How to start weight training for women
Weight training can bring with it many benefits, including building leaner, stronger muscles, strengthening your bones and joints, as well as helping to keep your metabolism in a healthy state — which also allows you to burn more calories. It is also important to note that weight training can benefit you regardless of your age, as it can help fight the loss of muscle mass and reduced mobility that occurs as we age.
What equipment is needed to start weight training?
When you start your journey of weight training you would not necessarily require a wide selection of weights to tone your body or build lean muscle mass. Many strength exercises, such as push-ups or lunges, require only your body weight for resistance.
How to get started
· Start with a warmup. By starting with some cardio activity, you will increase the blood flow to your muscles and prepare them for the workout to come.
· Begin your workout with lighter weights. The best place to start is with a weight that would allow you to complete 10 to 15 reps with the proper form. Start with 1 or 2 sets and slowly progress to 3 sets or more. This would also help to reduce your risk of injury.
· Gradually increase your weight. Once you find that you can comfortably complete your reps and sets at a given weight, increase the weight slightly – by 5 or 10 percent. Make sure this is the right weight for you, by ensuring that you can just complete the requisite reps with the correct form before you do a full workout. If you cannot complete the requisite reps with the correct form, then lighten the weight slightly.
· Remember to rest in between sets. By resting for at least one minute between sets you will help prevent your muscles from becoming fatigued.
· Limit your workout. Aim to complete your workout within an hour. Due to muscle fatigue, longer sessions may not bring the better results you might expect, and by pushing yourself too hard for too long you increase your risk of burnout.
· Stretch after your workout. By stretching you will boost your flexibility, ease muscle tension, and reduce your risk of injury.
· Don’t forget your rest day. By including a rest day, you will give your muscles the time needed to recover as well as replenish your energy stores before your next workout.
Exercises for Beginners
The best resistance training programs work all major muscle groups in your body, so this is recommended even if you are particularly interested in building specific regions of your body, such as your biceps, or toning your legs, for example. Remember that overworking one muscle group increases your risk of injury, so it is best to keep it balanced.
For a solid, all-over workout, we suggest that you start with the following exercises, as these will work most of the large muscle groups in your body.
o Dumbbell Single Arm Row
o Back and Upper Arm
o Dumbbell Shoulder Press
o Dumbbell Chest Press
o Bicep Curls
o Biceps (front of arm)
o Triceps Extensions
o Triceps (back of arm)
o Resistance Band Pull Apart
o Back, shoulders, arms
o Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes, Calves
o Quads, hamstrings, calves
o Calf Raises
o Calve (back of the lower leg)
o Core, entire body
Always keep safety in mind when you start a new training routine. Resist the urge to push yourself too quickly and listen to your body. Important safety tips to remember when you are weight training include:
- Wear the appropriate clothing.
- Pay attention to your form and perform each exercise slowly.
- Don’t be shy to ask someone to spot you with heavier lifts – especially if you are lifting the weight above your head.
- Always ensure that you stay hydrated.
- Do not hold your breath while you are working out weights – inhale before you lift and exhale while you lift.
- Always consult a doctor before you embark on a new exercise regime, especially if you have a health condition, as they may have recommendations for exercise modifications that can help keep you safe.
Do women build muscle at the same rate as men?
When looking at weight-training recommendations, men and women are not all that different. Admittedly, men often experience greater muscle mass gains, but in essence, both men and women should make sure that they work out all the upper and lower-body muscle groups every week to reach their goals, whether this is to build muscle or tone.
Men often experience greater and faster muscle gains because testosterone plays such a big role in muscle development. Whilst both men and women have testosterone in their bodies, men have more of this hormone. Furthermore, muscle growth is also affected by your body composition and your body size.
Remember that diet also plays a big role in any exercise regime. Make sure that you follow a healthy diet that has a good dose of protein. Protein will fuel your workouts and help build muscle - animal sources would have the most protein, but vegetable sources can also be used to gain the required results.
Finally, if you are new to lifting weights, you should consider getting started with the help of a certified personal trainer. A personal trainer is able to guide you with insight around proper form as well as assist with a training program that is specifically tailored to your needs and goals. At Body Action Gym, our wellness coaches will also be on hand to help guide you in the right direction.