Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
School of Kinesiology and Recreation
David Q. Thomas
INTRODUCTION: The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and United States Department of Health and Human Services classify muscular fitness as a key component of health (13,20). While important for both men and women, women can benefit from resistance training, specifically strength training, in many ways. Muscular strength gains, increases and maintenance of lean body mass such as muscle and bone and possible fat loss are some benefits that women who regularly participate in resistance training can achieve (4,5,6,9,18).
PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to identify the practices, preferences, knowledge, attitudes and barriers to strength training participation in young, college aged female students.
METHODS: All students received a University wide survey constructed using online survey software, SelectSurvey. Two hundred and three women responded to the survey.
RESULTS: Sixty-one percent (n=150) of females reported that they met the American College of Sports Medicine's guidelines for physical activity (exercising 3-5 days per week for 20-60minutes per session) and 51.1% (n=58) reported participating in some form of resistance training 2-3 days per week. Women chose to use specialized equipment such as medicine balls, kettlebells, body bars and resistance bands over any other mode of resistance training. Over half the women, 55.1% (n=86) reported that using lighter weights and high repetitions elicited the best body toning results. Respondents reported a strong knowledge base of resistance training and its physiological benefits and 65.1% (n=94) reported that they enjoy resistance training. Forty-one percent of women reported feelings of discomfort when in the weight room primarily due to the presence of men training at the same time. Despite the strong knowledge base and the general positive feelings about resistance training women are still participating at rates far less than men. Sixty-seven percent (n=97) of females reported that they would be more likely to participate in resistance training if the Student Fitness Center had a women's only weight room and 60.6% (n=86) said they would be more inclined to participate if the Student Fitness Center offered more instructional resistance training classes. Sixty-five percent (n=91) of women felt that they would benefit from an introductory resistance training course hosted by the fitness center and would be more likely to continue with resistance training after finishing the course.
CONCLUSIONS: Women possess knowledge about resistance training yet their knowledge tends to be misguided. Despite having knowledge in regards to resistance training women are failing to translate that knowledge into behavior. Thirdly, women find the predominantly male weight room an inhospitable environment to venture in to. Efforts must be made to find plausible female accommodations within facilities to promote female strength training. Efforts should be made to encourage women to strength train to set them up for a lifetime of health and independence.
Ackerman, Brianna, "Identification of the Practices, Preferences, Knowledge, Attitudes and Barriers to Strength Training Participation of Young College Aged Women" (2015). Theses and Dissertations. 371.