Women have avoided weights for a long time. Often, they’ve feared building big, bulky muscles, becoming muscle-bound, or injuring themselves. The reality, though, is that lifting weights will do none of those things. Rather it is the key to a lean, athletic, strong, and healthy body.
“In this article, we’ll lay out a game plan for women to start weight training.”
Benefits of Lifting Weights for Women
1. Weight lifting sculpts your body. It puts you in control, allowing you to view your body as a piece of art. If you need to add a bit here or reshape a bit there, weight training is the tool with which you can do it.
2. Weight lifting makes you strong. Not just exercise specific strong. The type of weight training that you’ll be undertaking with weights will make you functionally strong. They will make it easier for you to go about all of your daily tasks – with plenty left in the tank for emergencies.
3. Weight lifting allows you to burn fat. While you can’t spot reduce, weight training will allow you to tighten and firm muscle all over your body, while systematically stripping fat from all over your frame.
“The result is that your scale weight may not change a whole lot (because muscle weighs five times more than fat does) but you will look a whole lot better.”
4. Weight lifting builds muscle. Muscle weighs five times more than fat does.Just to maintain that muscle takes a lot of calories. Of course, muscle is also what gives your body its shape. Muscle is sexy. It gives you curves. Muscle becomes increasingly important as we get older.
Once we advance past the half-century, we have a natural decline of from 5 to 10% of muscle mass every decade. As a result, we lose strength. Working out with weights will counter that natural loss, allowing us to combat many of the ailments that are traditionally associated with aging.
Weight training will also strengthen your bones, boost your metabolism and build such inner qualities as self-discipline and resilience.
Weight Training for Beginners
Beginner weight trainers should divide their body into two parts, with each part being worked twice per week. The muscles of the body that should be worked can be divided into major and minor muscle groups.
These are the major muscle groups:
- latissimus dorsi (down the lower posterior thorax side of body)
- trapezius (back, starts base of neck and extends across shoulder & down middle of back)
- glutes (buttocks)
- quadriceps (thighs)
These are the minor muscle groups:
- deltoids (shoulder)
- triceps & biceps (arm)
- hamstrings (run down upper part of back of legs, from thigh to your knee)
- calves (back of lower legs)
Each of these body parts should be trained by a single exercise for 2 sets of 15 reps. That means that you do the exercise 2 times, performing 15 repetitions each time. Rest for 30-45 seconds between sets.
Here is a recommended body part split weight training for beginners program …
- Latissimus Dorsi
Begin your workouts with a dynamic stretching warm-up, where you move the muscles to be worked through their full range of motion for 10-15 repetitions. An example of a dynamic stretch for the chest is bringing the arms across your body in a hugging motion and then extending them out to a full stretch.
You should stay hydrated during your workout, having a water bottle available to sip from between sets.
“It is recommended that beginner weight trainers employ the services of a personal trainer for their first couple of sessions. This will provide the guidance to learn proper exercise form.”
Taking a refresher workout with the trainer every 6 weeks or so will help keep you on track and prevent bad exercise habits from creeping in.
What Weight Equipment is Best for Beginners?
What Weight Equipment is Best for Beginners?
- An adjustable exercise bench
- A pair of adjustable dumbbells
- Resistance Bands
- A cable pulley machine
If you do not have access to a cable pulley machine, you can use resistance bands to replicate the cable movement.
Weight Training for Women: Best Exercises
Here are the best exercises to isolate each of the body parts that are included in the weight training for beginners program.
- Chest – Dumbbell bench press
- Trapezius – Dumbbell shrug
- Quadriceps – Leg extension
- Glutes – Cable glute kickback
- Deltoids – Lateral dumbbell raise
- Latissimus Dorsi – Lat pull In
- Biceps – Alternate dumbbell curl
- Triceps – Triceps pushdown
- Hamstrings – Leg curl
- Calves – Standing Calf Raise (bodyweight only)
Beginner’s Workout Program
Monday & Thursday
- Dumbbell Bench Press – 2 x 15
- Dumbbell Shrug – 2 x 15
- Leg Extension – 2 x 15
- Cable Glute Kickback – 2 x 15 (each leg)
- Side Lateral Raise – 2 x 15
Tuesday & Friday
- Lat Pull In – 2 x 15
- Alternating Dumbbell Curl – 2 x 15
- Triceps Pushdown – 2 x 15
- Leg Curl – 2 x 15
- Standing Calf Raise – 2 x 15
What Results Can I Expect to See?
Lifting weights for woman trainers will provide a steady improvement in strength levels during the first 6 weeks of exercising. Changes in muscle tone will take longer. However, after 3 months of training, a woman will notice that the worked muscles are noticeably tighter and more defined. To speed up this process and lose body fat, a woman should combine weight training with a couple of cardio sessions each week.
Is weight training bad for females?
No, weight training is not bad for females. On the contrary, lifting weights for women has been shown to have many benefits, including, toning and strengthening muscles, increasing bone density, improving cardiovascular health, and boosting metabolism.
How much weight should women lift for toning?
To tone her body, a woman should use a weight that allows her to perform between 8 and 15 reps. On the first set, she should do 15 reps with a weight that is challenging for the last 2-3 reps. On each succeeding set, increase the weight slightly and reduce the reps to a low of 8 reps.
Does heavy lifting cause infertility?
There is conflicting research on whether intense exercise lessens a woman’s ability to get pregnant. The general recommendation is that women who are trying to get pregnant should stick to a moderate intensity level on all exercises, including using weights in the 10-15 rep range.
Will heavy weights make a woman bulky?
No, lifting heavy weights will not make a woman bulky. It will allow her to shape and tone her muscles. When complemented with cardio exercise to remove fat, it will result in a lean, athletic-looking physique.
Is it better to lift weights or do cardio first?
It is generally better to do weight training before cardio. Weight training is the more anaerobically challenging activity, so doing it when you are freshest will ensure that you can perform at your best. Weight training also depletes the body’s glycogen levels, which makes you more likely to burn fat during your cardio sessions.
Does lifting weights slim your arms?
No, lifting weights does not slim your arms. It will tone and shape your biceps, triceps, and forearms but to lose fat from your arms you need to create a calorie deficit, through a combination of diet and cardio exercise.
As a woman you should be incorporating weights into your fitness regime. The benefits of doing so are very clear, with both your level of fitness, shape and muscle strength improving. If you don’t know where to start, ask a personal trainer to show you the gear and where you should be starting, for your own fitness level and for a plan to progress. Good luck!