The days of lycra or leotard clad ladies grape-vining across the aerobics studio are slowly receding. With the number of women taking up weight training steadily increasing, most women know that this form of exercise isn’t going to turn them into a bodybuilder overnight. The myth that weight training will make you big and bulky is simply a myth. Similarly, lifting puny pink dumbbells simply won’t get you a lean, fit body.
That’s why we’ve come up with our top weight-training tips for women, designed to help the ladies maximize their hours at the gym.
Never skip the warm up
Working cold and stiff muscles can lead to preventable injuries. It is important to warm up before you conduct any weights or strength training. This helps to improve your range of motion and prepares your joints and muscles for exercise.
Our favourite warm ups include simple activities like jogging or using a rowing machine for five minutes, just to get the heart rate up and your muscles ready for action. Follow this up with 10 to 20 lunges, squats and pushups, just prior to starting your strength routine.
We usually do some kind of dynamic stretching as well before starting, but there’s no need for any static stretching, this may actually be making your lifting worse.
Implement proper form
In order to really maximize your form as a female weight trainer, it is important to pay close attention to retaining proper form. Due to naturally wider hips, women are unfortunately more at risk for form-related injuries compared to men. Women’s knees have a tendency to turn in, due to the angle that wider hips create – this is something important to keep in mind as a female strength trainer.
Before you begin any exercise, ensure you stand straight, with your eyes looking ahead to the horizon, and really concentrate on the exercise or movement that you are about to perform. Visualize the correct form, and then implement it.
Work opposing muscle groups
Strength imbalances occur in both men and women, causing them to be more prone to injuries. They can be the result of a number of factors, from lifestyle (such as sitting at a desk all day, or standing for long periods of time) or not paying close attention to both sides of your body equally.
For every exercise that targets the muscles at the front of your body (such as your chest, quads, and biceps), be sure to follow it up with an exercise that targets the muscles at the rear of your body (such as the back, hamstrings, and triceps.) This will help to balance your body, decreasing your risk of injury and creating an overall balanced tone.
Don’t burn out
There is a large misconception that the more reps, sets or weights you do, the better your workout is. However, this is not always the case. If you increase any of these elements too quickly, your body may not be able to handle it. Gradual increases in reps, set and weights can prevent torn ligaments and other injuries, as it gives your connective tissues and muscles time to adapt.
Train with the right intensity
If you don’t train with intensity, then you just won’t get the results you want. The problem is, there’s no specific number when it comes to intensity: everyone has a different fitness level and a different strength threshold. The best way to think about it is that whenever you do a set of exercises, the last rep should be tough. You should be able to finish one more after your last; two reps at the absolute most.
If you finish your set feeling as though you could have done another 20 reps, then you’re not working with anywhere near enough intensity. Intensity is what challenges your muscles, and helps you build a fit, lean body.
If you’re thinking of getting into weight lifting or training, look no further than Big 5 Fitness. When conducting strength training for women, we put our heart and soul into it. We create tailored programs for females, working together to maximize strength and achieve milestones that they never thought possible.