The weight you lift, I mean….
I think I just had a Yoda moment
O.K. Let’s move onto the meat of the matter shall we?
One thing I see a LOT in the gym (aside from many varying forms of weight lifting that could possibly kill somebody) are ladies lifting light.
I mean, like LIGHT. Before I move on I must say that I’m not talking about squatting the bar because you are working on form and building muscle. I am not talking about brand new lifters who NEED to start lighter than they usually do. I’m talking about those groups of ladies (cause they tend to be in flocks) who are so afraid to lift heavy they stay lighter than they should. This post is for you.
Let’s bust the common myth: weight lifting will not make you bulky or huge. Tuck that fact away. Women can benefit greatly from regular weight lifting. If you’re not trying to compete, you can get by with 3-5 lifts per week and reap the benefits such as:
- Increased lean muscle mass
- Increased metabolism
- Increase bone density (it’s more important to you when you’re older so start now)
- Increased tendon and ligament strength
- Fewer injuries such as joint rolls and sprains
- Higher self-esteem
- Increased energy….once you find your balance
- Increased libido (Helloooooooo, nurse!)
- Tighter skin
I could go on and on, but we’ll stick with these for now. Most women won’t lift heavy due to the fact that they worry they will look bulky. If these women DO try some heavy weights, chances are they may experience the slight swelling that can occur when your tissue expands due to the load. This will usually dissipate after a while, but some ladies get scared. They may also notice the scale moving on up and find that disturbing. Well, contrary to the popular saying, muscle and fat weigh the same. I mean, a pound is a pound right? The fact is muscle is far more dense than fat and therefore it takes up less space. Less space makes for a leaner body overall.
Are you sold on the heavier weights yet?
Once you start to take in all the benefits, the next question is ALWAYS, “How heavy should I lift?”
In my own opinion, I think you should second guess your lack of spotter but let’s break it down by goal.
Weight lifting really is a numbers game. Everything you do is like an algebraic equation that is solved by your body. So, let’s take a look at popular goals and the algebra one can use to reach them.
- You have some body fat to melt and you want things to STOP jiggling pronto: With this goal your best bet is a rep range of 12-15, meaning the weight should almost be immovable by the time you hit 13-14. Notice, you are going for a FEELING here. You’ll notice the more you lift that you have strong days and not-so-strong days. Take it in stride and always show up.
- You’re over 35 years old/have experienced a HUGE weight loss/are noticing loose skin OR all of the above: THIS is my specialty. The rep range you are shooting to hit is 6-8 (some scientists offer 4 is good, but I find my joints will give out when I go that heavy). Again, you’re going for a feeling here. The weight should be immoveable by the time you hit 7-8. This particular rep range with heavy-duty weight (adjusted to your specific strength) has been shown to increase elasticity in the skin by increasing the production of collagen. It also helps to force produce more testosterone, which will help bring balance to hormones that become imbalanced with age AND it helps to spice up that sometimes lagging libido.
- You want to compete on American Ninja Warrior……or you dig endurance sports. Your particular rep range protocol is anywhere from 15-30. This will be lighter weight and focus on different muscle fibers to pull the load. You may use 5 pounds for an overhead press, but by the time you reach 30 reps I promise your shoulders are on fire. Tis builds endurance in the muscle and increases endurance between the mind/muscle connection.
I know it seems complicated, but here’s the deal: you have to know your body and know your goal. Since I have lost so much weight, I actually incorporate the first 2 mostly (with a lower rep focus on the larger movements) and will throw in high rep every once in a while to burn out the muscle, increase size or just to do something different since I get bored easily.
My advice to you is to play around with it and try. keep a record of what you lift AND if you think you can lift heavier next time. You can always try a slightly heavier weight and if you only get 2 reps, be happy, drop the weight and finish your set. your results are determined by you alone. So make your gym time personal.
Now it’s your turn: Comment below with any questions you have on weightlifting OR the tips and tricks you have used to progress your lifts.
Oh, and let me know what your favorite lifts are when you train!