06/04/2013 08:33 am ET Updated Aug 04, 2013

Heavy Lifting for Women

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Every day, women tell me they are afraid to lift weights because they do not want to get bulky and "look like a man." Instead, these women end up becoming cardio queens and losing a ton of weight and eventually turning into the dreaded... skinny fat. At first, many women will be happy that they have lost all the excess weight, but slowly begin to realize that they are not toned, just thin. Hate to break it to you ladies, but training on the cardio machines will not give you sculpted muscles all over your body! The only way to get those toned arms and tight thighs is to do a little heavy lifting! Now I'm not saying to curl 30-pound dumbbells, but I am telling you to get off the elliptical and throw around some weight every once in a while.

Newsflash! The only way women get "bulky" and "manly-looking" is if they are using artificial enhancements such as steroids or growth hormones. As women, our bodies do not normally make enough testosterone to build and sustain "manly" muscle mass without the assistance of drugs.

So have no fear my dear, lift to your heart's content and you will begin to sculpt the body of your dreams. Not only will you begin to sculpt your arms, but you will begin to feel empowered and strong!

Depending on your goals, lifting two- or five-pound dumbbells may be a good place to start if you are doing high-repetition resistance training to build endurance of the muscle. For strength training, pick a heavier weight since you will perform no more than eight repetitions during each set. If you complete one set of eight repetitions and it felt like breeze, walk back over to the weight rack and pick up heavier dumbbells and start the set over. You want to be challenged rather than just going through the motions during any exercise routine.

I personally alternate in between high repetitions with low weight to days with low repetitions and heavy weights. This allows me to build up muscular endurance and strength, which keeps my muscles guessing. Try incorporating the total-body strength training workout listed below into your workout routine twice a week. Choose a weight that you feel comfortable with and allows you to complete all repetitions with proper form. Be sure to properly warm up before training to prevent possible injury.

Total Body Strength Training Workout

Complete three sets of 6-8 repetitions per move.
Rest 45 seconds between sets

  • Weighted Walking Lunges (6-8 reps per leg)
  • Standing Bicep Curls (6-8 reps per arm)
  • Leg Press
  • Over Head Press
  • Bent Over Barbell Row
  • Dead Lift

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