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The Hidden Benefits of Heavy Lifting for Women Over 55

Lately, I’ve noticed the average age and gender of people joining my gym have changed… It’s no longer the post-college male athlete looking to keep fit or the high schooler training for their seasonal sport. Now, I’ve noticed more and more women. Older women, to be specific, and if you thought heavy lifting was just for bodybuilders or the younger crowd, think again! As women over 55, incorporating heavy lifting into your exercise routine can be a game-changer for your health and longevity, so I wanted to put together some information to help educate and pass along to keep this momentum going!

I have joined up with Lakeland Athletic Club’s Personal trainer, Coach Blake Scheidt, to help bring some good information and workout ideas to share.

The Traditional Approach to Fitness

For many women over 55, staying healthy often involves a mix of activities like walking, yoga, and maybe some light resistance training. While these are all fantastic ways to stay active and maintain flexibility, one crucial component is often missing: heavy lifting.


Let’s start with the basics. Heavy lifting refers to lifting weights that are challenging for you, typically in the range of 70-85% of your one-rep max. While cardio and activities like stair stepping are great for cardiovascular health, heavy lifting offers unique benefits, especially as we age.

Below are some demonstrations.



Kettlebell Swings






Maintaining Muscle Mass

After the age of 30, adults can lose 3-5% of muscle mass per decade. This loss of muscle, known as sarcopenia, can lead to weakness, frailty, and a higher risk of falls and fractures. Heavy lifting, however, can help combat this muscle loss by stimulating muscle growth and strength.

Weight training, including heavy lifting, can also have positive effects on hormone levels, particularly for women going through menopause. Menopause is often accompanied by a decrease in estrogen levels, which can lead to a loss of muscle mass and an increase in body fat. However, studies have shown that strength training can help increase estrogen levels, which may help mitigate these effects.

Our bones can become more fragile as we age, increasing the risk of osteoporosis and fractures. Weight-bearing exercises like heavy lifting can help maintain bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Studies have shown that women who engage in strength training have higher bone mineral density than those who do not.

Heavy lifting can also rev up your metabolism. As we age, our metabolism tends to slow down, making it easier to gain weight. By building muscle through heavy lifting, you can increase your metabolic rate, making it easier to maintain a healthy weight.

Strength training, including heavy lifting, can improve your balance and coordination. This is especially important as we age, as it can help prevent falls and maintain independence.

In addition to exercise, proper nutrition is key to maintaining muscle mass and overall health. As we age, our protein needs may increase, so be sure to include lean protein sources in your diet. Collagen supplements can also be beneficial for supporting joint health and skin elasticity.

In conclusion, heavy lifting is not just for the young or the gym buffs.

As women over 55, it’s an essential component of a well-rounded exercise routine to help you maintain muscle mass, bone density, metabolic rate, and overall health. So, grab those weights and start lifting your way to a healthier, stronger you!

Check out our instructional videos on how you can get started at home!

March 2024

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