Think you’re going to bulk up if you start lifting at the gym? You won’t, we promise! In the past weightlifting was not seen as very ‘lady like’. But now, more women are learning that it is a great way to improve your body’s shape, function and give you more strength. Our Frame PT Danny Brown give us 5 reasons why YOU should start lifting those weights and 5 exercises to kick-start you pumping iron this year.
1. YOU WILL BUILD MUSCLE TONE
Want sculpted guns and glutes? (I mean, who doesn’t?) Compound movements such as squats, deadlifts and presses incorporate the most muscle groups so are great at building definition of the lower and upper body. Don’t be scared of going heavy either. Lifting heavy won’t make you bulky, as your body doesn’t contain the testosterone levels (compared to men) to do so and this would also mean gearing your nutrition to bulk up. Plus, your muscles need to be challenged to make significant gains (so maybe let’s add a few more plates on!) These exercises also engage the core, so they’re great at building rock hard abs!
2. YOU WILL BURN MORE FAT AND BOOST YOUR METABOLISM
Weight training burns more fat than low intensity long duration cardio (you what?). Pounding it out on the treadmill too much burns muscle and fat where as weight training burns fat. Also, the majority of fat we burn is at rest (our Resting Metabolic Rate).
The increased muscle tone and the body’s recovery process after lifting will increase your RMR, meaning you will keep burning fat even after you have worked out and whilst doing nothing. Just remember to combine this with some nutritious healthy meals, though!
3. IMPROVE STRENGTH AND FUNCTIONALITY
Being strong will make many day-to-day task a lot easier. Picking your kids up, lifting a heavy box from the floor or putting anything onto a shelf. Stronger muscles will aid an easier recovery period post workout and will also improve athletic performance too. Learning correct technique will improve posture and flexibility ideal for those hunched at a desk all day.
4. BOOST YOUR CONFIDENCE AND FEEL GREAT
Lifting weights is a great confidence booster. Your clothes will fit better and how can flexing your new muscles in the mirror not give your self-esteem a new kick? Also, finishing a weightlifting session knowing you have just pb’d a lift is a fantastic feeling too, Plus grunting out a deadlift is great at relieving those day to day stresses!
5. BUFF UP YOUR HIIT WORKOUT
You can incorporate weight training into your HIIT workouts. Exercises like deadlifts, thrusters, cleans and presses elevate the heart when done during a high-intensity workout which will also burn fat and boost that RMR without depleting those newly earned muscles. Our HIIT PT classes are a great way of adding this into your routine.
SO WHAT EXERCISES CAN I DO?
Squats target all the muscle in the lower part of the body and great at building strength a muscle tone around this area. Starting in a standing position take a big breath at the top to engage the core and keep the chest up.
From there lower your butt and hips so they sit parallel to the ground (imagine you’re sitting onto an invisible chair) keeping your weight into your heel. From the drive back up to standing position exhaling as you come out the squat.
Target the muscle in the upper body, shoulders arms and also engages the core. Start with Dumbbells at shoulder height keeping your glutes and abs engaged.
From there push the dumbbells straight over your head so your biceps in line with the back of your ears. From there in a controlled manner bring the back to shoulder height.
Thrusters are a whole body movement combining the first two exercise. Great at building explosive power and elevation the heart rate ( so great for HIIT). Holding the dumbbells from shoulder height squat towards the floor.
From here drive out of the squat (we are looking for a powerful quick movement here) and whilst go up press the dumbbells over head. This is done in one movement so no pausing until the dumbbells reach over head.
A lower body exercise predominately working the posterior chain (hammys, glutes, lower back). Start with your shoulders just over the bar with your chest lifted, abs tight and hinging from your hips.
Avoid rounding the lower back and from here drive through the heals activating the hamstrings then the hips and glutes then returning the bar to the floor keeping it Close to body and hinging the hips back. I like to think of this movement like a weighted dutty wind.
Yep bench press is not just for guys. Activating the muscle in chest and arms is great for building upper body strength and lean muscle around the triceps.
Start with the bar straight above your chest, arms locked out and not flexing at the wrist. From here take a big breath, and lower the bar to the chest keeping the elbow to 60 degrees. From here drive the bar straight above the chest.