One of the primary concerns women have when it comes to lifting weights is the fear of getting big and bulky. This is not true and I am going to explain why it is so beneficial for women to lift weights.
Benefits of lifting weights:
Lose cms! A kilo of muscle is very different to a kilo of fat. Sometimes you do gain a little bit of weight on the scale when you build muscle, but you actually look smaller and tighter because muscles are more dense than fat, therefore take up less space.
Improved energy levels. You feel more energised waking up in the morning and throughout the day.
Reduced cellulite. The more muscle you have the tighter your body looks!
Increased confidence and empowerment. Better control over your life.
Improved body confidence and self-acceptance.
You develop feminine curves. Using small dumbbells for 100s of reps is not going to shape your body and it is not better for “toning”! Toning is essentially building lean muscle and losing fat. If you want to get toned and maintain a lean body you need to lift moderate to heavy weights ladies. Not doing 1000 reps cardio circuits.
Improved metabolic rate and better relationship with food. The more muscle you have the more you can eat more and you can also have a glass of wine here and there. Winning!
You become less breakable. Your ligaments, your bones, your joints become much stronger. This is especially important for us women as we are more prone to osteoporosis as we age.
When you lift weights, you get a boost in growth hormone. This is great because it is fat burning and anti-aging.
“Weight training will make me big and bulky”
Women have a lot less testosterone than men, therefore it is very hard for us to build muscle. If you feel that you are getting bigger lifting weights, it’s probably because your nutrition is not aligned with your training. It is your food intake that is going to determine weather you are getting lean, maintaining or putting on weight.
“I am toning therefore I am using light weights for high reps”
High reps and light weights will not cause physiological change in the body. It is a waste of time and you will not see curves, no lines or cuts. You are not going to build lean muscle doing 1000 reps workouts and you are certainly not going to “tone” your body! Toning means putting on muscle and losing fat.
“I will get injured if I lift heavy.”
Technique and exercise progression is CRITICAL! If you are brand new to the gym, start with body weight exercises before you add in additional resistance. Get confident with your body weight and ask help from a fitness professional at your gym to show you the proper technique. Perhaps watch videos online, and of course you can always ask me if you need any help.
How heavy should you be lifting?
Generally speaking, for muscle hypertrophy (muscle building) the ideal rep range is 8-12 repetition for the bigger exercises such as squats, deadlifts, pulldown, presses… and 15-20 reps for the smaller “isolation” exercises that only target a single muscle, such as a lateral raises or bicep curls. Of course, this is VERY basic explanation and there are many other factors that can be taken into consideration when it comes to rep ranges, such as muscle fiber type and the person’s body type, but this is a great starting point for you to have an idea. Moderate to heavy weight with 45 seconds to 2 minutes minutes rest periods between sets is the best way to build lean muscle/shape. Always move the weights slow and controlled to keep the muscle under tension for at least 40-60 seconds.
If the target repetition for an exercise in your program is 10 reps, then you should select a weight that you can only lift for 10-12 reps with good technique. If you can do 12+ then the weight is too light, or if you can only do 6-8 reps then it is too heavy.
I hope this helps to understand why it is so amazing for us women to lift weights. If you have any questions please get in touch, I am always happy to help.