of the size of your upper body, you CAN do pull-ups.
- Mainly guys attend classes that include weightlifting
Although I haven’t calculated the stats in a while, we probably have a membership split of 60/40 women to men. And most of those women train more consistently than men, so it’s not just men in the weightlifting classes!
- You have to do what everyone else is
No, you don’t. We modify all workouts and movements to meet the needs of the individual. That involves modifying workouts to use weights and movements that are relative to your abilities.
- You have to wear those long socks
No, you don’t.
I understand that for our members, this is preaching to the choir. And when talking about this to friends and family they often don’t take it on because it’s coming from you, so quietly subscribe them to the blog 🙂
For the ladies we do have, our popular ladies only strength program is set to return! At HQ on Wednesday evenings we have the capacity to get the Barbell Babes program up and running, but need to get an idea of demand first. Get your name up on the whiteboard, or let us know in the comments section below, or get in touch with coach Tia. Grow strong!