After last week’s round of comments on my post about weight lifting, I had to write a follow-up post (or two or three!) on the topic of weight training for women.
It’s sad to me that there is such a big fear factor over weight training amongst women – because truly, it is so, so, so good for you on many levels (more on this later). And mentally – I have to say, it instills a sense of power and confidence that I can’t replicate with other workouts.
So, here are my tips for how to make weight training both approachable but also sustainable. I heard from you that it is scary or an “unknown” for you, or that you just can’t seem to commit to a regular weight training routine at all. You need a goal to work towards (like a race) to stick with something, but with weights, there isn’t necessarily such a tangible end goal or “end” at all.
*Remember – I’m no pro, this is just my advice from personal experiences only
- If you’re intimidated by the gym…consider starting out with weight training at home. All you really need to get started are a few dumbells in various increments (5 lbs; 8 lbs; 10 lbs; 15lbs is a good starting point for a beginner) and either a handy-dandy workout “borrowed” from your favorite blogger (hint hint!) or a workout DVD that takes you through the steps (like my friend Cathe Friedrich who taught me so much about proper form – all in a DVD no less!)
- Take a weight lifting class at your gym. This one is huge for those of you who LOVE the vibe of a group fitness class but typically gravitate towards cardio-based group classes only. This is equally huge for those of you looking for form pointers and are afraid of injury. You should get solid direction from your instructor, and in some cases, they’ll walk around the room and correct your form if needed.
- If you’re comfortable, even just a little bit with going to the weight room at your gym (I know some of you are) – consider starting out slowly with your own weight routine. Start with one body part a day after you get your cardio fix on. For biceps – start with bicep curls with a set of dumbells, then shift to a set of bicep curls done with a barbell (it works the muscle differently), and finish with a set of incline curls on a weight bench. It could be as simple as that. You can start going crazy with “drop-sets” and “trisets” and “supersets” later, but get comfortable with the weights first, and the exercises (note why is that word so hard to spell?!). Get them down first before going into the more advanced weight work (and I will do a post on all of these fun types of weight workouts next, I promise).
- For those of you who are comfortable with weights but just can’t figure out how to stick to it? Consider a one-month rotation. Create your own 3x/week weight workout that incorporates two days of upper body and one day of lower body work (I’ll create a sample schedule for you in a follow-on post) and map it out for the month, gradually increasing your weight little by little. And by the end of the month, check out those “guns” in the mirror – I can guarantee you they’ll be more toned and defined. Feel free to measure before/after if that’s your thing. Or take before/after pics if you need that for tangible motivation. For me – my motivation is more mental, I love how weight lifting makes me feel so strong and confident. And wearing a tank top with killer arms in the summer isn’t a bad mental image either, not gonna lie. 😉
- Above all else, figure out what works for you. For some of you – lighter weights with tons of reps may feel “good” for you. For others, going heavier but with less reps might be more your speed. You might hate working out in your gym but love it at home, or you might only want to take a group fitness class (like Group Power or Body Pump) because you like the group fitness atmosphere. Or you might find that you love Cathe as much as I still do, today! And maybe, just maybe you’ll realize that with consistent effort, you’ll find that sense of empowerment I mentioned above about weight lifting. At the end of the day though, this is about you and what makes you feel strong and fit and healthy and powerful. Am I right?
So yeah, this is turning into a series of posts from me. I’ve hinted at the topics I plan to cover here, but feel free to ask for others and I’ll add them in! This will be fun! 🙂
And if you’re wondering…last night I ended up with a mix of my “revised” workout plan of Core Fusion but added in a weight workout. Of the leg (oww) and shoulders variety.
Shoulders – supersets, endurance-style (my favorite – high reps, low weights)
Shoulders superset #1: shoulder presses (barbell-style)@27.5 lbs; followed by upright rows (barbell-style) @27.5lbs – 3 sets @15 reps each
Shoulders superset #2: Front raises @7.5 lbs followed by lateral raises @7.5 lbs – 3 sets @15 reps each
Legs – trisets, baby!
Triset #1: Squats w/barbell @40lbs, deadlifts @40 lbs, lungs (bodyweight only)
Triset #2: slide-back lunges with paper plates (bodyweight only); plie squats @30 lbs; calf raises @20 lbs
Followed that all up with some lengthening leg work (10 min segment) and core work (another 10 min segment) from Core Fusion Lean & Toned, one of my favorites. Niiiice and toasty when all was said and done. Just the way I like it. 🙂