When you think of lifting weights, you may think of a professional wrestler, the Mr. Universe competition, or the part of your local gym that is usually populated mostly by men. As a woman, you may skip the weights because you in no way want to look bulky or ‘buff’.
What you may not know is that weight lifting can be a great workout and weight loss tool for women: no bulking up required. Women simply do not have the same hormonal workup that men do and do not bulk up when lifting. Yes, there are women who do get bulky from lighting weights, but they are mostly likely on sort of supplement, or even worse, steroids.
What lifting does for women is help them tone muscles and gain muscle mass. You may have heard that muscle weighs more than fat. That’s not technically true (a pound is a pound no matter what it consists of), but it is much denser. As you add muscle and work off fat, your body will be trimmer, even if the scale doesn’t move too much.
Adding muscle not only makes you leaner, it makes you stronger. You have more energy to get through those long cardio workouts, and your metabolism with work more efficiently.
Anther great benefit for women in regards to strength training is an overall better condition of joints. When muscles grow and are exercised, the connective tissues benefit as well. These tissues hold the muscles to the bone. When they become stronger, you become more agile, and build endurance.
Interested? Here are some tips to get you started.
Probably most the most important thing you should do before you begin is talk to your doctor if you have any injuries, joint problems, or medical conditions. You may be advises not to use weights, or be given a modified regimen for the sake of your health. This is especially important if you have heart problems or high blood pressure.
Warm up and cool off. You should stretch and do some sort of cardio activity before you begin to avoid damaging your muscles while you work out. Don’t forget to stretch and possibly take a short walk after you are finished.
Start small. Buy one or two pound hand weights and carry them with you when you walk. You can also buy ankle weights for the same purpose. These can also be used during aerobic exercise for resistance.
If you’d like to try your hand at lifting barbells on a weight bench, start small. You should be able to lift the weight, but with some resistance. This is something you should look into before you begin. You may want to talk to a personal trainer at a local gym. You want to use proper form when lifting so you don’t injure yourself.
Never lift alone. You should always have a spotter with you as you lift. Because you should be lifting more than what you can easily lift, there may come a time when you encounter fatigue and you don’t want the barbell falling onto your neck and shoulders.
Don’t forget to workout more than your arms. Most gyms today have equipment that is specially made for different parts of the body. It is just as important to workout your legs, back, stomach, butt, and chest.
When lifting, wear any safety equipment recommended by your gym. This might include a weight lifting belt and gloves. If your doctor recommends you use any sort of support or wrap, be sure to do so.
When you first begin, take it slow and work your way up to a longer work out. You can start with fifteen minutes three times a week and see an improvement. When you become more comfortable working out with weights you can increase the amount of time you lift.
Remember to give your muscles a break, however. They need time to heal after a workout. You should feel some discomfort after a workout, but you should not be in immense pain. Keep it simple when you start and you will soon learn what to expect and when you have gone too far.
Whether you are looking to lose weight or just tone up your body, don’t be afraid to hit the dumbbells. You will feel better than you have in a long time, and look better too. No worries ladies, you won’t end up looking like you are about to step out into a boxing ring.