This is a common misperception amongst women. Lifting heavy weights will NOT make you big or automatically turn you into a body builder. On the contrary, incorporating heavy sets into your fitness routine will actually HELP you to build muscle definition and SOME mass size. It takes much more then JUST lifting heavy weights to change your overall physique. Furthermore, this type of lifting doesn’t need to be added in every day or done for every exercise routine. You can add it in for trouble spots or for when you’re bored and want to change up your routine. It will be used in conjunction with low weight, high rep exercises. Make sense?
What exactly are the benefits, then, of adding in heavy sets for let’s say, your legs? By increasing your weight you will not only help in strengthening the overall muscle groups but you will also begin to tone and define the actual shape of your lower half (who doesn’t want curvier legs or a firmer butt?). For example, when lifting heavier you will decrease the amount of reps that you will do for your set. So, when doing squats, if you up your typical weight by 15-20 pounds, you would then decrease your total rep count for the exercise to about 5-8 reps. Utilizing this method, coupled with other leg exercises that employ a lighter weight and higher rep count, you will “trick” the muscles and cause them to work harder, thereby causing them to become stronger. Now, let’s be honest, your size will not magically grow over night. It takes time and commitment but with dedication and some will power you will start to see your legs grow in size.
Another added benefit of increasing your weight is in the amount of calories you will burn not only during the workout, but POST workout. It can also help with weight loss and in speeding up your metabolism. It’s an overall win-win for your entire being! And if you’re going to take the time to put the work in, why not increase your potential windfall at the same time? But remember, muscle weighs MORE than fat, so you may see the scale go UP in number. This is NOT a bad thing. The good news is you will begin to notice that your clothes fit differently, but in a good way. Shorts that may not have fit well before may now fit perfectly, and jeans that were a size too small may now be the right size and you should smile in knowing that you caused that physical change to happen.
One final thing, when adding in these types of exercises, don’t forget to fuel your body with the proper nourishment: protein, protein, protein. You are burning more calories so don’t let that fool you into eating less. You need the proper amounts of nutrients going into your body so that you can not only survive your workout but reap the benefits of your workout – meaning a leaner, toner body and a healthier and fitter you!