Whether it be rendering yourself inflexible, the fear of transforming into a “mini-hulk,” or feeling as if you just can’t do it as a woman, there are many myths that prevent people from strength training. This is a challenge for women since we tend to have less muscle mass than men. However, women are less susceptible to injuries than men and have a healthier metabolism. Often, sex differences are exaggerated and shouldn’t be a factor in your decision to strength train.

Strength training is a type of exercise specializing in the use of resistance to induce muscular contraction, which builds strength, anaerobic endurance, and size of skeletal muscles. In other words, it is a way of gradually improving strength by training your muscles to resist force with free weights, machines, or your own body.

While becoming stronger is the goal, it isn’t the only benefit of strength training. Studies have shown that women who regularly exercise their muscles are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, in addition to cardiovascular disease, a condition that involves narrowed or blocked blood cells that can lead to a heart attack, chest pains, or a stroke. Strength is also one of the few things that can make your bones denser, something that will greatly reduce your chances of having osteoporosis in the future. Overall, an abundance of studies have shown that strength training improves women’s health and emotional wellbeing. According to a 2017 study, three months of working out with resistance bands can lead to significant weight loss and increased bone density in obese and frail women over the age of 60

Once you get started, there are few things you have to remember. For one, you must take the time to learn proper exercise form. Doing an exercise can cause injury as well as hinder your progress. Make sure to talk to a trainer or coach to learn the correct way to do any given exercise. Secondly, push yourself. While it’s important to avoid injuries, you want to make sure that you feel pressure or “the burn” on the muscles you are targeting. However, if you are feeling pain on muscles outside the ones you’re targeting, then you’re probably doing the exercise wrong and should see a trainer for help. Finally, have a variety of workouts. Repeating the same exercises will stagnate progress.

There are plenty of strength improving exercises you can do, but here are some for beginners.

The first one is leg press. To do this exercise, lie on the seat and adjust it so your thighs are parallel to the foot plate when you recline. Press your feet to the plate, straighten your legs, bend your knees back, and lower the plate until the weight hovers just above stack. This will work your quadriceps and gluteus maximus.

The second exercise is called a tripod row. To do this exercise, get on all fours and hold a dumbbell in each hand. Then, extend your right leg as you bend your lower elbow drawing weight towards the left side of your body. Switch sides and do this exercise 12 to 13 times to work your upper back and trapezius muscles.

Lastly, the lying march works out your abdomen. This exercise requires you to lie face up with your left knee at a 90-degree angle. Pulling your abs in, proceed to slowly lower your left leg until it’s just over the ground. Go back to starting position then repeat the exercise on your right side. This will strengthen your abdomen.

These are only a few different exercises that women can do at the gym. Strength training will help to burn fat and tone certain areas. Thus, do not be afraid of weights—embrace them.