How Heavy Should My Weights Be?

| Fitness

Contrary to popular belief, lifting weights will not make you "bulky." As women, we do not have enough testosterone in our bodies to bulk up. That being said, weightlifting is a great way to burn calories even after your workout is over!


Fitness and Kickboxing Trainer Kristie Glenn says that lifting weights builds muscle and helps your body to burn calories for a longer amount of time. "To create a leaner body, you can go with a light weight and do more reps," Glenn said. "For instance, using weights that are 10 pounds or less are great with exercises that require you to do cardio with weights." The lighter weights are convenient because you can do more reps with them, which means that you'll burn more calories. And the more calories burned, the more weight loss results you will see! If you're a newbie to weight training, Glenn recommends starting with a lighter weight, increasing the weights as you get stronger.

On the other hand, heavier weights have their benefits as well. You'll want to do fewer reps than you would with lighter weights, obviously because it's more difficult, but also in order to avoid injury. Weight loss is possible with heavier weights, but if you are unable to get through a workout with them, it's time to downsize.

When you want to tone a particular area like your biceps or shoulders, weights like dumbbells, barbells and medicine balls are great weight to use. If you're going for a full-body workout, however, a kettlebell is the way to go. And since you have to use your entire body to lift it, you can upgrade to a heavier weight much faster and easier!

Woman outside with light weights

For maximum weight loss results, Certified Personal Trainer and Registered Dietician Tina Marinaccio recommends that you should lift enough weight to feel challenged by six to eight reps per set, and fully fatigued by 15 reps per set. Challenging yourself is not only important to make progress, but slacking could actually hurt you; lifting weights that are too light, and consequently performing too many repetitions, can lead to overuse injuries such as tendinitis, Marinaccio says.

The bottom line: Start with light weights and move your way up as you progress. Make sure that your muscles feel challenged by eight reps and fully fatigued by 15. If they're not, move up a size or try a different exercise. If you still don't feel comfortable with weight training, adding weights to your cardio routine is a surefire and easy way to burn more calories and shed some pounds!