When it comes to weight training, there’s a lot of misinformation floating in the fitness atmosphere. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, there was even a pervasive myth that weight training could damage women’s reproductive systems; now of course we now know that exercising regularly before conceiving can help with stamina and mood.
During my childhood, I was told that weight training would stunt my growth and damage my bones. Needless to say, this is all hogwash. Weight training, done correctly, is not only healthy for you, but it can also improve muscle strength and help you maintain a healthy weight! When people are looking to lose weight, they something only do cardio-based exercise, and neglect the weights—big mistake. Why?
While steady-state cardio might burn more calories during exercise, resistance training (like weight training) dwarfs that number due to its boosting effect on the metabolism immediately following a training session. Known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), resistance and weight training make your body use oxygen to refill glycogen stores and rebuild muscle fibers.
Other advantages of resistance exercise include hormonal benefits, neurotransmitter benefits, postural benefits, and increased functionality (and a lower incidence of common injuries) through daily activities.
I’m also here to squash the fear that you’ll “bulk up too quickly.” As long you’re not ingesting a huge surplus of calories, your body doesn’t have the extra building materials it needs to pack on the mass. If you’re training your total body, and not overdoing it on any specific body part, it’s also extraordinarily difficult to grow quickly in size. Ladies, that means you too. Many of the Victoria’s Secret models and leading ladies in Hollywood that I’ve worked with over the years have gone through intense but brief workouts that include various kind of resistance (including heavy weights at times). Why didn’t they get huge? Women don’t naturally have the testosterone needed to grow bigger muscles like men.
Now that you see the benefits, and myths have been dispelled, it’s time to get lifting. A simple workout program I often recommend involves picking two exercises a day that focus on different body parts and supersetting them, performing them back to back without rest. This workout can be anywhere from 10-15 minutes in length, but should never last longer (no resting on the bench or scrolling through your social feed during breaks). Try four sets of 15 reps for each movement below, allowing for no rest between movements. You’ll be challenged, but choose a weight that still allows you to maintain proper form the entire time.
Dumbbell Reverse Lunge 4 sets of 15 reps
Dumbbell Shoulder Press 4 sets of 15 reps
Single-Arm Dumbbell Row 4 sets of 15 reps
Dumbbell Stiff-Legged Deadlifts 4 sets of 15 reps
Hip Thrust 4 sets of 15 reps
Dumbbell Triceps Extension 4 sets of 15 reps
Cable Lateral Pulldowns 4 sets of 15 reps
Seated Adductor Machine 4 sets of 15 reps