I would bet that just about all of our content related to resistance training is spent covering all of its benefits for us. Lifting weights is a great activity, and something that improves just about every system in our body. There are also some other, not so positive, qualities that are often linked to resistance training. I have discussed with many women the concern of getting "bulky" from strength training. Other trainees have voiced their worry about resistance training making them slow or inflexible. This article will be spent explaining why these "concerns" should not be a concern for you.
"Will Resistance Training Make a Woman Bulky?"
The answer is no, due to the difference between genders in regards to hormones. Men have much more (15-20x more on average) of the hormone testosterone than women do. Testosterone is the key hormone in muscle size, especially when someone is lifting weights. There are other factors that play into the development of strength and size, but a woman's low level of testosterone keeps her from developing an undesired muscular physique naturally.
"But Won't RT Make Me Slower?"
No, provided the guidelines that maximize speed and athleticism are followed. Resistance Training makes muscles stronger, meaning they produce more force. When you run, you produce force against the ground meaning stronger muscles can make you faster. That being said, if you gain fifty pounds during a training period (it will not all be muscle, unfortunately) while not running at all during that time you will be slower than before. If, however, you keep your weight (and bodyfat gain) in line with your sport or event, and practice it often, your speed should pick up from consistent RT.
"Lifting Weights Makes Me Tight"
I went into some depth about this in my last post. Properly performed, full range of motion free-weight training actually enhances flexibility instead of limiting it. I have experienced this personally, and seen it in my clients. For example, I have found that the Squat does wonders for loosening muscles around the hips & shoulders when done consistently over time. If one was to train a group of muscles exclusively while ignoring the opposing group, however, they may see imbalances in strength and flexibility in the long term. An example of this would be men who inflate the pecs, front delts, and triceps while doing nothing for their opposites: the lats, rear delts, upper back musculature.
The takeaway here is when done correctly, resistance training will not make you anything you don't want to be. While it's sole purpose is the development of strength and muscle, it also aids in other components of fitness. Unfortunately most fitness information presented today is built around stereotypes and opinion rather than solid truths. A good education on the body and some logic will go a long way in separating fitness fact from fiction.