If you google “will lifting weights make me bulky?” you will get 91,000 results and all 91,000 results will have the same response, an overwhelming NOT A CHANCE! What you will get from lifting weights is stronger bones, leaner muscles, and a boost in your self-esteem. Nothing will make you feel stronger, leaner, or more powerful.
Unfortunately, most women in the gym are afraid to “lift hard." They continue to waste valuable gym time pushing puny, brightly colored dumbbells around. The truth is you can double your weights and half your reps for the same results. That’s right, the same results. Some may even argue for better results.
The most obvious way to do this is to literally add more weight and do less reps! Although you may not believe it, you are strong enough to lift heavier weights and because you don’t have to lift them as many times, you will be shocked that it is easier than you thought. Danielle Girdano, a Certified Master Personal Trainer and founder of d'fine your health recommends that instead of doing a set count of 15, 12, and 10, decrease your reps to 12, 10 and 8. She explains that “by doing this you can control the sugar build in the tissue and the anaerobic threshold of resistance output of the muscle. The muscle needs 35-50 seconds to rebuild the sugar within the tissue, so limiting the rest time to 20-30 seconds enhances and makes more fibers and motor units to fire, which increases the amount of weight the muscle group can contract under normal rest time.” Girdano recommends doing 4-6 sets and then 20-30 minutes of dedicated cardio like treadmill or elliptical done at 65-70% effort ability. This type of workout takes more time to complete, but is most common.
For example: Hammer Curl 15 lbs - 12 reps Rest 20-30 seconds Reverse Grip Curl 20 lbs - 12 reps Rest 20-30 seconds Hammer Curl 17.5 lbs - 10 reps Rest 20-30 seconds Reverse Grip Curl 25 lbs - 10 reps Rest 20-30 seconds Hammer Curl 20 lbs - 8 reps Rest 30 seconds Reverse Grip Curl 30 lbs - 8 reps Rest 30 seconds
Another way to double your weights and half your reps is by Super Setting. Personal trainer Danielle Girdano explains that supersets are when you complete complementary exercises in pairs and rest only after both are completed. For example, you could do bicep hammer curls and reverse grip full curls. She warns that when super setting it is especially important to pay attention to recovery time and nutrition. “Recovery and nutrition are especially important when super setting because you are forcing the muscle into a larger number of "micro tears". Micro tears are how the body builds new lean muscle mass so taking protein within 20 minutes (liquid is the best) and having a full 48-72 hours of rest allows the tissue to repair itself correctly. When a person works this group before it is ready it leads to a build up in scar tissue which can lead to inflexibility, inflammation and loss of range of motion.” Supplements can also help repair tissue quickly and effectively. Danielle recommends ProArgi-9+.
Example of a Super Set: Hammer Curl 15 lbs - 8 reps (starting weights vary for individuals) Reverse Grip Curl 20 lbs - 8 reps Rest 30 - 45 seconds Hammer Curl 17.5 lbs - 6 reps Reverse Grip Curl 25 lbs - 6 reps Rest 30 - 40 seconds Hammer Curl 20 lbs - 4 reps Reverse Grip Curl 30 lbs - 4 reps Rest 30 seconds Cardio Break: 2 minutes running on treadmill at 80% effort ability Then repeat with new set. This would be done for 3-5 sets depending on goals and workout time.
Although you will probably be more sore than you are used to, the burn will feel good, especially when you start to see the results: A leaner body in less time.
Still not convinced weight training is the way to go? Check out Don't Be a Girl, Be a WOMAN and Weight Train!