If I had a dollar for the number of times I have heard “I don’t lift weights because I don’t want to be big and muscular”, I would be a rich woman! I’m here to tell you that you will NOT get big by lifting weights.
Have you ever said this?
“I get bulky when I lift weights.” Or “I need to lose weight so I only focus on cardiovascular exercises.” Or “Lifting weights is for bodybuilders.”
At one time I thought that too. But as I have learned more about exercise and the many different types there are to benefit your body, weight training is one of the key workouts that will help you burn fat and stay lean. The more muscle you put on your body, the more calories you burn at rest. Meaning that, while you are not exercising, your body burns more calories. Plus, the more muscle you have, the less fat you have on your body.
You do not have to lift heavy weights and you do not need to lift weights everyday, but incorporating weight training a few times a week is essential to a fit lifestyle. And the great part about weight training is that you will never get bored. You can try weight machines, dumbbells, kettle bells, barbells with weights, or you can simply use your own body weight. If you are intimidated by weight lifting, have a personal trainer show you some simple exercises you can add to your regimen. Or try a weight training class. Our gym offers Body Pump, which is a full body workout with weights. And you control the amount of weight you want to use.
I like to work on different muscle groups throughout the week. I will do a short 20-30 minute weight routine after my cardio session so I can concentrate on 1-2 muscle groups. It’s best to work out larger muscle groups first, because you can lift the heaviest weights and get an overall harder workout. Start with back and shoulders or chest and back.
Back – overhand pull ups, wide grip pull downs, seated cable rows, bench rows
Chest – bench press, incline bench press, chest fly, cable fly, push ups (on floor or elevated surface)
Shoulders – overhead press with dumbbells, upright rows, lateral raises
You can work on your biceps and triceps on the same day because they are a smaller muscle group and fatigue easier. Try bicep curls, preacher curls, alternating concentration curls for biceps and cable press, overhead press, chair dips and push ups for triceps.
Do this workout for 2-3 weeks then switch it up. Try back and biceps together and chest and triceps together.
But ladies, I implore you, do not use the 3 and 5 pound dumbbells (unless you have never lifted a weight ever). When you are performing 10-15 reps of an exercise, the last few should be difficult. If you get to 15 reps and are not straining, up your weight!
When I trained for my figure competitions, I was lifting heavier than I ever had in the past. And I got leaner than I have ever been. So I’m here to tell you that lifting weights does not make you bigger. It makes you stronger!
Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments you may have!