Women on Weights

The other morning I was in the weight room with my teammates grinding out my weight session when I thought of my dad. Yes, in the middle of morning workout while reaching new PR’s I thought of my dad. It’s not as strange as you might think. As a previous D1 athlete, my father loved working out and he loved teaching his kids how to lift weights. He taught us where to place our hands on the bars, what grip we should use, how to breath, how to increase weight to properly fatigue our muscles without hurting ourselves. Those summer mornings spent in the garage at the bench were not just a fun time spent bonding with my dad but they were educational and left me with a new skill I still use today.

(Photo courtesy of Justin Warner)

So, as I was finishing my last rep of squats next to my fellow teammates I realize how rare my experience was. More than half of them have never lifted weights before joining our rugby team. Most of them had played sports in high school, but had never lifted weights in the gym. The first few weeks of morning workouts are usually spent teaching everyone the proper techniques. I was an athlete in high school. I spent many hours working out but never in the weight room. Not during the volleyball practice or rugby practice or when swim team would have dry land fitness practices. Though these sports are all very different they all would have benefit from lift sessions. The sports my brothers played, rugby, football, wrestling, track, all had mandatory in season and out of season lift sessions; however, many of the women’s sports failed to make an appearance in the weight room.

(Photo courtesy of Justin Warner)

I cannot speak for the current status of  athletics in high school because I am no longer in attendance or have any connection to them, but in the college demographic the scene is changing. Yes, a majority of women are still bobbing up and down on the cardio machines but many more are shifting over to the weights. It seems to me that more and more women across all different demographics are making the change, trading in treadmills for barbells. Many YMCA’s and other fitness facilities similar to them have adopted weight lifting classes directed to women to familiarize and empower women in a new realm of fitness previously dominated by men. Not to mention the current trends in health are heavily influenced by social media. Instagram is becoming a popular platform to display current health trends and changes in society. Anything and everything related to the most recent fitness and health trends can be seen on Instagram. Trends such as transformation pictures, exercise routines, lift sessions, and health food fads exist on thousands of pages, private, public and sponsored.  A large portion of these new fitness modules are run by women who are influencing other women.

(Photo courtesy of Cyril Saulnier)

If you ask me, I think that this is a great new trend in our society in our demographic. The ability to pick things up and move them in ways you weren’t able to before is incredibly empowering. So is stepping into a gym full of men and showing that you can do what they do too. Not to mention, the sculpting effects it has on your muscles and the endorphins you release from exercise, it is very intoxicating.

All this makes me curious and excited to see what the future holds in the world of fitness, especially for women. Maybe in ten years the new women on my team won’t need to be taught how to lift because it will be a skill they either were taught in their early athletic careers, or something a friend taught them or even just something they learned because of a desire they had.

(Photo courtesy of Roberto Nickson)