This article needs to be featured pretty much every day on every fitness site aimed at women. Strength training is so incredibly important for good bone health plus other benefits. Also, if you are like me and enjoy doing cardio (in my case, kickboxing and running) then strength training is even more important - cardio can burn just as much fat as muscle, so that muscle needs to be rebuilt. I used to be worried / scared of lifting weights. Once I actually started learning about lifting, I realized I LOVE having muscles. I have always been a weakling. It gives me great joy to be able to feel my biceps now. They're still buried under arm fat and loose skin, but I can feel them, darnit! I'm a big believer in circuit training, so I can make my time more efficient. I don't need to do separate cardio and strength that way, so it cuts my workout time in half. Also, do not be ashamed of your 3 lb free weights. That's what I started out with. Once you are not longer fatigued by them, you can go up to the 5 lb, and repeat on and on.
Thank you for a great article! Great description of how to work properly with weights to fatigue muscles; when I look at people who do light weights at the gym I feel like they are wasting their time (unless, of course, it's rehab after an injury). Another great point made is how bodybuilders get bodies they have. It takes huge amount of time and effort, strict diet and often times drugs. For an average person like me bulking up will never happen. Besides, look at coach Nichole - she works out a lot but doesn't look like a body builder. She just looks awesome. This is a great reminder to work our bodies in different ways - both cardio and strength training are important!
SONYALATRECE: You're just wasting time. It's not going to hurt, but lifting less than you are capable of just takes longer to achieve the same results! You can get faster results using higher weights for lower reps.
Great article! However I've seen other daily spark pieces on "toning x body part" or lengthening muscles, and those just confuse the readership! I've read enough fitness magazines and taken enough nutrition and weightlifting classes to know what is worth learning and what to gloss over, but sticking to one message would serve the general public so much better, as not everyone will take the time to educate themselves too deeply, certainly not early on in their journeys. Just my 2 cents!!
Thanks for this article. I wrote one last year about this topic. I teach Spinning / Indoor Cycling classes, Boot Camps and Pilates (amongst others) and I tell my female clients all the time that muscle can grow from either many reps of light weights or fewer reps of heavy weight. The size your muscle gets is pre-determined by your DNA (how much fast twitch vs slow twitch fibers you're born with). If you have the type of muscles that grow fast (containing more fast twitch fibers), good for you! Some of us have to work our butts off to make our muscles grow. Here's an example. Two women doing the exact same workout routine - one woman's muscles get noticeably bigger, the other one's doesn't. Why? People with more fast twitch fibers will see faster growth and strength gains. They tend to be faster runners, higher jumpers, more powerful players at most sports, etc. If you're born with more slow twitch muscle fibers, you'll gravitate toward endurance types of activities where you can go for a long time at a slower, steady pace. Here's the article I wrote if the topic interests you: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jill-s-brown /a-weighty-issue-lifting-l_b_760488.html
I have to say I'm glad this article exists. I just yesterday posted a comment on the 'Pass the Pilates, please' article about the "lengthening" muscles concept. I am a huge fan of strength training, I prefer it a thousandfold over cardio. I "strength train like a guy" according to many of my female friends due to the fact I am using 15s, 20s, and 25s for my exercises (Until I can build up the strength to do more) without a fear I'm going to end up looking like the hulk. I also have no notion in my mind that my muscles will somehow get longer through the yoga or pilates I do.
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