Strength Training Doesn't Have To Be High-Intensity—Here's How To Workout Regularly Without Burning Out

There are endless benefits to strength training regularly, but many women feel intimidated by it because there's a misconception that it has to be heavy weightlifting or high-intensity in order to be effective. That's not the case at all.

By Gina Florio2 min read
woman working out

It's estimated that only 17.5% of American women strength train on a regular basis. That means the vast majority of women are missing out on the many benefits of working out: stronger immunity, stronger bones, lower risk of injury, less chronic pain, more muscle and less body fat, clearer mind and better mood, improved digestion, and much more. It doesn't matter what phase of life you're in—you have a lot to gain from strength training regularly.

However, there are a lot of misconceptions about what strength training is and how it should be approached. Because strength training is a male-dominated space, we see a lot of images and videos of strong, burly men grunting while they throw around very heavy weights. Most women look at that and think, no thanks, not for me. I've been a trainer for almost 10 years and I can perfectly understand why so many women just aren't interested in strength training. Plus, it can be a very intimidating space to break into if you're a beginner and you don't have guidance.

I encourage all my clients to strength train, whether they're trying to lose weight or just feel better so they can be more present and vibrant for their kids and family. But one thing I always tell them is, strength training doesn't have to be high-intensity and it doesn't have to be so taxing that you feel completely wiped out by the end of the workout (and sore for the next 4 days). Here are 3 tips to help you start strength training without burning out.

There are many alternatives to heavy lifting.

You Don't Have to Lift Heavy Weights

A lot of people don't like hearing this but it's important to know: you don't have to lift heavy weights to be fit and reap the benefits of strength training. It's all the rage right now for women to rack on multiple weight plates to the barbell and deadlift, squat, and bench some amazing numbers. There's nothing inherently wrong with that, but the fact is, many women simply aren't interested in that type of training. In fact, many women find that doing very heavy lifting for a long period of time actually makes them feel less feminine.

There are many alternatives to heavy lifting. You can try resistance training that uses light weights, resistance bands, or other equipment. Performing a higher number of reps (8-12 rep range) allows you to still build muscle without having to lift heavy. There are a lot of workout programs online that will show you how to build workout sessions that don't rely on the barbell.

There are actually a lot of workouts you can do with your bodyweight alone that will bring you many physical benefits.

Consider Bodyweight Resistance Training

There are actually a lot of workouts you can do with your bodyweight alone that will bring you many physical benefits. Pilates (especially with a Reformer) can be a wonderful option to strengthen and increase flexibility and mobility. You can pick up bodyweight practices like handstand variations; there are many regressions for beginners that don't yet require the skill of balancing on your hands but will help you prepare for it one day. There are also movement practices like the Ido Portal Method and Animal Flow that require no equipment but still provide an excellent workout (trust me, you'll be sore after doing locomotion for 30 minutes). Calisthenics also offers a lot of variations that you can do with just your body, a pair of gymnastics rings, or a pull-up bar. Weights aren't your only option!

You can fit in a solid workout in just 30 minutes.

Keep Your Workouts Short and Sweet

If you eliminate all distractions and put your phone away, you can fit in a solid workout in just 30 minutes. If you're a busy person who struggles to make time to workout, you can benefit from committing to half an hour of strength training, 4-5 times a week. You don't have to kill yourself in the gym in order to get stronger. You don't have to feel completely burnt out in order to improve your physique and build muscle. Just make sure you're not dilly dallying around the gym, watching TV, or scrolling through your phone. Focus on your workout 100% and make the best out of the short amount of time you have. Use proper rest periods and give it all you got—you'll feel both accomplished and much stronger after sticking to this routine for just a couple months. Keep it going for as long as you can, clean up your diet, and you'll eventually see amazing results.