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Strength Training Tips For Women: Part Two

I am always looking for weight-lifting tips for women. I was really excited to see strength-training tips for women in US News and World Report's interview with Alwyn Cosgrove, one of the authors of The New Rules of Lifting For Women ($17.13). Here are highlights:

  • Don't waste your time doing exercises that only work your smaller muscles. Machines that isolate the calf, biceps, and triceps muscles aren't doing much good. Doing exercises like presses, rows, and pulldowns lets those little muscles work the way they're supposed to: in concert with the bigger ones.
  • Toss the standard back-on-the-floor crunches. Straining against the hard ground isn't doing your spine any favors, and you aren't working the full range of your abdominal muscles. Instead, Cosgrove recommends other ab exercises, including crunches on an inflatable ball (which are cushier on your back and let you reach the full range of motion) and a deceptively innocent-sounding move called a plank, where you hold your body straight in a modified push-up position, propping yourself on toes and forearms.
  • One-size "proper form" does not always fit all. You don't want to be so caught up with the so-called rules of an exercise ("Don't lock your elbows!" "Don't let your knee move past your toes!") that you are petrified to even start. Everyone's body is different. So if your basic technique is correct, and you aren't experiencing pain during or after a workout, you're probably OK, he says.
  • Don't worry — you aren't going to get huge. It's not easy even for men to get so they look like those folks on the cover of Muscle & Fitness magazine. For women, because of our lower levels of testosterone, it's definitely not going to happen, unless you have some off-the-charts genetic propensity to pile on muscle and are spending your entire day working out.

Be sure to check out the first four strength-training tips if you missed them earlier this week.


Join The Conversation
skilledatlife4 skilledatlife4 9 years
I love this series of tips. They're super helpful!
1cigarrette 1cigarrette 9 years
so what about us??? what about the ladies that DO tend to bulk up as soon as they hit the 2-lb-"weights"? It's not that I'd prefer that my arms be pure fat but HONESTLY... this looks quite horrible on dresses and delicate wear... fit... any tips?!
Rexo Rexo 9 years
If one notices they get muscles from pumping heavier weights, can the effects ever be reversed?
ElectroPopTart ElectroPopTart 9 years
Surprise surprise, for SOME reason, I get BIG fast. It's annoying.
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
i like the idea about the abs thing - i'm just afraid that i'm going to look like a dork at the gym using one of the balls since i don't know how to do it right and i don't want to stare at someone else - hoping that they are doing it right and that i can learn from them.
lattegoodness lattegoodness 9 years
No no.. I don't think most women will. I think I'm more the exception to the rule. I would suggest just don't over do it, that's all. It's good in moderation. :)
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
So you can bulk up? I don't want that! :(
lattegoodness lattegoodness 9 years
lol ashcwebb, same thing happened to me!! When I was in college my arms got so big that certain shirts were tight around my bicep area. My bff was like, "Ok, you need to stop NOW!" And I did... but I stopped going to the gym completely. :( I have since started back up, but I do very little arm training because I know I bulk up quick. Maybe I've got too much testosterone in me or something, I don't know. :(
yasume yasume 9 years
Great to see information out here for women. I lift weights, do cardio and Yoga. I lift heavy weights with lower reps. That whole concept of light weights and high reps is not effective to me. I haven't bulked up at all. In fact, I lost weight because when lifting weights you burn even more calories. I am very fit, toned and feminine. Women should absolutely lift weights. We will not get bulky (when are we finally going to squash this myth) but your clothes look fabulous on you because the body is shaped. I get plenty of compliments.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
My arms are getting pretty i have slowed down on the weights a little. It was bad enough for my boyfriend to say something soooo I decided to lay low on them a bit.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Phew! I was always nervous about going up on my weights. I didn't want to get too bulky!
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