Unlocking the Power: Why Weight Training is Essential for Women


Unlocking the Power: Why Weight Training is Essential for Women

Women over 40 lifting weights out to improve bone density and health

Women over 40 lifting weights



Although it is important for both men and women to train with resistance, women really need to place some extra importance on this part of their training.

Osteoporosis and Osteopenia are conditions of low bone mass that lead to an increased risk of bone fractures, which are extremely common in women; especially after menopause. As you age you start to lose muscle at a faster rate.  In order to build more lean body mass, you need to add in resistance training. This doesn’t mean you have to spend hours in the gym, but you do need to lift heavy enough weight to get the muscle to respond by growing. The amount of weight is individual and depends on where you are starting from. For example, using ten pound dumbbells to do an overhead shoulder press could be light for one person and very heavy to another. However, with consistency your body will respond, get stronger and leaner by building more lean body mass.

You may be wondering why this affects women more than men and there are two main factors.

  • Men have larger bones
  • Men don’t have true menopause like women do which decreases testosterone


According to Dr. Wermers’ article, Women’s Wellness: Bone Density in Women,

Fracture rates exceed all other diseases in elderly women in the U.S., with a 2x greater risk than heart attacks, 5x greater than breast cancer, and 8x greater than stroke.” That’s astonishing numbers when considering that adopting a healthier lifestyle can also reduce those numbers as well.

The natural process of bone decline begins around your 30s and the only way to prevent it is to focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as getting enough calcium and weight-bearing exercises. When we age our lifestyle habits seem to lead to less activity and inadequate nutrition which can lead to bone loss at a rate of 1% per year after the age of 40.

Strength training has been shown to provide the mechanical stimuli needed for maintenance and improvement in bone health. There have been numerous studies that show strength training can even build bone. Participating in activities that put stress on the bone can push the bone-forming cells to produce stronger more dense bones.

Strength training has extra bone benefits over aerobic training as it targets the bones of the hips, spine, and wrists which are the leading sites of fractures. I should mention it is also important to include some balance work in your training routine to help prevent the falls that lead to these fractures.

It is never too late to start a weight training program, start slow, start with bodyweight movements, and work your way safely to external loading with weights. If you are unsure of what exercises to do or how to properly and safely perform the exercise, consult with a personal trainer that can help guide you, especially in the beginning.



  1. The effects of progressive resistance training on bone density. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9927006
  2. Strength Training builds more than muscles  https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/strength-training-builds-more-than-muscles
  3. Women’s Wellness: Bone Density in Women https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/womens-wellness-bone-density-in-women/

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