In our minds, women and bodybuilding don’t necessarily go together. In fact, whenever we think about a woman and bodybuilding, the first image that comes to our mind is of a woman who has extremely over-built muscles! That image is enough to scare anyone off weight lifting forever. However, this trend has completely changed over the past few years.
With the motto of, ‘Strong is the new sexy’, women are now more inclined towards weight training and building muscles to get a strong body. This is one of the fundamental differences between men and women bodybuilders. While men are more prone to build muscles naturally and intentionally, women are more into sculpting and toning their bodies.
Here are a few tips and tricks that women can follow to achieve a strong and muscular physique.
A Warm-up Is a Must!
Whether you are starting your weight training for the first time or you are a pro, a proper warm-up before any workout is a must. It is an integral part of your workout as it not only prepares your body for that intense session of weight training, but it also prevents any muscular injury from happening.
In addition, a warm-up helps increase the blood flow throughout the body, making sure that all your muscles are well-oxygenated and well-nourished before the workout even begins!
You don’t have to spend an entire hour on the treadmill or an elliptical to warm-up, a 15-minutes jog or brisk walk is good enough, followed by mild stretching of your legs and arms. You will find that stretching not only relaxes your body but also relaxes your mind, easing you into the next phase of your workout!
Don’t Be Scared of Lifting Weights
Women are scared of lifting heavy weights. There is a misconception amongst women that if they lift heavy weights, they will get bulky! However, this is not true. Gaining muscle bulk is not only dependent upon lifting weights, but it also depends on the testosterone levels in the body.
Luckily for women, this hormone is naturally 15-20 times lower than in their male counterparts. This means that women are more than unlikely to bulk up as men do! Lifting heavy weights is only going to make you stronger and leaner. Yes, you will gain weight but that weight is going to be pure muscle, until and unless you are not looking after your diet. So, with weight lifting, you need to be extra-vigilant about your calorie intake!
Keep a Work-out Log Book
It may sound tedious, but it is important that you log in each and every one of your workout. This will help you keep a track of your workouts and will also show any progress that you have made. From writing down your exercises to jotting down your measurements, you need to be very meticulous about your log book. It will be heartening for you to see the progress you have made in a month!
Every one is different and each person has a different recovery rate. Depending on how well you recover from a vigorous session of weight-lifting, your workout frequency can range from 3-5 days in a week. However, keep in mind that working out too frequently will leave you in an over-trained state which you do not want.
Similarly, under-training will not get you the results you want. That said, this is a personal decision and it totally depends on the individual’s body. If you feel that you are constantly exhausted, have frequent muscular pains with constant decline in endurance, then it is time to step down your training a bit. Opt for 3 days of weight-training in the gym with 3 days off. Keep one day for a mild jog or a brisk walk.
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Recovery Time Between Sets
When performing any exercise, you don’t have to go all macho! It is recommended that you take a break between your sets, preferably of about 90 seconds or less. Just like the training frequency, it largely depends on your body’s ability to recover and the type of exercise that was being performed.
Isolation exercises may require less than 45 seconds of rest as opposed to compound exercises that require a longer period of rest. However, your aim should be to gradually decrease this rest period to increase your workout intensity.
One of the most basic rules of sticking to a workout plan is to be organized about it. Plan out your workouts so that you focus on your lower body and upper body separately. Give yourself a day of rest and then focus on any lagging muscle groups. Remember, whether it is your lower body day or your upper body day, you have to start your workout with a warm-up to prevent any injury.
Women Can Achieve a Strong and Sculpted Body with the Right Workouts and Training Frequency. Remember to Always Listen to Your Body!