Wont lifting make me bulky?

Wont lifting make me bulky?

No, not at all, this is a common misconception often among women that lifting weights = massive muscles and a masculine look. Trust me the guys who want big muscles will tell you that its not that simple

Lifting weights at a moderate intensity for sets of 10-12 will improve the look of the muscles, they will become firmer, or more 'toned'. They might grow a little and will enhance the natural shape and become stronger.

Female’s don’t have the same testosterone hormone levels as men which is one of the key factors which allow men to build larger muscles than women. Also, continued muscle growth even in men requires alot of planning in terms of progressing intensity and calorie consumption.

Lifting weights (or some form of resistance training) is highly recommended for men and women of all ages, for middle aged women specifically it can reduce the risk of osteoporosis as resistance training can maintain bone integrity.

Also, as you get older and use muscles less, the muscles begin to waste away, this can make you weaker, can damage your posture and can reduce your metabolic rate making weight gain more likely.

Related: how to improve your posture in 15 minutes

The most effective way to train the muscles is by doing movements which require the most muscle recruitment, these multijoint exercises will stimulate more muscle to work which gives me a time efficient workout.

Not all lifting has to require dumbbells either. Bodyweight movements are highly effective especially for the beginner, ab crunches and bodyweight squats are effective forms of resistance training which you may have heard of, there is also press-ups, pull ups , tricep dips, lunges and more. There are also various machine based exercises which guide your body into the correct movement pattern to ensure safety and effectiveness which I use in the gym.

I personally include weights twice a week into my routine, I mix it up but I often enjoy doing a basic dumbbell workout. here’s what I do:

Warmup: 5 - 10 mins (very important... moderate intensity jogging or rowing is perfect)

Squats 3 sets x 12 reps - Works my thighs, bum, calf muscles

Kettlebell swings 3 sets x 15 reps - works the muscles of my back, bum and hip flexors

Press-ups 3 sets x 10 reps - Tones my chest, triceps and shoulders

Lat pull down 2 sets x 15 reps - works my lats, back of shoulders and trapezius for better posture

Dumbell Shoulder press 2 sets x 15 reps - works my shoulders, triceps (back of arm)

​Bicep curls 2 sets x 15 reps - Tones my biceps

Ab crunch or a variation of: 3 sets of 15 reps - keeps my abs firm


I use a weight that challenges me over the rep range, if I am lifting a weight which i could probably lift 20 times or more easily then my muscles aren’t being challenged and so the workout wont achieve what im aiming for. I often change the exercises and increase weight and reduce reps to keep the muscles challenged.

Which weight you should use for each exercise will depend on your own strength and experience, but you will most likely need a selection of different weights to ensure the bigger muscle groups are working hard enough.

If you would like me to show you some other ideas then come and chat to me in the gym, or check out some more of my posts over the weeks

See you in the gym!

- Leia

P.S come and check out my Monday morning studio cycle class, i always like to include a 15 minute ab session at the end. its a great way to start the week!

See the timetables here

p.s: join in with a fitball, body rocks or bodycross class to see how incorporating weight can be easy and enjoyable.

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