Female Training Fault #2: Going Too Light For Too Many Reps
So, you’ve left the elliptical behind and graduated to the weight room, per Female Training Fault #1. You’re now on the right track toward your ideal body composition. However, another flaw I see in the gym is women lifting too light.
We’ve all seen it – that girl in the corner lifting two-pound weights for 50 million reps (slight exaggeration there, but probably not too far off). If you’re one of these girls, you have to learn to lift heavy. Primarily using those two- to five-pound dumbbells isn’t going to do you much good in the long run. Yeah, they might work at first, but most women are stronger than they think. Even women just starting out lifting will need more than 2 1/2-pound dumbbells for a shoulder press!
It’s imperative to know what a proper program with progressive overload looks like. This means there’s a gradual increase in volume, intensity, and/or frequency in the exercises performed. Sure, some days will have higher rep ranges and will require you to use lighter dumbbells, but the key is to make sure you’re hitting failure, or close to it, within the prescribed rep range.
Failure means doing reps of a given exercise to the point of temporary muscle fatigue that no longer lets you to complete any more reps. You should feel an intense burning sensation, which is lactic acid (a metabolic byproduct that produces muscle fatigue) building up in your muscles. Achieving this is what’s going to get you results, not lifting super light dumbbells for 50 reps and not feeling anything.
Let’s say your rep range for the week is 10-12 reps. You better pick the heaviest weight you can lift for that 10-12-rep range. If you’re able to do 15-20 reps (or more) with good form before reaching failure, the weight is TOO LIGHT for a set of 10-12, plain and simple.
Lifting heavy with more intensity is going to increase your metabolism, which helps you lose body fat faster. In other words, you’ll burn more calories after your workout just sitting around at home by applying these training tools. Lifting heavy also allows your body to lay down more actin and myosin (dense muscle fibers), which results in that firm, hard look that most women strive to get, yet always fail to if they stick to their cardio machines and two-pound dumbbells.
When you only lift light weights for high reps, you’re only training your muscular endurance. But the truth is, you need to train for hypertrophy, strength, power, and endurance for optimal results. Think of it as training like an athlete.
So ladies, put down those two- and five-pounders, get off the BOSU balls, and go pick up some heavier weights. You’ll thank yourself for it when you see a stronger, leaner body in the mirror. 😊