If you’re like most Americans, when you hear terms like ‘heavy weight lifting,’ you may have images of veins-rippling muscle-bounds freaks who pose in magazines or bikini shows! Fortunately this is NOT what heavy weight lifting is all about.
After more than two decades of being involved in the fitness industry, I have had much experience in assisting both men and women with resistance exercise plans. During this time, I have also had many of these same people (especially women) state to me, “I don’t want to lift heavy weights and bulk up.” The women further state at times, “I am afraid of looking like a man!”
Let me alleviate this concern now by stating to women that you will NOT look like a man. Women do not need to fear this because of far less quantities of testosterone in their bodies. And for both men and woman…having more lean muscle mass is a great thing.
Heavy weight training is incredibly beneficial when done right.
Heavy weight training, which I will define in a moment, is actually incredibly beneficial if done safely and correctly. This type of training not only facilitates growth of lean muscle, a critical element to increased metabolism and fat burning, but also stimulates increased density to the bones (more calcium and more stability).
Heavy weight training, also known as high intensity-low volume training can be described generally as follows: 5-8 repetitions at 75-85% of your one rep maximum weight in which you can lift on a particular exercise.
An Example of Heavy Weight Training
Let’s say your 1-rep max in the bench press is 100 lbs. 75% is 75 lbs., and 85% is 85 lbs. These 5-8 repetitions are performed in 3-4 set intervals with 2-3 minutes of rest between each set.
I recommend both men and women, who have been involved in consistent (at least 3 times/week) resistance exercise for at least 3 consecutive months, add the following routine into their plan 2 times per week:
- Bench Press: 3-4 sets of 5-8 reps
- Lat Pull downs (front): 3-4 sets of 5-8 reps
- Leg Press: 3-4 sets of 5-8 reps
All these are done at 75-85% of 1-rep max.
Mix in this type of training for 1 month at a time. Take a month off (return to higher repetition, lower weight training) before returning again to the heavier training. There is no need to fear “bulking up.” The benefits you will experience are amazing.
The only thing to “fear” is being leaner, feeling better, and being stronger.