Weight and Resistance Training - I need some advice on weight training...

04-07-2009, 07:11 PM
Hi everyone,

I've been searching the internet for good advice about female weight training (and weight loss) and frankly not come up with any good info. (excluding one very good site/blog written by a female Canadian academic).

I'm losing weight steadily from a calorie controlled diet, but I want to lose 50 pounds before I do any hardcore aerobic exercise because I have a number of health issues to deal with (most notably arthritis in my knees which I developed from doing too much exercise during my childhood....ah the irony!!).

So for the first half of my weight loss, I want to concentrate on lifting weights - first, because it doesn't irritate my health issues, and second, I love doing it!! :carrot:

I'd be grateful if anyone can help me with the following issues:

1. How often can I weight lift? Is it okay to do it every day or should I be doing it every other day? Will I bulk up if I do it every day? (I know women generally don't bulk up). I'd like to lift everyday as I'm not doing much aerobic exercise.

2. How long should a lifting session be? At the moment, I work my way through a chart of exercises and it takes about 30 mins (exc. warm up). This gets me out of breath and a little sweaty. I work my way through an chart of dumbbell exercises.

2. Currently I'm just using dumbbells at 1.5kg and 2.5kg weights (I work my legs doing lunges and squats). Is it better to do fewer reps with a heavier weight, or more reps at a lighter weight? Ultimately, what's the best for weight loss/toning?

3. Am I missing anything important here that I should be doing?? Am I sounding dreadfully naive?

04-07-2009, 07:36 PM
1. You don't want to strength train the same body part 2 days in a row, and you don't want to lift EVERY day (so you need to take a rest day once a week). If you wanted to lift every day, you could split your body parts...I know some people like to train the front of the body one day (biceps, quads, abs, etc) and the back of the body the next (hamstrings, calves, triceps, back). Here's a good article on this kind and other kinds of "splits" http://exercise.about.com/cs/weightlifting/a/strengthroutine.htm

2. Lifting sessions can vary in length, depending how hard you want to work the muscles you're targeting. If you're doing a split as described above, you can fit more exercises for the parts you're working into the same amount of time. You can add more or remove some exercises to fit the time you have available.

2 (the second #2!). This is a matter of training philosophy. You tend to see more muscle gain (which helps with weight loss...more muscle = more calories burned at rest) with a lower number of reps at a heavier weight. Some trainers, though, believe in doing more reps and a lower weight. There are different techniques (pyramid sets, for example) that use some combination of these to get results. These are typically based off of your one-rep max (the most weight you can lift for one full rep), and start with higher rep/lower weight, then gradually increase the weight and lower the reps. The bottom line is that there are a TON of schools of thought on this, and no one "right" way.

3. In terms of what you're missing, you really might want to try to find some cardio that isn't hard on your joints, but gets your heartrate up. Cardio is great for weight loss, and can help break up your lifting sessions so that you still get exercise most days, but aren't overtaxing your muscles by lifting on the same muscle groups multiple days in a row. And no, you don't sound naive.

Have you seen the "Ladies Who lift" forum? It's a great spot to ask these sorts of questions!

04-07-2009, 09:49 PM
If the Canadian academic you have stumbled upon is Krista and her stumptious site, you have found an EXCELLENT source of information.

Other good places to start are The New Rule of Lifting for Women, and Body for Life.



04-08-2009, 12:53 AM
Mel, that is indeed the website! I'd forgotten the name.

Mandalinn82, thanks so much for the information.:) For now, my aerobic exercise will have to be some brisk walking. The concept of 'splits' sounds an excellent approach - I'll certainly check that out. I find smaller weights and lots of reps results in breaking into a sweat (and hopefully a higher heart rate), so I may stick to that for now since there is no one right or wrong approach.

04-08-2009, 11:11 PM
Well Krista has TONS of info for ya. You could spend all day reading her site.