5th February 2014
I want to lose weight but will lifting weights bulk me up?
Thinking about pumping some iron but not sure if it will just beef you up and make you look bigger? Well you’re not alone … many women are tentative or afraid of lifting weights as part of their exercise regime because they think it will bulk them up.
One glance at the men doing weights and their new ‘toned but larger abs and pecs’ can settle the score. But is it true?
Will lifting weights bulk me up?
Well relax, but don’t step away from the weights because it’s true to say that most women don’t have enough testosterone to increase their muscle mass to the point of looking bigger. To bulk up, or to lift weights in order to become bigger, most women would have to lift heavy weights whilst taking hormones or drugs to alter the way their muscles respond to the lifting.
OK, but is it bad for my joints?
Quite the opposite actually. When you strengthen the muscles around your joints (which you do with lifting weights) you put less pressure on your joints and increase their health. It’s also much better than running or walking and easier on the joints because it’s a non-impact activity. It can also improve your posture and take strain off your back, knees, hips and spine.
So how long should I aim for?
Ideally aim for about a 30-minute session a few times a week as a healthy and measurable weight-training regime. Your gym may even be weight-training focussed and have a special 30-minute circuit of apparatus dedicated to such a routine. If not then enlist one of the trainers to help you develop a routine from one apparatus to another for clever use of your time and energy.
Should I go for free weights or machines?
Both are good and each offers advantages and disadvantages. Many opt for machines because they are optimally positioned for correct use … it takes the guesswork out of the equation. Others prefer free weights because they can isolate muscles much better, especially if they know the areas they want to specifically work on.
Perhaps the best solution is to have a routine with both free and machine weights as part of the make-up. An in-house trainer may well be able to help you devise a routine to suit you and your body and also show you how to adapt this as time and your strength develops.