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Will You Bulk up from Weight Training?

I’ve heard it over and over again from women: “I don’t want to lift heavy weights because I’m going to get bulky.”  The fact is, that unless a woman does professional weight training and takes enhancements, such as steroids or testosterone, she will not get bulky.  Women don’t produce enough testosterone to gain huge amounts of muscle mass.  The women that you see who are very bulky (professional body builders) use anabolic steroids and other drugs to achieve that level of muscularity.   Women, however, who do weight training get firm, lose body fat, and effectively decrease cellulite.

So, if you couldn’t tell, I’m a huge advocate for weight training.  Different weight training programs often achieve different goals. Specifically, there are three types of sets that are typically done, each resulting in three different types of results:

  • Low weight / high number of repetitions (12 – 15): Best a toning muscle to give them shape, but not necessarily strength or dimension.
  • Moderate weight / moderate number of repetitions (10 – 12): Best at building strength, without necessarily building muscle size.
  • Heavy weight / low number of repetitions (8 – 10): Best at building muscle (not bulk!) and burning fat.

Each of these types of exercises are important to a weight training program.  Why?  Because when you weight train, it is best to keep your muscles on their toes.  What I mean by this is that you should not do any exercise for too long (more than two weeks).  Otherwise, your muscles become used to the move and/or exercise, and adapts to it.  As a result, your workout doesn’t challenge the muscles enough to see real results.  To be sure that your weight training program is really doing its job (after all, you sure are!) it is best to incorporate each type of set into your routine to continually see results.  Further, this strategy will ensure you lose the most fat, and will look as lean as you want.

Here’s how:

  1. 2 Week Cycles: For the first two weeks, do two to three days of weight training that focuses on using low amount of weight and high repetitions, where the 15th or last repetition is very difficult.  During the next two weeks, do mid-weight and 10 – 12 repetitions.  And then for the last 2 weeks, use heavy weight.  Continually repeat this process.
  2. Pyramid Training: This type of program tries to achieve all three goals: Build muscle, build strength and tone in one workout. Some believe that this type of training system can achieve greater results more quickly.  Over the course of three sets of the exercise, do your first at the lightest weight – highest reps, the second at the middle weight – middle reps, and the last set at the heaviest weight – least reps, lifting until failure.

Do you weight train?  Have you incorporated all three types of sets into your routine?  How do you like the results?

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