Of course they should! Yet, a high percentage of females (especially the beginners), tell me about their training program, it usually includes low intensity cardio for 30-45 minutes and maybe some light resistance training on a few machines of their preference.
Now, there are benefits to low intensity cardio starting out to help build an aerobic base, but the return on this type of training diminishes quite quickly. The two principles that need to apply to your training regardless of your sex are progressive overload and the SAID principle.
Progressive overload is increasing different stresses to increase the workload. This can be in the form of more resistance, more volume, shorter rest periods and changing the exercises. The SAID principle stands for specific adaptations to imposed demands or basically that your body will adapt to the different stresses you apply to it over time to become stronger, fitter, faster or more slim.
This is where the conundrum enters the equation, a common plea that I receive from my female clients is “I don’t want to become too big or bulky!” As if becoming a bodybuilder happens overnight. The fact of the matter is that it is more difficult for females to add a lot of size and muscle than males because they do not produce as much testosterone. On top of that most people both males and females don’t eat enough calories to facilitate such a change that you will become “too bulky”.
Becoming stronger from lifting heavier weights will have the terrible side effects of improved posture, developing a more slender toned physique, improved confidence, and being able to perform daily activities with more efficiency and less chance of injury. Oh the horror!
The benefits of lifting heavy are genderless, so start light but keep progressing, always look to improve each time you’re training. Don’t be afraid of pushing yourself outside your boundaries. Just remember nutrition will play the biggest role in sculpting the physique you’re looking for.