Women and Lifting Heavy Weights

The two biggest things I hear from women who have just joined the gym are:-

  1. Lose Weight
  2. Tone Up

And they’ll usually want to do it in that order. The conversation I may have with the person may go a little something like this:-

Lady: ‘I want to lose the weight and then tone up the flabby parts.’

Me: ‘Ok great stuff!! The best way to do that is to lift weights and do interval training.’

Lady: ‘Ok but I don’t want to lift heavy as I don’t want to get big and look like a MAN!! I just want to get toned.’

I hear this countless times; over and over again! Is it coming from the media or is it poor education? Either way lifting HEAVY weights will:-

NOT make you get BIG and like a man.

WILL give you that toned up look you are wanting to achieve.

The reason that men can gain grow big through weight training is their hormone make-up. You need large quantities of testosterone to gain large muscular growth. Which although you may not know women do actually hold testosterone in their bodies just as men hold estrogen in theirs. However both sexes only hold low dosages of the opposite sexes hormone. So women do not hold enough testosterone to be able to gain large muscular gains.

So the rules of lifting for females are:-

DON’T lift LIGHT weights and HIGH repetitions for getting toned! Using this method will only help train your ENDURANCE energy system.

You will need to BUILD muscle to achieve the toned up look you are wanting. You do this by:

Lifting HEAVY weights with LOW repetitions.

What is classed as heavy weight and low repetitions?

Low repetition would be between 8-12 repetitions. (There are other repetition ranges but I do not want to get bogged down with all of these – lets just keep it simple).

The heavy weight is stipulated from the rep range that you use which can differ greatly from person to person. You need to choose a weight that you are able to perform the exercise with for between 8-12 repetitions. If you can not lift the weight for 8 repetitions then the weight is TOO HEAVY! If you can lift the weight for MORE than 12 repetitions then the weight is TOO LIGHT!

So really the first two times you do a program you need to play around with the weights that you are lifting so that you know you are lifting the correct weight. This may also mean you may have to change the weight you are using part way through your program as you are feeling tired and can no longer lift that same weight for the minimum 8 repetitions (do ever be scared to do this).

An example of a bicep exercise program may look like:-

3 sets of a dumbbell bicep curl; 8-12 repetitions.

Set 1 – 5kg dumbbells – achieved 10 repetitions

Set 2 – 5kg dumbbells – achieved 8 repetitions

Set 3 – 4kg dumbbells – achieved 9 repetitions

I always take a pen/pencil with me in the gym, write down what I achieved and then I know the following week what I achieved and I then aim to better it!

So get to building your toned physique ready for the summer!

Check out the people who have already decided to make a change on the Success Stories page.

If you have any questions about it then send me a message via the contact page or add a comment at the bottom of the page.