Weight lifting for women has many benefits. It strengthens muscles, builds lean muscle mass, increases metabolism and reduces the risk of osteoporosis through its weight-bearing mechanisms. Developing a weight lifting routine for women needs to be done carefully to eliminate the risk of injury.
Developing a Schedule
Lifting weights involves fatiguing the muscle and wearing down the muscle tissue. As a muscle contracts while lifting heavy weights, muscles fibers are actually being torn. Muscles build in size during the recovery time after the weights have been lifted. It is therefore important to know that the same muscle group needs at least 48 hours in between weight lifting to recover properly. For example, if you did bicep curls today, you should wait two days before doing this same exercise. This will help the muscle build properly, and will reduce the chance of injuring the muscle.
Even though you should not train the same muscle groups on consecutive days, you can still weight train every day. You can split your routine so that you are working different muscle groups on different days. For example, if you worked your biceps and back muscles today, tomorrow you can work your triceps and chest. Since these are different muscle groups, you are still allowing proper recovery time on a particular muscle.
For beginners, it is recommended to start slowly. Lifting weights about three times per week should be enough when just getting started in a weight lifting routine.
Repetitions and Sets
A repetition – commonly referred to as a rep – is a unit in weight lifting. To illustrate using bicep curls, one complete bicep curl – from the lift to lowering back to starting position – is considered one rep. If you lift and lower the weight 10 times, you have just done 10 reps. A set is the number of reps conducted before muscle failure. If you do 10 reps in a row, and then stop to rest, this is considered one set. Ideally, a weight lifting routine should involve three sets, each consisting of between eight to 12 reps for each muscle worked.
How to Perform a Rep
Lifting weights should be done for a certain length of time to optimize results. The concentric phase – or positive phase – is the part that involves the muscles contracting. The eccentric phase – or negative phase – is the part that involves the extension of the muscle. Using bicep curls as an example, the positive phase occurs when the weight is lifted towards the bicep muscle, and the negative phase occurs when the weight is lowered back to starting position.
The concentric or positive phase of a weight lift should take three or four full seconds, with one full second taken to hold the final position. It should take the same three or four full seconds to lower the weight back to starting position. This will reduce injury and stress on the joints, ensure proper momentum, and produce greater results.
Determining How Much Weight to Lift
Finding the ideal weight for your weight lifting routine is important to ensure proper results. To determine the ideal weight, count how many reps you can do before muscle exhaustion. If you are able to do more than 15 reps, perhaps the weight is too light. If you cannot lift the weight more than four or five times, then the weight is probably too heavy. You should be able to lift the weight between eight to 12 times before muscle failure. This will provide maximum results for muscle building.