“New Year, New You.” While not a fan of that phrase, as we roll into the new year, a lot of women are looking to experiment with new things, and I am loving the increasing trend of women lifting weights! While I posted a version of this quite some time ago, here are my updated tips for beginning weightlifting or beginning strength training for women.
Don’t be afraid – just show up
I think the biggest concern that women have is mostly the intimidation factor.
Ask yourself – what is it that you are afraid of?
Afraid of not knowing what to do? See the tips below. Afraid of “getting bulky?” False. Afraid to fail? Do it anyway.
When I started lifting weights, I was just a little stick girl who would be knocked over by trying to squat a barbell. Now, I can squat more than my bodyweight and it feels amazing. There are women of all ages, all shapes, all sizes that make friends with the barbell and end up loving it (seriously, check them all out here!)! Conquer your fear; tell yourself that you can do it, and just do it!
Read books. Read blogs. Read forums. Read all the things!
There are a number of different programs out there for women to self-start, such as New Rules of Lifting for Women, Jamie Eason’s Live Fit, Bret Contreras’ Strong Curves, Rachel Cosgrove’s Female Body Breakthrough, or any of Nia Shanks’ programs.
Educate yourself on proper lift form and lifting techniques.
Youtube is FULL of videos on how to properly execute certain lifts. If you are able, record yourself doing the movements so you can watch yourself. Many sites allow you to post your videos online and do “form checks” so others can critique your form, or even so you can see yourself perform various lifts.
Ask for help
I started doing the New Rules of Lifting for Women program on my own with only the knowledge of what was in the book (and zero athletic background prior). While the book and other online programs may provide you with workouts and detailed explanations on how do to them, sometimes you need someone else’s advice to give you a little more confidence or an extra push.
I enlisted the help of a personal trainer (which was ridiculously expensive), but after the first few sessions, I knew that I was squatting properly, and knew the proper form on a deadlift. Even though I did not want to stick with a trainer full-time and break the bank, being able to have a solid foundation at light weights will help you as you move up in weight. If you do not have the funds to pay a trainer for a few sessions, sometimes they may offer a session for free and cram all you want to know in that session! 😉
Since I just started Crossfit, I think that is another amazing introduction to lifting, and overcoming the fear and intimidation of scary lifts. The instructors are trained to teach functional fitness and the workouts can be scaled down to any fitness level, so you work from the bottom up.
If your budget does not allow formal training or Crossfit classes, find a friend, significant other, or even a fellow gym goer to watch your form as you do the lifts. There are also plenty of free online networks such as Fitocracy where you can find others doing the same program or that have done similar workouts to compare notes, stories, etc.
Find a Community
Self-teaching can also open the doors for finding other resources or people interested in the same things as you. I have made huge connections on social networks such as Twitter and Instagram, and by connecting on Facebook with other women who lift. It is always refreshing to find like-minded women and those that you can throw ideas off of and compare notes.
Search on whatever program you have chosen and you are sure to find plenty of online groups of others doing the same.
Finding an in-person group such as going to a Crossfit box or attending group strength training classes at your gym, community is a key factor. Being able to have someone who “speaks the language” and can relate to your lifting is key to progressing further.
There are so many exciting and empowering reasons why you should strength train and why more women should make a resolution to lift more weights in the new year, but this is a great way to get you started!
Do you lift weights?
What was your biggest fear when you started lifting weights?
What it the biggest misconception that you discovered about women and strength training?