Most of the women I see training in gyms are going about it the wrong way. While some of them do very intense cardio workouts, most of them don’t work as hard in the weights area.
I don’t blame them. There is a lot of misinformation about weight lifting in general, and for women in particular. I hope to dispel one of the biggest myths in this article.
Heavy Weights For a Feminine Physique
Most women that do lift weights (and not all of them do) choose low-medium weights, the kind of weight that allows them to do a lot of reps (20+). If you ask these women why they choose these particular weights, most of them would answer that they don’t want to bulk up, only to tone their muscles (unless they think you’re trying to hit on them, in which case they may not talk to you at all). It seems that the fear of getting “masculine” looking muscles drives women into a low resistance – high rep training routine.
I believe that this is the wrong way for women to train, especially if they also want to burn off lots of calories and body fat with each workout. In fact, I believe that women should lift heavy weights. In fact, in a way, this may be more in tune with a feminine body sculpting than a masculine one.
In a previous article on how to lift weights without bulking up, I talked about the two different muscle growths and how training in different rep ranges produces one or the other. In that article (which I recommend reading), I explained how a low rep workout routine created a muscle growth which is dense and not bulky, while a higher rep workout created a more swollen muscle.
Let me ask you, as a woman, which kind of muscle do you want to have: a dense and tightly packed one or a big and swollen one?
Let me guess, the tight one, right? This is what most women would prefer to have.
So, what’s the point of training with low weights, doing a lot of reps, and (if your workout is tough enough) to build the kind of muscles which are big and swollen? For men who want to gain size, I can see how this would be logical. For women, 9 times out of 10, this is the wrong approach.
The truth is that women should incorporate a lot more heavy weight lifting into their routine to increase their strength and develop tight and dense muscles.
I know that women get a lot of conflicting advice and you may be wondering why is it that this if the first time you’re hearing about this. Well, I’m far from alone. Check out this interview I did with Rusty Moore, the author of the women’s workout plan, Visual Impact For Women, and you’ll see that I am not the only one who believes women should not lift in the high rep range (he also advocates never training to failure).
Note: You don’t need to go overboard or to avoid high rep training completely, just don’t neglect heavy weight lifting entirely.
Burn Fat And Stop Wasting Time
If you want to burn more calories and get lean, lifting small weights for 20 - 30 times may not be the best way to accomplish your goals. Lifting them for 10 times when you can lift them for 25 is also not a smart idea. In fact, it is a waste of time. Not total, perhaps, but it is certainly not the best use of your time at the gym.
To change your body you need to make an effort each time you step into the gym. This includes your selection of exercises, the way your workout is formatted and the weights and resistance you use.
If you can lift a weight for 25+ times, it isn’t giving you the kind of resistance you really need. You won’t get any real effect from it. You are hardly stimulating your muscles. This is surely better than sitting on the couch and doing nothing at all, but if you’re looking for fast results, you’re going to need to change your routine.
Lifting heavier weights will put more strain on your muscles and create an overall more intense workout experience. This will burn more calories, help to boost your metabolism further, and will make it easier to lose body fat.
You should always make sure that you’re performing your exercises in the correct form. Don’t use a weight that you can’t work with correctly. Ask a trainer to watch you do each exercise and correct your form.
Don’t be afraid of lifting heavy weights because you’re a woman. It can be one of the best things you do to improve how you look. Just make sure to train with the right technique and form and make sure to make a real effort every time you step into a gym. This is the way to get results.