Strength training can be a great way to improve your physique. That said, many women still have a misconception that strength training is going to make them bulky and big, which is why the majority of women don't train properly.
With that in mind, we've compiled a list of tips that will help you get the most of your strength training and sculpt the body of your dreams.
Regardless of whether you're looking to lose some weight or make your muscles more toned, warming up is an essential part of a workout. However, many women prepare for intense training by relying on slow-paced workouts such as stretching or walking on a treadmill. What this does is it wastes precious time you could use to get closer to your fitness goals. A much more effective approach is to match the intensity of your warm-ups to your workout routine and start off fast. Make your warm-ups more dynamic with workouts that engage the entire body such as doing jumping jacks or skipping ropes. This will help get your heart rate up and ensure you get more out of a workout.
When it comes to strength training properly, the key is to implement proper exercises that will help you reach your fitness goals. The goal is to include compound movements that engage that muscle mass and build strength and endurance. You want to combine lower and upper body workouts and include exercises that will strengthen your core. Barbell squats and deadlifts along with dumbbell lunges and split squats are great for strengthening your lower body. As for the upper body workout, you want to combine horizontal and vertical push and pull exercises such as bench pressing (dumbbell, barbell, incline), push-ups, pull ups, presses (military press, dumbbell shoulder press), and rowing (barbell, dumbbell, seated cable rows).
Finally, ab wheel roll-outs and planks are great core exercises that, combined with the aforementioned exercises, will help you build a lean, fit, and sexy body in no time.
Adding intensity to your strength training workouts is essential if you want to make your exercises more effective. Because everyone's body and strength levels are different, there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to determining the proper intensity of a workout. The point is to challenge the muscles and try to do more while also avoiding pushing yourself too much. For instance, if the set consists of eight reps, the final rep should be intense and after completing the set, you should be able to do at least one or two more reps (but not more than that).
Finishing your set knowing you could've done more means you are not strength training with the right intensity. Aim to finish with a notion that you could have done two more reps, tops.
Making sure you get enough rest is just as important as making sure you're using the right exercises and training with the proper intensity. Some learn it the easy way, and some learn it the hard way e.g. by suffering an injury after pushing the body too much. Such injuries are easily preventable by simply incorporating enough rest days into your weekly schedule (weekends work best). This will give your body enough time to heal and repair the muscle, helping you create balance. Supplementing with protein is a great way to additionally support your post-workout recovery, and finding the best protein powder for women is a matter of choosing the type of protein that works best for you, whether that's whey, isolate, or bulking protein powder. Not only will supplementing with protein aid in recovery but it will also help boost your performance, foster weight loss, as well as enable muscle growth.
We already talked about splitting up your training into upper and lower body exercises. Depending on the look you're going for, you might want to limit the amount of lower body exercises unless you're aiming for thick and muscular legs. In that case, focus on squatting and deadlifting as they are great exercises for strengthening your lower body. On the other hand, if your goal is to have slim and lean legs, you should base most of your lower body exercises around high-intensity interval training or HIIT as they'll give you that athletic, lean look.
ollowing the principles of strength training is crucial for getting a great training effect and the best aesthetic results. Keep these in mind next time you hit the gym and rest assured the results will follow.