Corny is the new cool.
Many women are fearful of weight training. They don’t want to look bulky or manly.
I lift weights 3-4 times each week and this is what I look like:
This is what I do not (and will never) look like:
DON’T BE SCARED!!
Without steroids or a crazy amount of weight gains/supplements, there is no way you will ever look like picture #2. Women just don’t have enough testosterone in their bodies.
Today’s workout is one that I do once a week. It’s the one that I largely credit for gains in strength and definition. Note: Every 3-4 weeks I switch it up and do this workout or P90X DVD to avoid a plateau.
As always, do at least do 5-10 mins of light cardio to warm up. This is especially important if you workout first thing in the morning before your muscles have a chance to loosen up. It will go a long way in injury prevention! It can be anything from a jog to jumping jacks.
During nearly any workout, concentrate on keeping your core tight, as if you are bracing to be punched in the stomach. This way you are protecting your back and getting bonus core work!
**Printable version you can take to the gym at the end of this post**
The Workout: Biceps and Back
1. Dumbbell Power Rows
Holding a dumbbell in your left hand, bend your hips and lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor. Your knees should be slightly bent – don’t lock them out! Let the dumbbell hang with your palm facing in.
In one motion, explosively pull the dumbbell toward your body and turn your working-side shoulder up at the top of the rep so the dumbbell travels past your chest. Pause, then lower the weight back to start. That’s one rep. Complete all reps, then repeat on the other side. If needed, you can use a bench or chair for stability.
Perform 2 sets of 8 reps with a heavier weight. Rest 30 secs between sets.
2. Barbell Bent-Over Rows
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Keep your core tight, and a slight arch in your back as you lean forward at the hips. Your torso should be close to parallel to the floor. Grab the barbell off the floor with an overhand grip with arms shoulder width apart. Retract the shoulder blades and pull the bar up to the lower part of your chest. Pause at the top, with your chest sticking out toward the bar. Slowly return to the starting position to complete 1 rep.
Try to keep your torso in the same position throughout the movement. Concentrate on using your back muscles, avoiding using momentum and making rocking or swinging motions.
Note: This can also be done with dumbbells if you don’t have a barbell.
Perform 2 sets of 8 reps with a heavier weight. Rest 60 secs between sets.
Grab the pulldown bar with an overhand grip. Your hands should be just outside of the bend in the bar for a wide-grip. Pull down to your upper chest level. As you pull down, think about pinching something between your shoulder blades and stick your chest out. This will ensure your back is fully engaged.
Return to the starting position, extending your elbows, but allowing your whole shoulder to rise with the weight.
Note: These are a great substitute for pull-ups.
Perform 3 sets of 6-8 reps with a heavier weight.
4. Straight Arm Lat Pulldowns
Stand in front of a lat pull-down or other overhead cable machine. Grip a bar with both hands at slightly wider than shoulder-width, and lock the elbows. Keep your body upright and your core tight. Pull the weight down to your thighs, squeezing the lats hard. Be sure not to bending your arms. Slowly allow the bar to return to the starting position and repeat.
Perform 3 sets of 20 reps. Rest 60 secs between supersets.
5. Reverse Curls
Use with either bar or two dumbbells.
With the bar: Use an overhand, shoulder-width grip on a barbell or curled bar, with the bar resting on the thighs.
With dumbbells: Holding a dumbbell in each hand, with arms hanging straight down and palms facing down.
Inhale and curl the barbell or dumbbells up toward your chest until your elbows are completely bent. Pause for 1-2 seconds, then exhale and lower the barbell or dumbbells back down to the starting position.
Perform 2 sets of 6-8 reps with a heavier weight. Rest 30 secs between sets.
6. Incline Dumbbell Curls
Grab a pair of dumbbells and lie on your back on a bench set to about a 45-degree angle. Let the dumbbells hang straight down from your shoulders. Turn your arms so that your palms face forward. Without moving your upper arms, bend your elbows and curl the dumbbells as close to your shoulders as you can. Pause, then lower the weights.
Note: Be sure to return to the start position for a full-extension. This will help develop long, lean “pretty” muscles.
Perform 3 sets of 20 reps.
7. Decline Dumbbell Curls
Grab a dumbbell in each hand. Lie on an incline bench set to about 60 degrees. Your shoulders should be near top of the incline, and your legs can be straddled to either side. Fully extend your arms, allowing them to hang in front of you so that they are perpendicular to the floor. Face your palms forward with your elbows in by your side.
Raise the dumbbells, contracting your biceps until your arms are fully flexed. Take care that only your forearms move. The upper arms should remain stationary at all times. Lower the dumbbells until your arms are fully extended to complete 1 rep.
Note: You can perform using an e-z bar, a barbell or alternating arms.
Perform 3 sets of 25 reps. Rest 30 secs between supersets.
Printable version you can take to the gym:
Don’t forget your 20g of post-workout protein to aid in recovery and muscle building!
My Disclaimer. I am not a trainer. I am not a certified anything. Don’t sue me if you hurt yourself, don’t like the workout, or fail to magically have sexy Cameron Diaz after doing this.
Have you ever been hesitated to lift weights for fear of looking “bulky?”
Do you prefer weights or alternate forms of strength training (TRX, body weight, etc)? Or none at all?