Is strong the new size zero? Here’s why you should be lifting those heavy weights.
Recently we are seeing a fitness trend that encourages women to lift heavier weights. If Instagram is any indication, the days of size zero might just be over. Some of the most popular accounts on the social media app belong to women who show off their strong biceps and super toned physiques. They are not scared of lifting heavy weights and they are being cheered on by their massive following, which include both men and women.Personal Trainer James Mearns explains the benefits of lifting weights and why he encourages his female clientele to follow this trend:
Our world is shifting into a new era, an era where the patterns which previously defined us are changing; we are moving backwards in order to move forwards. We are moving back to the ideologies of small business, local suppliers, and using bicycles. It’s no different when it comes to our fitness.
As a personal trainer I see a lot of fitness trends come and go, but the ones that seem to stick around are the ones which never really left. Yoga, an ancient philosophy of body and mind. Met Con, the stimulation of the body’s three energy systems through intermittent, intense, varied exercises. Powerlifting – lifting heavy weights, stimulating the central nervous system, increasing strength, power and shape. Women have trained with weight for centuries, but for a long time it seemed as if they were afraid of their own power. Finally we are seeing more and more women picking up those heavy weights as they realise it’s ok to be strong. I invite you to follow this trend and celebrate your body and what it can achieve.
Your strength, your power!
Strength and power are words rarely used in the conversation of women’s fitness, although they definitely should be. When women train with these goals in mind they are graced with great shape, and great shape is the way of the modern women. No longer are women idolising the size zero, they’re looking back towards our shapely heroines and looking sexier than ever!
By lifting heavy weights these ladies are burning more calories than their treadmill pounding counterparts, and developing more shapely muscles. This means a thinner waste line and flowing curves. Curves are sexy! The sexier you feel, the more confident you will become, and confidence will get you everywhere.
Peace of mind
You could say that power lifting is a form of meditation. Meditation is the concentration of mind on the now. When you’re lifting heavy you’re focused on only one thing, the lift, right then and there!
Like a weight off your chest
Not only is lifting meditative, but it is also a great tool for stress relief. Pushing or pulling a weight aggressively will release any built up tension you have accumulated throughout the week. Push yourself, and remember its ok to scream (a little).
Bring your big moves
Compound exercises will give you the shape of your dreams. Compound exercises are big, multi-joint exercises such as; deadlifts, squats, cleans, and thrusters (speak to your resident gym instructor for help with these).
Have a look at the current weighted exercises you’re doing. Do they mobilise more than one joint? If the answer is no, give it up, as it’s probably not having the effect you desire.
Quality over quantity
Once you’ve rid your routine of the exercises you don’t need, look at how many reps per exercise you’re doing in the rest of your routine, and how well you are doing them. You should be doing less than 8 reps and you should be struggling to complete your final rep.
When you complete a rep, work using your full range of motion. Don’t do half reps! This will shorten the muscle and limit your flexibility. Remember, form is everything.
The incredible bulk
There is a common misconception that lifting heavy weights (as a female) will make you “bulky”. The truth is, not every women can have the “long lean yogi look”, you have to work with your body type, love yourself and make what you have look fantastic. So if your body type allows you to develop muscle, embrace it, some ladies would kill for those thighs. And remember, since women do not produce testosterone you will not develop muscles like that of a man. You will be in a great shape for all to admire.
There will be a few ladies who will turn their nose up at this article, proclaiming that it’s nonsense, speaking slurs of “you will get bulky”, or “its impossible to get great shape this way”. Mostly I imagine these women to be the few who can get a great body from just running or doing yoga. However, this article isn’t for these women. It’s for the women who have been pounding the treadmill and hitting the studio but are seeing no results. Women who are blessed with a different type of body, one that responds to a type of training that they had never considered. So if this is you, if you’re in the struggle, finding it difficult to find what’s right for you, don’t be afraid of lifting, give it a try, after all it’s your strength, and your power!
About the Author: James Mearns is a Personal Trainer by trade who is now a full time adventurer. He is currently travelling the world exploring mind, body and spirit, inspired by curiosity and the fear of “what if’s”!
Model: Vanessa Puma