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How Much Should You Be Lifting?

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Many women think that lifting weights is going to make them big and bulky.

I know, because I am one of the many who used to think this. Now that I have been working out and weight lifting for a few years, the dumbbells no longer scare me and I want to help other women overcome that fear too. So I turned to owner of BODI fitness and Nike Master Trainer, Nikki Metzger, to help dispel the myths about weight lifting and give some advice on how much someone should weight lift based on their goals.

Training Goals

A lot of people get confused when it comes to choosing the appropriate size weight and knowing how many sets and reps they should perform in their workouts. Metzger breaks it down for us based on different fitness goals.

 Training Goal  Sets Repetitions  Intensity 
 General Muscle Fitness  1-2  8-15   65-80% 
 Muscle Endurance  2-3  > 12  60-70%
 Muscle Hypertrophy  3-6  6-12  70-80%
 Muscle Strength  2-6  < 6  80-90%

 Power:
 Single Effort

 Multiple Effort

 3-5

 3-5

 1-2

 3-5

 > 90% 

General Muscle Fitness: Get lean and toned

Muscular Endurance: Get lean and toned and be able to lift weights for a long/longer period of time.

Muscular Hypertrophy: Bulk up and/or get larger muscles then you currently do. In order to bulk up, you must be choosing appropriate weights and training at a intensity level of 70-80 percent.

Muscular Strength: Get stronger then you currently are and be able to lift heavier weights. It can also be defined as the maximal force a muscle or muscle group can exert during contraction.

Power: Muscular force and speed of a movement (Olympic Weight Lifting)


Some Advice

1. Lift heavier! A lot of people do not choose a weight that is truly challenging them. The final few reps of a set should feel tough and like you can't do anymore. Lifting weights will not make you bulky. Just make sure you choose the appropriate training goal mentioned above.

2. Ditch the treadmill and pick up the dumbbells! Yes, running does have its benefits, but don't think that running an hour a day is going to leave you feeling skinny and toned.

3. Lifting lighter weights will not help you "tone up" better than heavy weights. It's actually totally opposite - lift heavier to lean and tone your body.

4. Try HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). It is the best way to burn fat and reshape your body. It increases stamina and strength and offers more functional benefits than steady state cardio or heavy weight lifting.

5. Lastly, try to strength train at least 3+ times a week and eat as clean, lean and green as possible.


Conclusion from Metzger: "Lift heavy, babes!" 

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