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Weight Training for a "Dummy"

I want to start a weight training program, and have been watching exercise shows on FIT tv. The in-shape gals look like they are using pretty light weights. Are they doing that just to look good on tv, or should women use light weights when doing strength training?

Also what is considered strength training. I try to walk on the treadmill every morning, and I like to use 3 lb hand weights. Does that constitute strenght training (I do curls, presses, tricep kick-backs, etc...)?

Sorry about the dumb question, but I just don't know what weight is a good weight to start off with, and if there's a weight limit to where you begin bulking rather than just strengthening and toning. Any help you can provided is so greatly appreciated.

Thu. Feb 16, 2:26pm

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You should use weights that challenge your body. So, if you can complete 3 sets of 12 reps with a 5lb weight with relative ease then next time you should mix it up by increasing the reps or the sets or the weight. Using the same 3lbs weights over and over is doing very little to help you sculpt your muscles.

What you are doing on the treadmill does not equal strength training. It may help you burn a few extra calories but overall I wouldn't recommend it. I think it will be more effective for you to focus on cardio when doing cardio and weights when doing weights.

It will be almost impossible for you to bulk up. There is no weight that will automatically make that happen to you. The correct weight to start with is the weight that challenges your muscles. You'll have to judge that for yourself.

Good for you for being interested in strength training!! It's so important. If something doesn't make sense please ask again and I'll try to explain further.

Thursday, February 16, 2006, 3:29 PM

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OK then, I was just watching Fit TV, where they were alternating cardio (step aerobics) with lunges and arm exercises using free weights (it looked like 5 lb ddumbells). That is considered strength training right...and you should do that on alternates days - not everyday, right?

Thursday, February 16, 2006, 6:16 PM

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You can strength train daily- just never the same parts. Don't do upper body twice in a row, don't do abs twice in a row, don't do lower body twice in a row. Strength training in between cardio, also known as circuit training can work, as the cardio is meant to tire the muscles you're going to work. The whole purpose of strength training is to exhaust/ tear your muscles so they repair themselves building mass (hence why muscular guys can be referred to as "ripped"). You can do this by circuit training, or simply doing the multiple sets with a set amount of reps. The point is it shouldn't be easy to do the movements, but it shouldn't be painful or hard. And you will need different weights- odds are you can bicep curl more than you can lateral raise. (I can curl 12lbs easy, still using 5lb weights for lat raises) If possible, do it in front of a mirror, because I cannot emphasise enough how important proper form is.

Thursday, February 16, 2006, 8:22 PM

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I would also add that if you are doing aerobics or walking with weights in hand, stick to lighter weights (not more than 3 pounds) so you don't stress your joints. Swinging them around quickly to keep up with movements could be hard on your elbows and shoulders.

I have been doing The Firm videos for about eight months and use weights ranging from 8 pounds for shoulders to 20 pounds each side for squats. All the muscle you build burns calories all day long, so I am not even close to bulky (115 pounds). Think of Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2 doing those pull ups - awesome shoulders!!

Friday, February 17, 2006, 9:59 AM

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