Weightlifting for women | Next steps

weightlifting for women next steps

It’s been a year since I wrote my beginner’s guide to weightlifting for women, and it’s proved to be one of the most-read posts on this blog. Since there seems to be so much interest in the topic of women working out with weights, I thought you might like an update on what happened next.

The short version is – a year on, I’m still (mostly) working out with weights. Which is surprising to me, because normally one of the ways I keep exercise interesting is by changing my routine every three to six months. But since every weights session is different (I might be flinging a kettlebell or squatting with a bar bell or using a machine) there’s much less capacity for it to get boring.

So right now, on a typical gym session I will run on the treadmill for 20 minutes, then spend the rest of the time on the weights. Since I spend a lot of my day at a keyboard I particularly focus on shoulders, arms, back and core. Gotta look after the machine.

weightlifting for women
This is what 50 looks like, if you were wondering

The other thing I’ve done is join a small group women-only weights training session. This involves working out with a personal trainer in groups of two to four. It’s a much more affordable way to work out with a trainer, plus it’s more fun than doing it on your own. It’s a very intensive session, and every week I feel like I can barely walk afterwards, yet by the next week there I am back again for more.

Fitness-wise the most exciting thing for me is that I can now do full press ups. I had been trying to do these for years and years with no success. My weedy arms just weren’t having it. Then when I passed 50 I figured it probably wasn’t going to happen.

However, a kind personal trainer showed me a little technique twist that made all the difference. Essentially it involves starting the press up with arms raised and lowering yourself down. I had been starting from the floor and attempting to hoick myself up and it was just impossible. And by making that change, pretty soon I could full press ups, and now I do 10 most days. I know it’s not massive by most people’s standards but it feels huge to me.

Stay strong, friends!

So if you are a woman who’s thinking of getting into working out with weights, this is my advice

  • Body Pump classes are a great place to start. They involve weightlifting to music; usually 10 tracks each focusing on a different muscle group.
  • Kettlebell classes are also great.
  • This book is worth reading.
  • Get some sort of expert help before you start. Even a single session with a personal trainer will be worth it if it stops you putting your back out.
  • Don’t be afraid to lift up the big weights (or at least bigger than you think you can manage).
  • Wear bright nail varnish. Trust me, it’s a good distraction.
  • Don’t be put off by how man-heavy the weights area in the gym is. You’re unlikely to be the only woman there and even if you are, so what? Be a pioneer.

Do you ever work out with weights? Would you? Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts on weightlifting for women