Top 12 Weight
Training Tips for Women
Excerpt By Jamie
The value of
weight training in women is indisputable -- for women as well as
men. For improving muscle strength, bone density, balance, disease
prevention and fat loss, pumping iron is now a proven prescription.
Here's the top tips from various specialists.
1) Set a
Goal. Decide what you want to get out of your workout. Are you
after Jennifer Aniston's arms or a job with World Wrestling Entertainment?
Are you lifting weights to improve function, health, appearance,
or sports performance? Once this has been determined, you can better
tailor your routine, choosing exercises that will target the proper
2) Be Consistent.
Once you commit to weight training, stick with it. True, a long
day at work doesn't provide much inspiration, but resist the urge
to skip sessions. "If you can't do a lot, do a little," recommends
Thompson. "Something is better than nothing."
Proper Form and Technique. "Exercise is like medicine," says
Laskowski, "it's based on science." If you have no experience with
weights, experts recommend investing in a couple of sessions with
a personal trainer. One thing to keep in mind is to avoid hyper-extending
or locking out any joints. This allows the muscle to relax, which
is counterproductive. Also, be sure that your whole body is properly
aligned in order to protect the lower back.
4) Get Tired.
While many theories exist on the best ways to build muscle, recent
research indicates that a single set of 12 repetitions with the
proper weight can build muscle just as efficiently as three sets
of the same exercise good news for people trying to squeeze
weight lifting into a busy schedule. Laskowski recommends a single
set of exercises using a weight heavy enough to tire the muscles
after a dozen repetitions. "When you work a muscle to fatigue, you
are releasing factors that build endurance and strength," adds Hoffman.
Are Sexy. Many women avoid weight lifting because they are afraid
of looking too buff and muscular, opting instead for the treadmill
or the elliptical machine to burn calories. In truth, weight training
converts fat into lean muscle. Lean muscle burns more calories,
aiding in weight loss. "It's like having a V-8 engine instead of
a 4-cylinder. You have a bigger engine to burn more calories because
it takes calories to keep that engine running," explains Laskowski.
Your Exercises."You can fall in love with your trainer but don't
fall in love with any one exercise," says Thompson. If you repeat
the same exercise, you will overdo a particular muscle group. Everyone
undoubtedly has a particular asset they may want to develop, but
don't overdo it. Use a full variety of exercises, machines and resistances.
Try lifting free weights, water, household items, and even your
own body weight. Changing it up will shock the muscles, challenging
them to lift the weight.
Slowly. Don't cheat by racing through your exercises. Remember,
it only takes one set so be sure to get the most out of your time
in the gym. Take one to two seconds to contract the muscle, hold
the contraction for half a second, and then lengthen the release
to three or four seconds. You are 20 percent to 40 percent stronger
on the way down so following this time breakdown will maximize strength
Balanced Muscles Groups. People generally work out only what
they can see, says Laskowski, "it's as if they have a 'Cadillac
in the front, and a Volkswagen in the back.'" But too much time
devoted to one side may create posture problems. Since, every muscle
has an opposing muscle, be sure to work the entire pair. For example,
follow stomach crunches with back extensions and bicep curls with
Female-Focused Exercises. Women should pay particular attention
to building strength in the upper back and shoulders. This will
protect against poor posture later in life, a common problem related
to osteoporosis. And don't neglect your lower body females
are five to six times more likely to suffer a knee ligament tear.
To protect against knee injury, focus on building the hamstring
a Get-Buff Buddy. A lifting partner is helpful not only for
spotting but for motivation as well. When your arms are feeling
like Jell-O and you think you've got nothing left to give, a little
encouragement from a friend may be all you need to push out that
Caffeine Before Lifting. Although optional, a little caffeine
may give you an extra boost of energy to lift after a long day.
You may be surprised by the effects a cup of coffee or can of soda
can have on your performance.
12) Be Patient.
"Rome wasn't built in a day; you won't be either," says Thompson.
It takes time to incorporate the benefits of weight lifting. Changes
in muscle fiber won't show until four to six weeks, but in the meantime,
your muscles are learning how to act more efficiently.
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