Why Women Should Lift Heavy

Ladies, you can’t be afraid of the weights!  

I get questions all the time from girls like “Tank, how do I tone my arms” or “How do I get a tighter butt?” or “How do I lose weight but put on muscle?”

My one and only answer?  Lift weights and lift heavy.

The generic is response is “But I don’t want to get big muscles and look like a linebacker.”

Girls are always afraid of this, but let me be the first one to tell you that this is nothing to be afraid of!

If it was that easy to pack on muscle, you would see many more jacked dudes walking around.  Trust me, it isn’t that easy.

Why is it not that easy?

Most of it can be attributed to two key differences between men and women: hormones and diet.

First of all, a lot of the muscle growth in men is attributed to hormone production.  Since you ladies have much lower levels of hormones like testosterone, you need not be afraid of looking like a science experiment.

Diet is another contributing factor.  A lot of jacked up dudes are consuming far in excess of their maintenance levels.  You rarely need to force feed yourself calories, especially since it is not your goal to get huge in the first place.  Eating a balanced diet with proper nutrition will yield you great results.

Want to look like this girl?

tighter butt

Think this girl looks like this because she lives on a treadmill and does set after set of crunches?  No!  She lifts weights and she lifts heavy.

The normal female desires of getting toned and losing weight really just translates to building muscle and losing body fat.

Weight lifting does both of these for you.

The “toned” look is the by-product of having a good amount of lean muscle mass.  You can’t actually tone a muscle.  If you want better arms, you can’t bicep curl and tricep kick-back your way into success.  You need to work your entire body by lifting weights and putting more muscle onto your frame.

Lifting weights not only builds muscle, but it boosts your metabolism long after you have left the gym, putting you in prime fat burning mode.  If you develop a routine and lift weights with regularity, you will be a fat burning machine 24/7!

How do I do it?

Start by budgeting at least 3 days of your week to lift weights for 1 hour.  Workouts should consist of total body movements.  Compound exercises are king; avoid isolation exercises.

Don’t know what exercises to do?  Pick from this list.  Perform 4 per session.

Make sure to do a proper warmup and keep the number of sets per exercise to 3-4 in the beginning.  Each set can be performed for roughly 6-12 reps, depending on the amount of weight you are using.

Lift as heavy as you can in this prescribed rep range.  Lifting heavy burns far more calories than really high rep programs and is a major metabolism booster, burning even more fat during your recovery periods.

Make sure you increase your intensities each set (progressive overload).  As you get stronger, you can start with more weight and progressively go for heavier weights.  You should be improving each week in the beginning.

Rest periods should be short, no longer than 90 seconds in between sets.  The reality is that females require shorter rest periods than males, so 90 seconds is being generous.  You should be able to perform sets with as low as 30 seconds of rest in between sets, depending on how hard you are working yourself.  Do not rest too long!  You must challenge yourself and crank up the intensity to get results.

Strong is the new skinny!  Don’t be afraid to pick up some weights and lift with the boys.  Truth is, I’ve seen girls that can outlift a lot of guys these days and they look good doing it.  Plus it will be a big boost to your ego by seeing the stunned looks on guys faces around your gym after you dominate them!


— Tank

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