You all know my love and adoration for resistance training. I mean I love to get a good cardiovascular sweat on, it's true. However, I love feeling strong, capable, and challenged like I do with resistance training.
The questions I get asked the most dealing with resistance training and lifting weights are...
If I am a female lifting weights will I bulk up?
I've answered this a bunch in different posts, but the plain and simple of it...NO you will not. It's phsyiologically impossible for you to do so. Lifting weights WILL increase your lean muscle mass. It WILL help you to lose fat and lose inches making you smaller. It WILL make you stronger. It WILL make you look toned, like a rock star.
Should I stay away from heavy weights?
NO. Don't be afraid to lift heavy weights. If you are wondering what the correct weight for you to be using is, you should be able to do three sets of 8-12 reps, feeling maxed out (like you couldn't do one more rep) by #12. If you want to see improvement and change in your body, you have to push your body to improve and change. Doing 6,000 bicep curls with five pounds weights will give you some great muscle endurance, but but muscle endurance isn't what is going to tone you. In order to increase your lean muscle mass you need to work the muscles to their max capacity. Break down the muscle fibers by using heavy resistance and you will increase the strength and size of the muscle fibers. No. You still won't bulk up.
I read an article about Hallie Berry a few years back, and I wish I could find it. In training for her role in the movie Catwoman her trainer had her eventually pressing around 1,000 pounds on the leg press. That is 11 45 lb plates on each side!
Should I use free weights or machines?
This is a common question that I get, and my answer would be it depends on your level of knowledge with free weights. If you are a beginner and you don't have proper form you can be putting yourself at risk for injuries, which I wouldn't recommend. ;) That being said...
These are the only machines I use.
1. Assisted Pull Up Machine
2. Lat pull down Machine
3. Cable Towers (Chest press/flies, Lat pull downs, triceps pull downs, etc.)
4. Smith Machine (For squats/Lunges with heavier weights)
5. The Leg Press
I am 100 percent a free weights girl, and I will tell you why.
- I am all about multitasking with the workouts. If you can do two or three muscle groups with one exercise you save time and you will be burning more calories.
Step up push ups
Row with a lunge
or upright row to a dead lift
Most machines isolate one muscle. So you are at the gym for longer period of time. Let's get in and get out...or at least maximize the time you have there if you're going to be setting up camp there.
- I LOVE throwing core work in with my weights. Balance work is awwwwesome. :)
Single leg squats
Balancing on one foot while doing bicep curls/shoulder press/upright row
Phsyio Ball Balancing (I LOVE this. It's a sweet challenge if you're looking for something new to try!)
I also do a LOT with body weight resistance and plyometrics. As you know I like to combine it all together and get a BOMB circuit workout in. If you haven't tried a circuit workout yet, do it. I promise it will make you sweat!!
Moral of the story is...I think machines can be great and they serve a purpose, BUT I love free weights. I think they force you to work harder. Just be sure you're using proper form!! No injuries please :)
Do you like free weights or machines better? Would you rather get in a good resistance training workout or would you rather get your sweat on with some cardiovascular exercise? I love both for different reasons, but I definitely love to lift!!