Ladies: don’t be afraid of picking up heavy weights. What you see in the photo above took years of training and specific diet, but to even make the smallest gains — including toning and adding sexy muscle definition — you’ll need to put down those teeny pink dumbbells and get to work.
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What happens to your body when you start to lift heavier? You’ll notice some pretty incredible changes, including increased overall strength, stronger bones, mobile joints, sexy curves and the release chemicals in your body known as endorphins. Those are the feel-good chemicals; they make you happy and have been shown to help with depression. The heavier you lift, the better you feel!
So, if you really want to be a fit female, it’s time to put down the 2-lb and 5-lb dumbbells and pick up some heavy weight to build muscle.
And of course, a good, muscle-building workout always begins with a warm up.
I suggest a dynamic warm-up consisting of foam rolling the upper back and lats, arm swings forward and backwards help open the chest and shoulders, and I always suggest a warm up set of each exercise at a light and manageable weight to get the neurological system primed and your body use to the movement. This helps prevent injuries and get the blood flowing to the areas you need it
The following workout is a T.U.T Workout. That stands for time under tension. The sets are timed sets to maximize the time under tension training principle for maximum metabolic stress of a muscle. This helps the muscles grow.
For this workout, you will need a watch or something to time yourself because the rest between sets will be 90s max. Rep speed will be 2 down, 2 up with a 1 second pause at the top. Slow and steady focusing on the muscle you are contracting for that particular exercise. Do not rush the exercises and make sure to count a full 1 one thousand, 2 one thousand etc. This will maximize your muscle building effects and cause you to feel the exercise.
The initial weight chosen for each exercise should be challenging but not difficult. When muscular failure is reached but you have not attained the specified number of reps with the time under tension (do not allow all tension to come off) immediately to decrease the weight and finish off that set.
4 sets of 12 to 15 reps: Wide Grip Lat Pull-Down
4 sets of 12 to 15 reps: Seated Cable Rows
4 sets of 12 to 15 reps: Bent-Over Barbell Row
4 sets of 12 to 15 reps: Back Extensions (weighted)
4 sets of 12 to 15 reps: Pectoral Fly
4 sets of 12 to 15 reps: Flat Dumbbell Bench Press
4 sets of 12 to 15 reps: Triceps Dips Off Bench (weighted plate on lap)
4 sets of 12 to 15 reps: Alternating Dumbbell Curl
Wide-Grip Lat Pull-Down
Grab the bar as wide as you can with all fingers being placed on the bar. Lean back slightly keeping your torso in line with your back. Your core should stay tight and begin to lower to your chest. Squeeze through your lats and upper back. Return to starting position and repeat.
Seated Cable Rows
Grab the handles with palms facing in. Feet should be on the plat form, and your knees slightly bent. Lean back slightly while keeping your torso straight. Once in position then bring the handle to the midline of your chest. Make sure to pull through with your elbows and squeeze your back. Repeat.
Bent-Over Barbell Row
Grab the barbell with an underhand grip and with your knees slightly bent hinge forward until your torso is parallel with the ground. Row upwards keeping your back parallel. Pull through with your elbows and squeezing your back. Repeat.
Back Extensions (Weighted)
Get into the machine facing the ground. Hold a dumbbell or plate as close as you can to your chest. Hinge forward at the waist as you lower yourself downwards. Upon returning squeeze your lower back also known as your erector spinae. Repeat.
Laying on a bench grab your dumbbells in both hands. Open your arms at the same time with a slight bend in the elbows. Think of opening and closing a curtain. Keep the tension by not bringing the dumbbells together at the top. Repeat.
Flat Dumbbell Bench Press
Laying on a bench grab your dumbbells in both hands. Keep your elbows even with your shoulders and lower them towards the midline of your chest. Keep the tension by not bringing the dumbbells together at the top but simply straight up. Repeat.
Triceps Dips Off Bench
Place hands on the bench just below your shoulders. Place a desired weighted plate on your lap for added resistance. You may need assistance so don’t be shy and ask either your gym buddy, significant other or trainer at the gym to help you. Your feet can either be on the floor in a bent knee position or placed straight on another bench. Bend your elbows and dip. Repeat.
Alternating Dumbbell Curl
Standing with your feet shoulder width apart and dumbbells in each hand begin to curl each arm at a time. Make sure the elbow stays close to the body. This will ensure no swinging or cheating of the exercise. Remember we are going for time under tension. Also, make sure not to bend the wrists while curling. This will help prevent injury. Repeat for each arm.
Make sure that you cool down and do your static stretching post workout. This will help with lactic acid build up, prevent future injuries and flush out inflammation and keep you mobile for your next workout.
This workout when you first look at it may seem easy, but I promise you that it’s quite a challenge. Grab a heavy weight and do the exercises with time under tension — that’s what makes this workout different from all the others.