Women Weightlifting


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Weightlifting for Women

By Fig

Well after many e-mails I have came to the conclusion I need to write something on weightlifting for women. First I will say that lifting free weights will not make you look like a man, lifting weights will not make you less flexible, lifting weights will not make you look fat, and lifting weights WILL help you with weight loss. Now I got that out of the way we can proceed. In my opinion I find that lifting free weights help to keep interest to keep going. Most women's weightlifting books suck. They have ridiculous routines that bore even the most dedicated person. Look there is only so much you can do with a pair of dumb bells and a stair stepper. I have read many of those books my wife buys and I can't see how anyone would do a few hundred reps with 5 pound dumb bells. There is no way to really track progress. Machines to me are sort of a medieval slow torture rack. Those things bore me to death. Get away from the mind numbing machines and learn how to use the free weights. And I am not talking about doing a few dumbbell exercises.

Results is what it is about. I am not making any money writing this. So therefore, I have nothing to gain. I have no further products to sell you. So as you can tell, I am in it for you. I care. The others out there just want your money and after the deal is closed they don't care. Most of them have the same crap. A simple workout plan, recipes, and a feel good about yourself section. Here is the difference between them and me. I will teach you to make your own personalized program. I want you to know what you are doing and why. I write in very simple terms as well. So you can understand it just like I do. After reading this you might know more than most guys in the gym.

Why weightlifting in the first place? Well, the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn while sitting and doing nothing. More muscle will not make you look big or fat. It will make you look more defined and attractive. You will never look like a man. Also, just going to the gym will allow you to burn calories just by working out.

Back in the old days weight lifters used to work the whole body out in one day up to 3 to 5 times a week. That means they would workout their legs and upper body all in an hour or two. After a few years, someone figured out that they could recover better by splitting the body up into a few separate workouts. So, instead of doing the whole body they split the body up into 6 parts. Legs, chest, back, shoulders, abdominals, and arms. That allows them to keep from over training. Over training is when you workout a muscle very hard and do not give it time to recover from the last workout. Sort of like burning a candle from both ends. Symptoms of over training are as follows: Sore muscles that last for a week, trouble sleeping, and strength loss. Normal pain or a burn from working out should last about 2-3 days. If you stretch before and after your workout you can counter some of the effects of weight training.

So, now you have 4 body parts. They break down a little further into other categories.

Legs=

A. Quads (muscle in front of the legs)

B. Hamstrings (muscle in the back of the legs)

C. Glutes (butt)

D. Calves

Chest=

A. Upper chest

B. Lower chest

Back=

A. Lats (the muscle that covers your back and is next to your arm pits)

B. Traps (not really a back muscle. These are the muscles that are on either side of your neck)

Abdominals

A. Lower abs

B. Upper abs

C. Serratus (up in the rib cage by the arm pits)

D. Obliques (love handle area)

Shoulders

A. well, just shoulders, I am not going to get too complicated on them.

Arms

Forearms

Biceps ( the muscle on the front of the arm)

Triceps (the muscle on the back of the arm)

Now you don't do an exercise for each different muscle. There are concentration and compound exercises. A concentration exercise is one that you use to work the muscle directly. A compound exercise is on e that you use that uses a few different muscles in one exercise. For example a concentration exercise is one that you use to lets say "bend your arm". There you are only using your biceps muscle. An example of a compound exercise is like sitting down on a chair and getting back up. Here you are squatting. To squat you got to use your calves for support of your feet, hamstrings to lower yourself, and quads to get back up. Also there are all sorts of little muscles helping you keep control at the same time.

Here is a list of exercises that effect the following muscle groups: (I am not going to list every exercise. I will just list the ones you will more likely use.)

Legs=

A. Quads (muscle in front of the legs)

1. Squats

2. Leg extensions

3. Leg press

B. Hamstrings (muscle in the back of the legs)

1. Leg curls

C. Glutes (butt)

1. Squats

2. Leg press

D. Calves

1. Calve raises

Chest=

A. Upper chest

1. Flat bench

2. Incline bench

B. Lower chest

1. Flat bench

2. Decline bench

Back=

A. Lats (the muscle that covers your back and is next to your arm pits)

1. Pull ups

2. Lat pull downs

B. Traps (not really a back muscle. These are the muscles that are on either side of your neck)

1. Shoulder shrugs

Abdominals

A. Lower abs

1. Leg lifts

2. Leg raises

B. Upper abs

1. Crunches

2. Sit ups

C. Serratus (up in the rib cage by the arm pits)

1. Usually they get work with lat exercises or torso twists.

D. Obliques (love handle area)

1. Torso twists. Basically a sit up where you turn to one side.

Shoulders

A. Well, just shoulders, I am not going to get too complicated on them.

1. Shoulder side lateral raises.

2. Shoulder presses.

Arms

A. Forearms

1. Wrist curls

B. Biceps ( the muscle on the front of the arm)

1. Biceps curls

2. There are lots of different types of curls.

C. Triceps (the muscle on the back of the arm)

1. Triceps push downs.

2. One arm triceps extensions

3. Donkey kick backs

There now all you do is select a few exercises for each body part and press on. I recommend on working out the larger body parts first. Because you can push more weight to begin with. If you workout the supporting muscles first, it will take away from the compound movements. So, here is a sample workout. I tailored this workout for females. I added more reps to concentrate on burning more calories which in return will hopefully build more definition. One thing I want to point out is that there is no such thing as "Spot reduction". Spot reduction is basically doing sit ups or any other exercise to burn fat in one area. Even if you did sit ups for 4 hours a day, your body will take fat from everywhere. So, that is one reason why it is best to work the whole body and hopefully you will take the fat off from where you want it to come off of. Okay on with the sample workout?

Reps and sets? What do they mean? Reps or repetitions are how many times you move a weight in a set. A set is how many times you cycle through an exercise. Therefore 3 sets of 10 reps is that I would lift the bar 10 times for 3 different times with rest in between them. Talking about rest, you should take between a minute and a half in between each set. Or until you catch your breath and feel ready. Oh and breathing!!! When you lift the bar just breath normal. Or you can get a little complicated and breath out when you push or pull and breath in when you lower the weight.

This workout you can tailor to "YOUR" needs. Just select what you want and press on.

For reps do 3-5 sets each with 10-12 reps per set. The best way to do this is in a series of weight increases called a "pyramid". First select a weight you can do real easy to warm up with. Something that you could do for 50 reps with ease. A warm up is very important. It allows you to loosen up a little and get the blood flowing to the muscle. Very important. Once you do a 2-3 warm up sets (15 reps each set), then you can proceed to your pyramid. So, then add a little weight to your warm up weight (about 10-20 pounds). It should get a little harder, your reps will drop a little. Here I will demonstrate a pyramid for you:

Okay you just warmed up with 35 pounds on bench press. Your max that you estimate is about 100 pounds. You got 35 pounds for 15 and it was really easy. So you then add 10 pounds to the bar. At that point 45 pounds felt a little harder but you could get it up for 30 reps, but you are following the pyramid, so you know that you are not up to your 4th or 5th set yet. So you add another 10 pounds. Now you are up to 55 pounds. You rep out 12 and on the last rep it was really hard. That is great. Now you can see that you are very close to muscle failure on your bench. So, now you got to figure something out. How much weight to add next. Now if you add 20 pounds you might not be able to get even 10 reps. So, you choose to add another 10 pounds. Now you are up to 65 pounds. You get 10 reps out of it. You can go for more weight if you want at this point. So you say what the hell and add 5 pounds and you are now at 70 pounds. You then get 8 reps. That is good now it is time to go to your next exercise. Remember you don't have to go to failure on each set. Just the last few sets. Keep your reps between 8 and 12 reps. Pyramiding is all a personal call. Just add enough weight so you struggle to get 8 reps on your last set. It may take a few workouts before you get the feel of the weight and know your limits.

If you want you can even use the same weight for a few sets (3-5 sets). That is okay too. Just as long as you get something out of the workout. You can even try to add a little weight each week to the weight.

Just pick exercises from each "letter, a,b,c,d?"

Day 1.

Chest/Triceps:

Choose 1 compound exercise for chest:

a. Bench press or bench press machine

b. Incline press

Choose 1 concentration exercise for chest:

a. Dumbbell flyes

b. Chest fly machine

Choose 2 movements for triceps:

a. Triceps push downs

b. One arm triceps extensions with dumbbell

c. Skull crushers (**also called lying triceps extensions)

d. Close grip bench press

e. Triceps machine

Day 2:

Off

Day 3:

Legs/Shoulders

Choose 1 compound movement for legs:

a. Squat

b. Leg press

c. Leg machine with a squatting movement

Choose two concentration exercises for legs (there are only really two of them):

a. Leg curl

b. Leg extensions

Choose 1 compound exercise for shoulders:

a. Military press

b. Dumbbell press

Choose 1 concentration exercise for shoulders:

Side laterals

Front dumbbell raises

Day 4:

Off

Day 5:

Back/Biceps

Choose 1compound exercise for back:

a. Pull ups

b. Pull downs

c. Bent over rows

Choose 1 concentration exercise for back:

a. One arm dumbbell rows

b. Cable bar pull downs (grab a bar on the cable machine and straighten your arms so they are almost locked. Then lower the bar to your lower abs.)

Choose 2 movements for biceps:

a. Barbell curls

b. Dumbbell curls

c. Preacher curls

d. Machine curls

e. Cable curls

Next two days:

Off

Notice that I try to keep the muscle groups together. Like back and biceps. I am already using biceps when I do back. So, I include like muscles in the same workout to increase intensity and recovery time. On that workout, I kept the volume low. Some may say it is not enough, but this is a workout for someone to get into shape. Also it is very simple to do.

It would take too much web space to demonstrate how to do each exercise with pictures. Hopefully I will figure a way out soon. But, I have a "How to lift weights guide" on the page in the main listing. The best thing to do is to buy a weightlifting book. Arnold's Encyclopedia of bodybuilding is a good book that demonstrates the exercises. Also it is a good reference for everything else.

Now if you are planning on doing cardio, then do the weights first and then cardio after. Most of the time one is worn out after their cardio session. You can even do weights in the morning or vice versa and then cardio at night.

If you are interested in adding cardio to your workout, then you might want to alternate your days. One day at the gym and the next cardio. What types of cardio I recommend is either walking, jogging, or bike machine. Stair steppers to me are too hard on the joints. And they are not very fun to use. Like most people I use cardio equipment to burn calories. I don't need to be huffing and puffing. I don't need my knees hurting either. But, do what you like. If you choose to do cardio I suggest no more than 3 days a week at 30 minute sessions. If you hit the gym very hard and do too much cardio, you could be burning the candle at both ends.

What ever you do, do not be one of those individuals that say "I work all day and I am too tired to go to the gym." or my favorite "I just did some house work and that is my workout.". In order to make some type of gains you got to do more than what you regularly do. If you are tired then go for a walk or something or drink some coffee and hit the gym. What ever you do don't give up.

Now if the previous workout I just wrote does not fit your schedule, then you can always break the workout into different days. All you do is to split the workout up into different days. You can go to the workout part of my page for more ideas. I know you work or have kids and everything else one could think of. So make the workout fit to your schedule. Right now I a on a 3 day a week workout. My wife wants me to spend more time with her. So I had to adjust the workout. Well here are some examples:

Day 1:

Chest/Triceps

Day 2:

Off

Day 3:

Legs/Shoulders

Day 4:

Off

Day 5:

Back/Biceps

Day 6&7:

Off

Here is another example with cardio in it:

Day 1:

Chest/Triceps

30 minutes of bike, jogging, or ski machine

Day 2:

Off

Day 3:

Legs/Shoulders

30 minutes of bike, jogging, or ski machine

Day 4:

Off

Day 5:

Back/Biceps

30 minutes of bike, jogging, or ski machine

Day 6&7:

Off

If you could even do cardio on your off days. Just try to do it when you can.

Here are some more splits: "splits" means how a workout is divided into days. Now it does not have to be in the form of a 7 day week. A split can be any amount of days. Usually between 3 to 10 days on a split. So you would workout the whole body of hit each muscle once in once split. Usually the shorter the split the more days off you have.

Day 1:

Chest

Day 2:

Legs

Day 3:

Off

Day 4:

Back/Shoulders

Day 5:

Biceps/Triceps

Days 6&7:

Off

Now I know you are wondering how you figure out what exercises to do for each body part on a split. I am sure you have figured out how to arrange you workout days by now. It is sort of hard trying to cram everything into this page. I get a little confused just writing it.

I am sure you have already seen this written on this link so far. All you do is pick an exercise from each part of this list to the corresponding exercise you decide to workout that day.

CHEST:

Choose 1 compound exercise for chest:

a. Bench press or bench press machine

b. Incline press

Choose 1 concentration exercise for chest:

a. Dumbbell flyes

b. Chest fly machine

LEGS:

Choose 1 compound movement for legs:

a. Squat

b. Leg press

c. Leg machine with a squatting movement

Choose two concentration exercises for legs (there are only really two of them):

a. Leg curl

b. Leg extensions

BACK:

Choose 2 movements for triceps:

a. Triceps push downs

b. One arm triceps extensions with dumbbell

c. Skull crushers (**also called lying triceps extensions)

d. Close grip bench press

e. Triceps machine

Day 2:

Off

Day 3:

Legs/Shoulders

Choose 1 compound exercise for shoulders:

a. Military press

b. Dumbbell press

Choose 1 concentration exercise for shoulders:

Side laterals

Front dumbbell raises

Day 4:

Off

Day 5:

Back/Biceps

Choose 1compound exercise for back:

a. Pull ups

b. Pull downs

c. Bent over rows

Choose 1 concentration exercise for back:

a. One arm dumbbell rows

b. Cable bar pull downs (grab a bar on the cable machine and straighten your arms so they are almost locked. Then lower the bar to your lower abs.)

Choose 2 movements for biceps:

a. Barbell curls

b. Dumbbell curls

c. Preacher curls

d. Machine curls

e. Cable curls

Next two days:

Off

Now when you lift the weight, don't tug at it or swing it up. Also don't drop the weights. There are two movements in weight lifting: the positive movement and the negative movement. The positive phase of a lift is when you are contracting the muscle. The negative phase is when you are lowering the weight and keeping the muscle contracted enough to lower the weight under control. You do not want to drop the weight down ever. It can create muscle tears. You don't want that. Just keep the speed of your reps to where you can feel the muscle through the whole range. About a 1-2 second positive movement and a 1-2 second negative should do fine.

Generally your muscles will hurt for 1-3 days after a workout. Usually the second day after they hurt the worse. Once you lift for a few months the pain of first working out is not so bad. Make sure you stretch good. That has a lot to do with prevention of sports related injuries. Just don't stretch the muscles you are using that day. Do all of them. It only takes a few minutes and is well worth it.


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