When women think of losing weight and toning up their bodies, many think of joining a gym and start attending exercise classes. Some of your friends may start to train as runners hoping to complete a 5K race in a few months.
But how many do you know who've started lifting weights? Training with weights is one of the best things a woman can do to help her tone up her muscles and lose weight.
Contrary to popular belief, you will not bulk-up if you begin lifting weights. In fact, it cannot happen because women's bodies lack the amount of testosterone it would take to cause their muscles to gain excessively in size.
You can, however, gain some definition to your muscles. They will become stronger without growing in size.
You absolutely will not start to look like The Hulk! All things considered, weight training can be very beneficial to a woman's health in multiple ways.
As you begin or increase your weight lifting, you will be burning more calories. Lifting increases your metabolism for several hours, even up to 24 hours after your work out.
The harder you work out, the more calories will be burned up and the more the stored up fat will begin to break down.
Weight training will decrease the possibility of your experiencing osteoporosis because working with weights will make your bones denser. It will reduce the chances of your experiencing broken or fractured bones.
The strength of your connective tissues and joints will be increased as you lift weights, thus decreasing the possibility of injuries during your day to day routines. Wearing the best workout gloves will prevent callouses and provide wrist support.
Eventually, you will find that your back, shoulders and your core have grown stronger, bringing with them improved posture, allowing you to stand straight and tall.
Having a strong back will reduce the most lower back pain you may have been experiencing or keep it from ever forming in the first place.
If you're ready to start building muscle, increasing your metabolism and losing weight, it's time to find a weight training program that will suit your needs.
There are different kinds of strength training that will produce a variety of results in your body. Some kinds of weight training will increase your level of endurance. Other methods of strength training will cause you to become stronger.
There are some types of weight lifting that will not result in much of any substantial gain. Let me share a little bit of information about differing methods. It will help you decide which type of weight training you would prefer and which one will be the best for you.
The main goal in powerlifting is to gain or increase your strength to an extreme level. For a powerlifter, appearance is not what matters to them. Their concern is in being able to lift incredibly heavyweights.
Only a few repetitions will need to be performed, and as you train, you will slightly increase the weight you're lifting or the number of reps you will repeat. That is how you gain strength and muscle in powerlifting. To find the best kind of weight training equipment for you, check my guide on the best strength training equipment.
This particular type of weight training works by isolating a muscle or muscle group. You will hold the muscle in one position, not contracting it at all for a specific number of seconds.
Planking is a good example of an isometric exercise. This is a simple yet effective way to build your muscles and your endurance.
In this method, you will perform several exercises one right after the other and complete several repetitions of each exercise. For example, you might do 20 squats, 20 weighted sit-ups, 20 calf raises, and so on, with no break in between.
Circuit training will burn fat and cause you to increase your endurance levels
The reason people body build is to make their muscles big – very big. They will usually train only one muscle group a day. Eating a large amount of protein is particularly important for them to help in building and repairing muscle tissue.
They will lift a large amount of weight on alternating days. The muscles will grow bigger though not necessarily stronger. For the bodybuilder, the goal is to make their muscles as large as possible.
As with bodybuilding, you will work on improving only one muscle group once a week to strengthen the endurance of that muscle group. The muscles will increase in size as you repeat one exercise and lift the same amount of weight for a certain number of sets. You will slightly increase that weight every week making those muscles increasingly stronger.
Strength training for women is a great way to lose weight, firm up any flabby muscles you may have developed over the years and increase your endurance to carry out all of the physical tasks you have on a daily basis.
It will also increase your metabolism and help you build strong bones which will keep them a lot safer from the possibility of fracturing or breaking. The chances of developing osteoporosis will decrease, and your overall health will improve as you continue to progress in your weight training program.
You will need to have these simple items at hand:
Since I'm primarily talking to those who are absolute beginners at weight training or those who've been away from it for a very long time, the best way to go about this will be to learn a series of basic exercises. Learn the mechanics of each one, and you will become very comfortable executing them as you go through your training routine 2 or 3 times every week.
Before you start this program, you really ought to decide what you plan to get out of this training routine and how you intend to accomplish it. Write down your short-term goals as well as your long-term goals. Know what you want to achieve and be specific about where you intend to end up.
How much weight do you want to lose and how much weight do you want to be able to lift? Be realistic and keep track of your progress.
You're just getting started with a lifelong strength building program. Start with the lighter weights as you find out what you're capable of lifting. Begin with 5 or 10-pound dumbbells or other weights. Experiment with these to see how they feel.
Can you do 10 reps with the weight you've chosen? If it is a challenge but you know you could make it to 11 or 12 reps, that's a good place to start. If that weight was pretty easy to work with and you could have continued to do 20 reps, then you need to move up to a heavier weight.
If you're not sure how to do a particular exercise ask one of your friends to help you out so you will learn the correct way to perform each exercise. Get off to the right start so you will make the most of your weight training. Doing an exercise in the wrong way might, at best, give you a strong stomach muscle that sticks out.
But you could also cause yourself a lot of pain and do damage to your joints, muscle or tissue. When you have questions about the right way to lift or do any particular exercise, never be afraid to ask for help.
If you're wondering about your form or if a different way of doing an exercise could be better, think about how your muscles are feeling. If the exercise is meant to tone your upper back, but your arms are hurting from doing a dumbbell row, then you're doing something wrong. Stop what you're doing immediately, so you don't put any further strain on your arms.
Work step-by-step through the exercise but without the weights. See if you can figure out how to correct the way work with the barbell without hurting your arms.
As you are working on each exercise, you should always think about when it might be time to push yourself forward. When 10 reps with the 8-pound dumbbell have become comfortable, push yourself a little harder with 15 reps.
Stay with that until your muscles become used to that. At that point, you may want to move up to a heavier dumbbell doing fewer reps as your muscles adjust to the new weight.
Remember to give yourself a break. Although you may hear people telling you to “push through the pain” that doesn't mean you should be reckless with your health. The pain is there for a few good reasons. One of those is to remind you to give the strength training a short rest to allow your muscles to heal and repair themselves.
You will gain more from your training if you balance the workouts with times of rest. In fact, after you've done a total body training program, you should give yourself a complete day to let your muscles recuperate.
I hope this has given you some ideas of how you can begin your weight training program at home. The routine mentioned here is only one idea of what you can do, and just one stage. You will need to make a few choices about what kind of program you want to follow and figure out how much weight you can lift in the beginning.
Think about your goals and write them down on paper. Maybe you can find a friend to work out with you. Hold each other accountable.
Don't let the other one give up and don't you quit either. Strength training is good for weight loss, but remember how it will work toward strengthening your bones and preventing bone diseases later in life. It really is an excellent exercise program for life.