All women should be strength training. Period. It promotes overall health, a better night’s sleep, higher energy, and more confidence. That’s why I created Ladies Who Lift—an all-female strength training and weightlifting workshop—with the goal of building a community of badass women who are ready to defy weightlifting expectations and find what works for them on an individual level.
When it comes to fitness and exercise, it is important to recognize and respect that everyone has different ideals and goals. There is no single type of beautiful body—tell yourself, tell your mom, tell your friends. And while many women avoid weightlifting because of myths about how it will change your body, the idea that picking up some heavy weights will make you look like the Incredible Hulk is a silly one that should be eliminated.
The best and most important reason to give weightlifting a try is that it will help you get and feel strong. Tasks that go along with your everyday life will suddenly feel easier. Stronger legs combat lower back pain that comes with standing all day. Stronger arms help you pick up your kids, your grocery bags, or your heavy backpack. A stronger heart keeps you out on the dance floor for one more song. There is so much to gain and nothing to lose but your prejudices against pumping iron.
Here is a beginner’s workout to do at home with a pair of dumbbells. Perform all exercises back to back, giving yourself a one-minute rest in between rounds. Complete three to five rounds.
1. Goblet Squat, 8 – 10 reps
Hold one dumbbell using both hands close to your chest. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width and turn your toes out slightly. Keeping the weight back in your heels and sending your knees out over your toes, squat until your hips are at least parallel with your knees. Press through your heels to stand, squeezing your glutes at the top.
2. Bent-Over Row, 8 – 10 reps
Take a lunge stance, bringing your forearm to your knee. Make sure your shoulders are square with the ground. Inhale and engage your core. Pull your elbow back, keeping it close to your ribs. Draw your shoulder blade back, without letting your shoulder cap rotate. Repeat reps on each arm.
3. Reverse Lunge, 8 – 10 reps per leg
Hold dumbbells down by your sides. Stand firm in your front foot and send your other leg back. Touch your back knee gently to the ground with control. Push through your front heel to come back to standing. Do all reps on one side before going to the other.
4. Overhead Press, 8 – 10 reps
Stand with feet parallel and firm on the ground. Inhale deeply, and then press both arms up above your head with palms facing toward one another. Exhale at the top. Lower the weights back to starting position.
By Rae Reichlin
Workout photos courtesy of Sweatworking App
Top photo: Mae West works out, c. 1920
This article originally appeared in the December/January 2017 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!
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