So I definitely have noticed more women in the weight room recently.
Unfortunately most of these women are doing high reps with very little weight. I’ve also noticed that most of them are only doing single muscle group movements.
The exercises that women seem to love:
- Bicep curls
- Tricep extensions
- Adductor machine
- Abductor machine
While these exercises can be great auxiliary lifts for someone looking to strengthen weak points in their bench, deadlift or squat, these single muscle group movements really are pointless to do otherwise. Plus if you do compound movements, you will work all of those muscles that you are working with those isolated exercises and many more!
Single muscle group movements don’t give you much bang for your buck. You don’t burn very many calories doing them AND you can’t spot reduce problem areas. So while you may be making your bicep stronger, you aren’t specifically removing flab from over the bicep.
Your time would be much better spent doing compound movements because they work the biggest muscles groups in your body, which will help you build strength, burn fat, acquire optimal body function and improve your health.
Lifting weight while using multiple muscle groups elicits a much higher level of positive hormones than training just one muscle group at a time. These hormones include testosterone, insulin-like growth factor 1, and growth hormone. These hormones are what will help you build lean muscles, burn fat, and improve your health.
So not only are you building lean muscles, but you are also more efficiently working your entire body to burn more calories than you would if you did an isolated muscle group movement. You also improve your cardiovascular health and joint stability and muscle balance across your joints by performing compound exercises.
So if you really want to work your bicep, don’t do a curl. Instead perform a pull up or a row. If you want to work your tricep, bench press or do a push up or even a full dip. If you want to work your adductors and abductors, do a squat or lunge or sumo deadlift!
AND if you need a workout with lots of compound exercises, check out the Man Bicep Weekly Workout!
Do you have back pain from being inactive? Do you have knee problems from running all the time?
Lift weights and prevent injuries!!! Increasing your strength makes you less prone to injuries!
If you lift weights, you can correct the postural and muscular imbalances that can lead to injuries. Repetitive workouts, repetitive movements and/or inactivity (aka being a couch potato) can cause certain muscles to become over or underdeveloped and can cause bad posture. Hunching over a computer screen, which most of us do for most of the day, can cause certain muscles to be tight while others are over stretched. Weight training can help correct your posture and the pain you may feel in your back, neck and shoulders from hunching over!
You can also strengthen the muscles around your joints to make them more stable! Strengthening your bones, cartilage, tendons and ligaments by performing weight-bearing exercises can help sustain overall health. Some exercises will even help increase range of motion (ROM) and increase your flexibility, which will help prevent injury and will lead to a more functional life.
So all you marathon runners and long distance cyclists…start weight training! It will help your performance!
And if you are a couch potato who suffers from back pain…try some weight training! Rest isn’t the only thing you need to do to rehab an injury!
Thanks to Brian Castellucci for help with this post! 🙂
The other day Candy and I were working out on the weight room floor and Nancy (one of our gym members) said to Nick (one of our trainers) that she wanted to get “man biceps” like the man bicep sisters (me and Candy). Nick didn’t understand the joke (for an explanation of the joke click “man bicep” ). I had though overheard the comment, and I turned to Nancy and told her that she was well on her way to developing man biceps. She seemed pleased with the comment.
She then complained to Nick that she hated doing push ups (the exercise he was just then telling her to do). I then jokingly said that the push ups would help develop her man biceps and she said, “Yes but I don’t want to develop man pecs!”
It was a funny comment but it also took me back. How could she love the idea of “man” biceps and not the idea of “man” pecs!?! Had we just made lifting weights for your biceps acceptable?
It shocked me how deeply rooted women’s fear of weight lifting is. Even a woman who seems to support our weight lifting is afraid to lift heavy weights herself. It is exactly what the poll from an earlier post said – “it’s not for me but there’s nothing wrong with it.” That honestly seems to be the response I’m getting from most women.
Women’s logic works like this when it comes to weights:
Women don’t want to look manly. Men lift weights to get bigger and more manly. Hence, we see weight lifting as the way to get more “manly.” Of course we don’t consider the fact that weight lifting is only a portion of the equation and that what actually makes men pack on the manly muscle is TESTOSTERONE.
I mean hey I know heavy lifting isn’t for everyone. But try it before you knock it! You never know…you may end up loving the “man” pecs you develop! I know I do!
I squatted 200lbs! A new personal best! Yep I squatted 200lbs and my legs are still stick thin. I wish lifting heavy weights meant I could get manly legs – maybe then I would actually have a butt!
I think this qualifies me to say, “If you lift heavy weights, you won’t get big!!!” Oh and muscle takes up less space than fat…so maybe if you lift some weights you will lose some fat and inches off of your waistline!
Anyway, just had to brag. I know there are lots of women who can lift more but this 5′ 4″, 120lbs woman is pretty proud of her accomplishment!
I enjoy working out – most of the time. There are definitely days that I wish I didn’t have to see the inside of a gym, but in general I enjoy working out.
On those days that I just don’t want to workout, I remind myself of how good I’ll feel when I’m done. I remind myself that I not only workout because I love working out in and of itself BUT also because working out helps keeps me healthy so I can live life to the fullest!
Working out keeps you in shape so you can live life without injury. So you can play with your kids; so you can go skiing; so you can shovel snow; so you can move boxes and furniture (not fun but sometimes necessary).
On Saturday, when Ryan and I moved to a new apartment (in the same building but two floors lower), I realized just how lucky we were that both of us were in shape. Moving futons, mattresses, bureaus and huge tv stands isn’t easy – actually I’d say its impossible if you don’t lift heavy things on a regular basis.
A friend of mine actually echoed this thought. He offered to help us move. I turned down his offer because we were so disorganized (we didn’t pack anything up since we were only moving down two floors…really, really stupid…). When I said ‘no thanks’ he gave me a look like ‘really?’. Then he said, “Oh…well Ryan has you and you are probably as strong as he is! If it was just Nicky and me, I would have to move everything!”
Nicky almost never works out and when someone is skinny, you brush off the fact that he/she never works out because he/she maintains a healthy weight. But there are times, like when you move, that you realize just how important working out is! I mean moving is a part of life.
Yes, you can hire movers for big moves, but I’m not even talking about big moves (and that can be way more expensive than moving yourself!). Think about how many times you run into an instant where you have to move a heavy box – like if a big package is dropped off on your doorstep by the mailperson and you have to move it inside.
I actually ran into this problem when the Bowflex dumbbells I ordered for Ryan were dropped off. I had to open the box and move the dumbbells separately up the three flights of stairs. That situation definitely made me wish I was stronger!
The idea that I couldn’t do an activity that occurs in everyday life is enough to motivate me to keep working out. Is it enough to motivate you?
Why do all three of these things tend to be lumped together as fitness activities that women don’t want to do?
Almost every man I see at the gym does at least two of these in any given workout, but rarely do I see women ever even doing one of them! AND on the rare occasion a woman is doing weights or pull ups or push ups, it is always MODIFIED!!! Why are women so afraid to grab double-digit weights? Why won’t they attempt push ups from their toes. Why won’t most women even go near an assisted pull up machine?
It honestly baffles me that women won’t do weights, won’t do push ups, won’t do pull ups. Those are seriously three of the best things you could ever do! Below I list a few reasons why each is good.
- Are a compound movement using almost all of the muscles of your body. They work your chest, shoulders, triceps, back and abs.
- AND There is NO WAY you will get bulky doing push ups
- Are a compound movement using almost all of the muscles of your body. They work your biceps, triceps and shoulders. They also work almost all the muscles in your back and your core!
- AND There is NO WAY you will get bulky doing pull ups
Pull ups and push ups compliment each other well. If you do a compound set of push ups and pull ups you will destroy your upper body and get the lean, toned look most women want! If you aren’t doing these two exercises you are missing out on two of the best ways to get the bikini body you want! Next time you are in the gym, try a push up from your toes. If you do, you will work your abs more!!! Next time you in the gym, try a pull up. You’ll be able to feel just how hard your core is working. Do these two exercises and an extra ab workout each week will be a thing of the past!!!
It should come as no surprise that I think weights are probably the most wonderful weight loss and fitness tool there is out there. I mean simply put, more muscle equals higher metabolic rate equals you can eat more food and I love food! And a higher metabolic rate is also very helpful if you are trying to lose weight!
Most women turn to cardio to lose weight but weight training is just as important if not more so in being able to get the weight off and KEEP it off.
Women turn to cardio because they are afraid of bulking up. But what makes women look “bulky” is actually having a high percentage of body fat . If you have a high percentage of body fat, your muscles will actually look BIGGER! Fat takes up a lot of space in the muscle making it look bigger. When you lose body fat that intramuscular fat will begin to vanish. So even if you add muscle mass — which is very difficult for women to accomplish — your overall muscle size is probably going to be smaller because the weight lifting will help you lose the fat you have stored in your muscles.
Women are much more likely to “tone up” from the process of strength training than bulk up. Research has shown that women can add 30% (or more!) lean muscle mass to their bodies and end up looking much thinner, feeling much stronger and appearing much firmer than they were before. So you could add 30% more lean muscle to your body and look even more beautiful and feminine than before! So why aren’t you lifting weights?Next time you are in the gym, steal the squat rack from the men, load on the weight to that 45lb barbell and bust out 10 deep squats. Just think about the inches you are losing!