Fitness Strategies

Add Strength Training for Lean Muscles

Turn that Weight Loss Weakness into a Strength

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Before Gail Devers won the 100-meter dash at the 1992 Olympics, she spent countless hours on the track. But you know where else she spent her time? In the gym, doing strength training. Not to gain weight, but to keep her muscles strong.

The common fear is that strength training will add bulk and therefore add weight. But this is a myth. Strength training will build lean muscle and burn some of that fat. So in the long run, you not only become stronger, but you can lose weight as well. Women, in fact, are more likely to tone up from strength training rather than bulk up.

So what part of the body should you work? All of it – your upper body, core, and lower body.

Your upper body is made up of your arms, chest, shoulders, neck, and upper back. This is easily the most popular part of the body to work for strength training. Here are some possible exercises for the upper body: The core is very important because you derive much of your balance from the middle section of your body. Plus a strong core allows you to do other exercises better and more effectively. When it comes to your core, almost everyone takes care of their stomachs with sit-ups. But there is much more to your core, including your obloquies, lower back, hips and groin. Here are a few exercises for the core:
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About The Author

Zach Van Hart Zach Van Hart
Zach is a journalist who regularly covers health and exercise topics.

Member Comments

  • MANDYCAT3
    Women who are concerned about "bulking up" or "getting too muscular" have apparently never done much strength training. Otherwise, they'd know only too well how much work it takes just to achieve definition and tone. To bulk up, most of us would have to rely on some sort of chemical juice like steroids and/or work out hours a day.

    Getting too muscular is Number 3,459 on the list of things women should worry about. - 12/25/2013 8:46:06 AM
  • I want my arms frim not bulky. I don't want to be that muscler. - 5/14/2013 10:21:29 AM
  • IMSTRONG47
    New to spark and looking forward to losing weight - 1/18/2013 11:27:08 AM
  • Surely no one has thought lifting weights would bulk them up since the 70's.... - 1/11/2013 4:24:08 AM
  • Is strength training the same as strength training? - 12/21/2012 6:23:46 PM
  • YOOVIE
    twitch. - 10/8/2012 2:51:12 PM
  • Is it really recommended by trainers that 2 days rest is the ideal after working particular muscle groups? Because I certainly do not normally do 2 days. 1 day is usually the norm, though I do TRY for 2:) - 6/6/2012 8:23:14 AM
  • KAYTEETOO
    It would be really helpful if all of the exercises listed had demos here on SP. I had never heard of Bird Dog either!

    - 3/27/2012 4:15:36 AM
  • It's annoying that this article showed up on my start page even though it's over a year old and none of the horrendous spelling mistakes have ever been corrected.

    "Obloquies"? Seriously? I want to love this site, but it's getting harder and harder to take it seriously. :( - 8/25/2011 7:31:17 AM
  • i really wish someone would proofread these articles. the grammar and spelling issues are glaring and really distract from the message. - 12/18/2010 7:46:10 AM
  • Thanks for all the training tips!
    I just wanted to add that Gail Deavers is a WONDER! - 12/18/2010 7:44:16 AM
  • Strength training for women does not add bulk. We do not have enough testosterone in or bodies to gain bulky muscles by simply doing strength training. Female body builders use either steroids or some other form or injection to get the testosterone needed to produce larger, bulky muscles. Males, however, can, and most likely will, bulk up when strength training.

    Women=lean muscle.

    Those girls at the gym who "don't lose weight" are simply ONLY doing strength training(or not enough cardio if they are doing cardio). Strength training doesn't burn many calories, thats why we can't track calories burned in the fitness tracker for strength training. If you do 100s of crunches, you will not see muscle definition until you burn the fat on top of the muscle by doing cardio. Same goes for all over your body. You need cardio to burn fat and see your muscles.. you may have a 6 pack of abs and not even know because of the fat on top. - 3/16/2010 3:45:28 PM
  • Please explain the fact that strength exercises can indeed add bulk to your body. Uuummm Body Builders. They do not run to get the bulk they life weights. I know that strenght training is not bad, I strength train also. But everything has to be done properly and in proportion to your own body. If someone at my weight, 320's does not focus primarily on cardion and contriling her eating and activity levels and spends most of her time strength training, she will gain muscle on top of the fat itself.

    Ever seen people in your office that go to the gym all the time but never seem to loose any weight? We have all seen them. My best friend is one of them. After a while they will get discouraged and stop. ANd then start again. We really need to learn to exercise and strength train for our own body types.

    http://www.exud
    e.com/ this website talkes all about it. The auther wrote Excape your shape and Hold it, your exercising wrong.

    These are really great books. If I am going to do all of this to loose weight, I am going to do it right!!!! Please understand. I am not saying that it is bad. It is not. But it must be done correctly for your shape and body or you will bulk ware you don't want to bulk. - 2/8/2010 6:08:39 PM
  • Weight lifting was how I figured out how to maintain my weight. When I was in college, the weight started creeping on, and I tried just about everything to keep it down. I went vegan, started running all the time, and quickly gained five pounds. So, since I wasn't vegan for ethical reasons, just health reasons, I went back to eating meat, started lifting weights, and ended up losing the weight I gained and then some. And I'll admit, I like the look of some muscle on a girl. - 2/5/2010 12:30:33 AM
  • Oops...Apologies. 4got to add the attachment : http://www.youtub
    e.com/watch?v
    =L1kranTPgxI - 2/4/2010 7:03:09 PM
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