Women who have tried their hand at strength training know that pairing heavy weights with the proper exercises is the best way to speed up the process of getting that toned physique you desire.
Long gone is the myth that lifting weights will give you the physique of a body builder overnight. While that goal can be accomplished through heavy training, if you use the proper weight and repetitions to complete these exercises you will get that toned, sexy physique you desire at a much faster rate than you would just using machines and isolation exercises.
When performing strength building exercises keep in mind this rule of thumb. You should always select a weight that you can use for 8-12 repetitions to build muscle.
If you can only complete 1-7 reps then you are focusing more on strength building. If you are capable of doing more than 12 repetitions at the selected weight then you are focusing on muscle endurance.
This workout targets your lower body, focusing on the quadriceps, but also targeting the calves, glutes, and hamstrings. To perform this exercise you will need to select a pair of dumbbells that has a weight that challenges you.
You don’t want to go with too high a weight, as this can cause damage to your muscles and will quickly exhaust you. Select a weight that is just a little higher than your comfort level.
- Begin this exercise by positioning your right foot about two feet in front of your left foot, with the dumbbells positioned to either side of you midway between your feet.
- Squat down so that your left knee is touching the floor and grip the dumbbells.
- Exhale as you stand back up in an upright position, being sure to keep your back straight and your core tight. Only the toes of your left leg should be touching the floor.
- Inhale as you lower your left knee back towards the ground. Be sure to keep your knee elevated just above the floor at the lowest point. Your right leg should be forming a 90 degree angle at the knee.
- Repeat this movement 8-12 times per each leg.
Dumbbell Bench Press
This is an upper body workout that targets your chest, shoulders, and triceps. Most females who are new to strength training should use 5 or 10 pound dumbbells.
As you continue to perform this exercise over the coming weeks be sure to not add too much weight at one time. Keep your increase in weight increments gradual with any strength training exercises.
It’s better to do more repetitions than it is to strain yourself with too high of a weight – potentially causing damage to your body.
- Lie down on a bench, face up, with your palms facing each other and the dumbbells resting atop your thighs.
- Use your thighs for assistance to raise the dumbbells over your chest, about shoulder width apart. Rotate your hands so that your palms are facing towards your feet. Your arms should be at a 90 degree angle to begin the workout.
- Use your chest muscles to raise your arms straight up, towards the ceiling. Lock your arms and hold the position for a second before slowly lowering your arms back to the 90 degree angle.
- Repeat this movement 8-12 times.
Seated Cable Rows
This exercise provides a killer workout for your mid-back, lats, biceps, and shoulders. It is an exercise that is performed on a low pulley row machine while holding the V-bar.
- Sit on the machine with your feet planted on the floor. Be sure to keep your knees bent slightly.
- Keep your back straight as you lean forward to grab the handles of the V-bar.
- Keep your arms extended as you pull back, forming a 90 degree angle in the seated position. Keep your chest out and back slightly arched. This is the starting position.
- Breathe out. Use your back muscles to pull the V-bar towards your body until it is touching you, keeping your arms close to your sides. Hold this position for a moment before slowly returning to the starting position.
- Repeat this movement 8-12 times.
This is one of the best exercises to have as a part of your strength training routine. It works many muscles including the hamstrings, calves, glutes, and lower back.
Many people who focus on strength training claim that if they had to choose any one exercise to do it would be the barbell deadlift. If you are new to this exercise start off with 5-10 pound plates.
This exercise can be performed with the maximum weight you can lift only one time, or you can do repetitions when using a lower weight.
- Begin with the bar centered over your feet, and your feet hip-width apart.
- Bend at the hip to grab the bar, keeping your hands spread about shoulder-width apart. Have one hand facing away from you, and other facing towards you.
- Inhale deeply. Lower your hips until the bar is against your shins. Keep your chest up, back arched, and head up.
- Drive through the heels to begin moving the weight upward.
- Once the bar reaches your knees, pull your shoulder blades together and your hips forward as you jerk the bar back.
- Lower the bar back to the ground by bending at the hips.
- Repeat based on the amount of weight being used.
Whether you are first starting off on your strength training journey or have been strength training for years, it is always important to stay focused.
Be sure to keep good form – if your form is poor you are likely using too high a weight. Don’t overexert yourself, and always have a partner spot you when lifting heavy weights.
Mix it up when working out to keep yourself motivated, occasionally trying different variations of these exercises.