PART 1: WHY WOMEN CAN AND SHOULD TRAIN HEAVY
It is a common misconception among women that they will get bulky if they lift heavy. Women lack the amount of testosterone necessary to get really big. There are several advantages to performing heavy multi-joint lifts. In this article I will explain multi joint lifts, why they are necessary and what is considered a heavy lift.
First, a multi-joint lift is any exercise that requires two or more joints to move in executing the movement. A few examples would be the squat, deadlift, lunge, chin-up, or press. Ladies, if you like to use your time wisely, and get as much as you can out of your workout, then consider using these lifts. You will end up burning more energy than with single joint movements. As a result, you will make a greater number of muscles more insulin sensitive. Why would you want your muscles to be more insulin sensitive? Well, that means you are getting the energy your body is producing into the muscle instead of into your fat stores. Once the energy is in the muscle it will burn unwanted fat. Most women tend to lose fat in the upper body first. By training the legs you will lean them out and give yourself a positive hormonal and metabolic response.
The second advantage to using multi-joint lifts is that the strength gained will translate to movements used in daily life. You will be able to lift your young children or grandchildren, assist an aging parent or friend, rearrange your furniture without waiting for help, load your car for a road trip, and carry out your own groceries. In essence you will remain independent longer. Using these types of lifts can also trigger bone building. As we all know, bone density is an important factor as we age.
Women are more inclined to have strength imbalances in the quad and hamstrings. Training the posterior chain, glutes, hamstrings, calves, and upper and lower back will help correct this issue. This is important to help avoid poor movement patterns and possible chronic pain.
So, what does lifting heavy look like and who can do it? Well, it will be different for each person but anyone can lift heavy. First, start by finding your max weight for 1 rep. Then, you take 65-85% of that weight for your working set. I recommend asking your trainer first before getting started. By lifting weight your body is not accustom to you will get much faster
results by creating a fat burning hormonal response. So ladies use your time wisely and use heavy multi-joint lifts.
Read Part II of Why Women Can and Should Lift Heavy to learn about interval training, the proper use of barbells and tempo.