There's a lot of hype surrounding weight training and building bulky muscles, but introducing dumbbells to your workout won't instantly turn you into a Jodie Marsh look-a-like.
Building lots of muscle that alters your body shape takes many years, expert nutrition and complete dedication. Unlike men, women don't produces masses of testosterone which is key in building big bulky muscles. Instead weight training will make you shapelier, thinner and more toned.
If you need even more proof that weight training is a good idea just look at Victoria's Secret model Miranda Kerr. She Tweeted this snap of herself doing bicep curls with heavy weights and she makes a living from having a slim, womanly figure.
We asked Fitness First personal trainer, AJ Perera, to reveal the simple exercises he recommends for women who want to train with weights. Check his advice out below and let us know what you think...
Start by doing body weight squats to get the technique down. Extend your arms straight out in front of you with your palms down and keep your feet flat on the floor a little wider than your shoulders. Think of sitting on a chair and slowly bend your legs to start the exercise, making sure to keep your back as straight as possible. You should also keep your head up and try to look straight ahead during the exercise. Keep your feet flat on the floor as you squat down. When your thighs are parallel to the floor, stand back up to finish the first repetition.
Once you've mastered this try three sets of 15 weighted squats and rest for 30 seconds after each set.
Holding a dumbbell in each hand place your right foot forward while your left foot is behind your body about one stride-length apart. Flexing the left foot,slowly sink down. This will set off your right knee to bend. Put your weight on the heel of your front foot to work the buttock muscle most effectively. Return to starting position and work with the other leg.
The only weight you need for this killer exercise is your own bodyweight which will put strain on the muscles in your upper body. Start on your hands and knees on a mat with your hands directly under your shoulders (fingers facing forward and knees under your hips).
Squeeze your abdominals and pull your shoulder blades down. Reposition your knees as needed to create a straight line in your body from the knees, through the torso and out through the head. There should be no bend at the hips. Keep the abdominals braced. Keeping the torso rigid and head aligned with your spine, slowly bend your elbows and lower your body toward the floor.
Do not allow your lower back to sag or your hips to hike upward. Continue to lower yourself until your chest or chin touch the mat. Maintaining a rigid torso and head aligned with your spine, press upward through your arms. Do not allow your low back to sag or your hips to hike upward. Continue pressing until the elbows are straight.
One Arm Row
With a 5kg dumbbell in your right hand, place your left knee and your left hand on top of a bench for support. Let your right arm hang down and a bit forward. Pull your abdominals in and bend forward from the hips so that your back is naturally arched and roughly parallel to the floor, and your right knee is slightly bent.
Tilt your chin toward your chest so that your neck is in line with the rest of your spine. Pull your right arm up until your elbow is pointing to the ceiling, your upper arm is parallel to the floor, and your hand comes to the outside of the ribcage.
Lower the weight slowly back down. After three sets of 15 repetitions (with 30 second rests in between), do the opposite side.
Aim to do these exercises three times a week on alternate days combined with a healthy diet.
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