Walk into any commercial gym and you will see endless lines of machines full of women doing cardio.
Walk a little further and you may see some women using the strength machines.
Heck some of them might even venture as far as the light dumbbells.
You may even see a few girls in the free weight room.
At our gym Heavyweights Training Center we base our training and results around lifting weights & getting stronger.
We have no traditional cardio machines and we encourage ALL of our female members to lift weights, all of our athletes lift Heavy Weights.
At Power Lifting Nationals this year in St. John’s Team HeavyWeights had the biggest team from ANY gym in Canada and the most women from one gym compete. Along with being strong a lot of these women also compete in bikini and fitness competitions.
We take our lifting seriously, but most of them never started with lifting weights, they joined for fat loss or to “tone up”, and once we showed them how to lift, everything change.
I have been saying for years that women need to change what they are doing to get results.
Here Are 3 BIG Mistakes Most Women Make In The Gym, And How To Fix Them.
#1. They Are Afraid To Lift Heavy Weights
Far too often I see women using little pink dumbbells or machines doing higher reps because they want to “tone” (I hate that word). They believe that the key to getting a more defined look is to do lower weights and higher reps to get toned.
This is not true.
If you want to tone you simply need two things.
1. You need to get leaner and drop some body fat.
2. You need to add some muscle.
The best way to do this is by lifting Heavy Weights, becoming athletic, getting stronger and by paying more attention to your nutrition.
Doing high reps with light weights is pretty much a big waste of your time.
You NEED to lift Heavy Weights.
When you lift light weights for high reps you put very little metabolic demand on your muscles.
This in turn requires you burning less calories and you don’t change your metabolism. This is critical to understand.
You need to change your resting metabolism to become a calorie burning machine.
The workout is important, but what is MORE important is the impact those workouts over time have to change your metabolism.
The more muscle you have, the stronger you are, the more demanding the workouts the more you change your resting metabolism.
It’s not just the calories you burn during the workouts, it’s the calories you burn 24/7.
Ask any female who lifts heavy weights and she is pretty much hungry all the time.
This is a good sign.
Lifting Heavy Weights changes your resting metabolism, your body becomes a calorie burning machine. The more muscle you have the more calories you burn, the stronger you get the more energy you expend during and after a workout.
This is why your goal should always be to lift Heavy Weights and get stronger, not to just exercise and burn calories.
Oh and please don’t give me the “I don’t want to get too big or bulky” excuse.
#2. They Focus On Small Muscle & Neglect The BIG Muscles
Getting back to point number #1 you want to change your resting metabolism to really change your physique. To do this you want as much lean muscle as possible on your body.
Muscle = Metabolism.
More Muscle = Improved Metabolism.
More Strength + More Muscle = JACKED Metabolism.
The more muscle you have the more calories you burn in the gym and at rest.
Women too often spend time attacking their trouble spots. I see women training their triceps so they don’t have the “flappy arms syndrome” , or doing countless sit ups to help lose their belly fat.
While it’s important to train everything it’s MORE important to train your body as a complete system. Your body is one big unit, not just a bunch of attached body parts.
The first thing you need to do is stop doing bodybuilding type exercises like tricep kickbacks & seated preacher curls and start hitting the BIG compound movements that target your whole body.
Here is how I design my programs and recommend my athletes to train.
Exercise 1. Explosive Exercises
The most demanding exercise for co-ordination, timing and focus.
A great way to start is with something like cleans, hang cleans, snatch, hang snatch, power snatch.
These exercises should be done fairly heavy, with perfect form, and NOT done to failure or high reps.
Use reps ranging from 1-5 for best results with explosive exercises.
Rest as needed, the goal is to stay explosive and fast, not to get tired or gas out. Be fresh for every set.
Exercise 2. Power Movements
Here we add in PowerLifting exercises. Squats and Deadlifts and their variations are the big two exercises for this.
Full squats, pause squats, low bar squats, high bar squats, sumo deads, conventional deads, block pull deads, deficit deadlifts etc. All these exercises are put together based on your programming goals.
Use reps ranging from 1-8 for best results with Power exercises.
Exercise 3. Big Movement Exercises
Here is where you want to add exercises like pull ups, bench presses, high pulls, push presses.
Exercises that are still pretty demanding but as demanding as the Power movements. These exercises are still full body and multi joint exercises.
Use reps ranging from 1-12 for best results with these exercises.
Exercise #4. Accessory Work & Body Part Work
I always recommend females to add more glute training. You really can’t go wrong by adding a different glute exercise every day. It will improve your overall strength and help you build a better bum. You can’t go wrong here.
Be sure to check out my Top 5 Exercises For Better Glutes if you want to improve your glutes.
With your accessory work and body part work now you can target the areas you want to improve. If shoulders are lacking hit them now, arms need work? Hit them now.
Use reps ranging from 8-15 reps for best results with these accessory exercises.
Exercise #5. Finisher Exercises
HIT Conditioning, Weighted Carries, Body Weight exercises.
This is a great way to finish your workout.
You can easily pair all these together into a kick ass workout like this,.
A1 5 Sets of 3 Reps Power Cleans
B1. 5 Sets Of 5 Reps Squats
C1. Push Press 3 Sets of 8 Reps
D1 Glute Bride 5 sets of 12 reps
D2. Weighted Carry 5 sets of 30 yards
E1. Sled Push 5 Sets of 30 yards
#3. They Do Way Too Much Cardio
Almost every single female is guilty of this one.
Commercial gyms are full of women on stair masters, elliptical, stair masters and more.
While these machines can offer some benefits the base of your training NEEDS to be lifting Heavy Weights.
Forget looking at how many calories you burned in a 60 minute treadmill session. Look at how much weight you lifted and how much stronger you are getting. This is far more important than calories burned in a session.
Another point on machines and the calories burned, most of the calories burned on those machines are numbers that are not true, another point is there is a difference between burning fat calories, not all calories you burn are fat, not even close.
Long term steady state cardio can also increase cortisol and much more.
While I think steady state has a place sometimes, you really need to make lifting weights, and lifting heavy weights to get progressively stronger as your number one focus. Hit the weights first and at the end of your workout finish it off with some type of HIT conditioning.
Get off the cardio machines and get a bar on your back and in your hands.
Stop counting the calories you burn on a machine and start counting the weights you lift in the gym.
Want To Get Toned?
Check out our “Toned In 21” Body Transformation Program.
Get more info HERE.
Rob King is a Competitive PowerLifter, Coach and Writer.