There was a time when strength training and women would never have been thought to go together. That is no longer the case, as more and more women are reaping the fantastic benefits of strength training. However, most women still do not strength train correctly (and likely many men as well). If you were to spend just a few minutes in a busy gym, you would likely find many women who are performing rep and rep with the lightest dumbbell, afraid to lift anything heavier. A popular myth is that lifting anything heavier will leave them looking like big and bulky, like a body builder or a linebacker. That is simply not true and, definitely, a myth.
The message here is to stop going straight to the smallest, pink dumbbell you can find to do sets of bicep curls. There is so much more you can do, and so much more that you should do, to gain the true effect of strength training. Squats, chin-ups and deadlifts are nothing to fear. In fact, embrace them and soon you will get the lean, fit body you want Here is a list of some of the best exercises you can do that will use a lot of muscle at the same time. These are referred to as “compound movements.” These compound movements will help you achieve a slimmer, stronger and leaner body much faster than with single, isolation exercises.
When it comes to working the upper body, exercises will fall into several different categories, including horizontal pushing, horizontal pulling, vertical pressing, and vertical pulling, varying based on the motion and muscles used.
Of course, we cannot forget about our core area. Keeping our core strong not only helps shape your abdominal muscles, but also helps keep your back strong and healthy.
No, you do not need to do all of the exercises listed above every time you work out. It is important to use the proper training splits. While some may do a total body workout, another option is to split your workouts such as upper body one day, then lower body the next day. Another option might be to do all “pull” exercises one day, then the “push” exercises another day, followed by legs and core the third day.
Finally, besides selecting the proper exercises, the intensity of strength training is also another very important factor to consider in any program. Without the right intensity, you will not achieve the benefits discussed above. You may tone up some, but not like you could and, certainly, not as fast.
Overall, the key message here is to not be afraid of a higher intensity workout incorporating heavier weights and compound movements. This is one of the best, if not the best way, to start building a lean, fit and sexy body.