Listen up ladies – it’s time to stop pretending that you like the elliptical machine! Yes, we know that a lot of women are dying to replace their endless hours of cardio with strength training, but most of the time they tremble at the sight of seemingly complicated machines surrounded by guys with spectacular bodies and never push their limits out of fear of being judged, laughed at or worse.
Well, with this article we would like to encourage you to give resistance training a second chance, because it’s more than worth it. Do you know that strength training beats the hell out of cardio when it comes to fat loss? And let’s not even start about its ability to build lean muscle and strengthen the whole body. But wait, we’re not talking about joking around with 5-pound dumbbells that’s supposed to “tone” your muscles – we’re talking about high-intensity, high-volume, bad-ass lifting routines! If you think you’re just not cut out for that type of training – think again. We can assure you that absolutely every single person in the world can benefit tremendously from strength training in terms of both health and fitness. And if you’ve been worried that lifting weights will give you masculine muscularity, we urge you to immediately ditch that stupid myth – women have a naturally lower production of testosterone and a few other muscle-building hormones than men, so they have a very hard time building huge muscles.
For most of us, greater strength translates to better looks, more confidence and an overwhelming feeling of independence and self-sufficiency. And those are not even half of the benefits you will get from going heavy. So get ready to wake up your muscle fibers and discover your power with the help of these 3 most important strength training tips!
#1. Lift heavy!
To stimulate hypertrophy, which is the key part of muscle growth, you need to lift heavy. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself with an adequately heavier weight that you’re used to in order to push your muscles to break down and repair much stronger. To correctly determine the right weight for you, pick up a weight and lift it 10 times. If you are barely able to finish those last two reps with proper form, you’ve chosen wisely. On the other hand, if you can easily squeeze another three or four reps, you need to go heavier. Keep injury at bay by maintaining good form and giving your body enough time to rest between training days.
#2. Lift a lot!
A general rule of thumb for achieving optimal results is to perform two or three sets of 10 repetitions, two to three times per week. Anything less won’t yield significant results. But if you find a way to squeeze this training schedule into your busy week, it will undoubtedly bring you countless benefits such as increased bone density, enhanced metabolic rate, accelerated weight loss and optimal heart health. However, watch out for overtraining, since it can lead to damage of skeletal muscles and cause prolonged muscle soreness.
#3. Try different things!
Don’t get stuck with the same routine for too long. Usually it takes a few months before your body gets too comfortable with the challenges of any given program and progress begins to stall. Avoid adaptation (and boredom!) by changing your routine, adding new exercises or increasing the weight you’re using. Fortunately, the list of exercises to choose from is practically endless, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding plenty of exercises that are perfect for you.