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strength training for women

Blog Forums Exercise strength training for women

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    I am interested in starting a strength training routine but am kind of bewildered as to how to start. In my exercise past I focused just on cardio and some floor ab work. I thought that weight lifting and such was a “man thing” and would make me bulk up like a man if I was to take it up. I realize now that was pretty ignorant of me. So here I am now wanting to start some strength training and am wondering if it is best for me to work with a trainer at first to show me how its done? Do most people go this route or just do their own research and routine? the little internet research ive done has introduced me to some terms such as deadlifts and lateral lunges etc but I have no idea what these are or how to do them. I guess my question would be do I need to pay for a trainer or not?? Thanks all!


    Since I don’t have much money – can’t afford health insurance even, I couldn’t justify going to a gym or hiring a trainer so I bought a set of dumbbells and looked up routines online to do at home. One tip I’ve read is that if you don’t have some one to show you how to do things properly is to practice the form with no or little weight in front of a mirror and then build up to higher weights so that you don’t hurt yourself. Also from what I’ve read, it should not make a difference whether you are a woman or man in what exercises you do.

    I basically do this routine I started off with a $30 dumbbell set from walmart and use my sofa or 2 chairs to substitute for a bench, though I don’t think benches cost too much. I’ve since added in some other dumbbells that weigh more that the cheap set offered – luckily my husband got those free from a friend. I don’t do the abdominal work from this routine because I have diastasis recti, and have to be careful not to separate my abdominal muscles more than they already are. I have not hurt myself at all doing these exercises and have gotten stronger – usually adding a bit of weight to what I can lift from week to week and though I don’t know how much muscle I’ve added to my body, I do know I’ve added some.

    If I had a lot more disposable income, I would prefer to join a gym and try those slow burn exercises as described in Body by Science. Those are done on weight machines – not with free weights.

    If you do have the inclination and money to join a gym, you could ask others there to spot you, etc.. but always be sure to practice good form so you don’t get hurt. It seems that there are dozens, if not more, routines and variations out there in how many reps to do, how many sets to do, how many days a week to lift, how many days to rest between working a body part, how much rest between sets, etc…… it can all seem a little overwhelming and at least for me, I worried too much about which to choose. But I think that whatever routine you choose to do, it’ll help get you stronger, add muscle and get other positive effects. The routine I do seems very basic and probably not that different that other routines in that one lifts 3 days a week, does 3 sets of each exercise, lifts to almost failure, takes a day off between lifting days, works the whole body each day, does each exercise just once a week (though there are 2 arm exercise that almost seem identical), and does low reps versus high reps.


    If you are the type to teach yourself skills and have the right info, you can teach yourself. I would start with squats, press and dead lift. Mark Rippetoe’s Starting strength has a lot of good advice on those exercises. He does low bar squats, you can also learn high bar squats but that is a preference thing. Regardless, his information is really basic for a self taught self starter.

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