Friday, April 3, 2015

Female Fitness ... Be an Iron Girl !

Long gone are the days where women are limited to just recreational sports like tennis, basketball, and softball. Women and weight training are increasing in popularity and it is now more common than every to "lift heavy things" !
Weight lifting sports have not only expanded to include women, but there are now a wide variety of iron-based sports to choose from. Because the concept of lifting is such new territory for some, it’s easy to want to mesh every sport that uses a barbell into the same category. So let's start breaking down the beautiful side of weight training and dig into three of the most popular weight lifting sports out there !
Thee goal of Crossfit (CF) athletes is to be prepared for anything: Be prepared for the unknown, and the unknowable. It combines a variety of strength and conditioning exercises such as deadlifts, pistol squats ( leg squat) , kipping pull ups, overhead squats and hand stand pushups just to name a few. Combined with bouts of cardio varying from rowing, running, swimming, and jumping rope.
Workouts are classified into strength sections and WOD’s, or workouts of the day which give athletes their game plan for their daily workout. CrossFit can be very fast-paced, requiring both speed and precision. The execution and proper form of basic strength and Olympic lifts is extremely important. Because of this, a beginner course and having a baseline of strength is usually well-established before entering CrossFit. CrossFit athletes strive for a high anaerobic capacity while they train their bodies to hit their lactate threshold (you know…that pukey feeling?) at any given time. Winners of the increasingly popular “Crossfit Games” are crowned with the title of “The fittest (woman) on earth.”
-Sometimes people confuse CrossFit with Strongwoman sports. Even though there are similar components between the two, they are different.This sport also involves strength, muscle endurance and distance events. However, women compete with each other doing exercises such as sled or truck push/drags, bag carries, tire deadlifts, atlas stones, farmer’s walks, log pressing, and other various objects that test their strength.
These exercises all require excellent cardio condition and ability to handle large amounts of weight in often unbalanced situations. This sport is medium-paced, depending on the event taking place, and winners are deemed the “strongest” (woman) in the state/nation.
-Most forms of lifting borrow from the three main compound lifts that come together in the sport of Powerlifting which include the bench press, squat and deadlift. Though Powerlfiting women will often dabble their training through all rep ranges to practice endurance and strength. They may participate in a variety of physical activities/lifts to enhance the three main components of this sport. But the sole focus of this sports’ competitions is strength in the main lifts.
The conditioning and endurance levels built in other phases are put to the test as they train for record breaking strength feats. Powerlifting ladies compete by weight class and get three attempts at each lift, with the idea of increasing the weight with each lift to increase the score overall. Proper form is essential, and a competitor must get two white lights (signaling good form/a good lift) out of three lights total. A red light occurs when form is improper or commands aren’t adhered to. This sport is definitely on the slower side, as you need adequate rest between each heavy attempt.
-Women’s bodybuilding consists of four different divisions: bodybuilding, physique, figure and bikini — each having a separate set of aesthetic requirements for competition. Bodybuilding athletes can participate in all types of lifting activities in their improvement season,however most training utilizes some form of periodization that leads the desired look for their event. Traditional forms of weight lifting using both compound and isolation movements are used to aesthetically enhance every muscle in the body.
Preparing for this sport involves manipulating various training variables such as food prep, changing rep ranges and various types of cardio to first maximize muscle mass gains, and ultimately to achieve abnormally lean results for a brief period of time. These competitions are purely based off of appearance and stage presence, sort of like a beauty-pageant style event for women who lift. Strength is not measured on stage, but having the best OVERALL package that is aesthetically pleasing to the judges is the determining factor for the win.
Women now more than ever can embrace this beautiful life of weight training on multiple levels. Even though they are all integrated within each other for strength, you now have the options to try them all !! Don't set a limit on yourself and NEVER sell yourself short ! Try them all and find what YOU love to do. Embrace the muscle !!!

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