This is the second article in my series on the benefits of a balanced physique. The first addressed men, and this post focuses on women.
Women tend to do the opposite of what men do in the gym. (What a surprise, huh? They can never just agree with us.) While men favor exercising their upper body, women tend to work primarily on their legs, butt, hips, and abs. In their defense, society seems to favor women who are lean in these areas (the inexplicable fascination with Kim Kardashian’s big booty notwithstanding), and so women, just like men, simply want to look appealing. (Finally they agree with us on something.)
It may also be that women want to avoid their male counterparts in the gym, who are prone to staring at and hitting on them. (More on this later.)
If you are one of those women who has underemphasized upper body strength and development, here are some reasons why you might want to focus more on these essential parts of your body:
- Well-balanced muscular development – If you have toned legs and abs but your upper body is not similarly toned and fit, you look out of proportion, and you are also not as healthy as you could be.
- Body functionality – Many daily activities involve some amount of upper body movement, as do most sports and hobbies (golf, tennis, etc.). Upper body strength will make your body more functional and less prone to nagging injuries, such as shoulder and low back problems, wrist injuries (e.g., carpal tunnel syndrome) and elbow problems (e.g., tennis elbow).
- Heart and lung health – Working large muscle groups like chest and back (and, of course, legs) provides excellent exercise for your cardiorespiratory system.
- Attractiveness – Most men think athletic-looking shoulders, arms, and back muscles on women are appealing. At the very least, they signal someone who is in control of themselves and their body, self-assured, and healthy.
As a conclusion to this series on balanced physiques, I believe both men and women have a lot of good reasons to work their entire bodies in the gym, and not just their respective “show” areas.
Now for a moment of candor. I actually have a hidden agenda with this series of posts. Part of my motivation is to give us men a convenient excuse to spend more time on the leg and ab machines in the gym that are favored by women, and by also providing some good reasons for you women to spend time in the free weight area favored by us, we can have even more opportunities to stare at you and chat you up! (To my male readers out there: you’re welcome!)