To the uninitiated, the weights area can seem like the most intimidating part of the gym, but according to a new study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, it's the most important for women to master. Researchers found that women who did strength training had a lower BMI and reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, and a 2011 study even found it can slow the aging process by strengthening muscles.
If you've dismissed weightlifting as a male-only sport, Felicia Oreb and Diana Johnson, the personal trainer duo behind Base Body Babes, say you're losing out. "We encourage women to work out with weights because we know it is the best way to sculpt, strengthen and ultimately change the body," they tell MyDomaine. "We love to feel strong, and of course look and feel good, and we know that training with weights using a well-designed program will achieve this better than any other form of training."
If you're unsure about how to use weights, Oreb and Johnson caution against this rookie error. "The most common mistake people make is allowing their technique to break down in an attempt to just get the reps in," they say. Rather than feeling pressured to lift the biggest weight you can handle, the duo recommend starting small. "Reduce the weights you are lifting so you are able to complete each rep with perfect technique."
Up to the challenge? Follow their routine below to build strength, sculpt your body, and feel great for summer.
Base Body Babes Full-Body Workout
The duo recommends their signature full-body workout to get toned for summer. "[It's] a simple and super-effective workout that will burn loads of calories and get you looking and feeling fit and strong," they say. Do it three days per week to start seeing results.
- 15 x goblet squats
- 15 x flat dumbbell bench press
- 15 x dumbbell Romanian dead lifts
- 15 x one-arm rows (each arm)
- 30 x kettlebell swings
- 30-second plank
Perform the first six exercises back-to-back with no rest in between, only the time it takes to move to the next exercise.
Rest for 100 seconds after the plank at the end of each circuit.
- Holding a dumbbell or kettlebell with your hands on the top of your chest, keeping the equipment in contact with your body throughout the entire movement.
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than your shoulders and toes pointing slightly outward, the feet must remain flat on the floor throughout the entire movement, and the knees should travel in the same direction as your toes.
- Keep your chest up and look straight ahead.
- Squat as deep as your body will allow while still maintaining a neutral spine and perfect posture.
- Stand back up and repeat the movement again.
Flat dumbbell bench press
- Lie down on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand and hold the dumbbells by your shoulders.
- Shuffle your shoulder blades back so that they are slightly retracted.
- Using a neutral grip (palms facing each other), and feet flat on the floor, press the weight straight up until your arms are locked out.
- Bring the weight back down to your shoulders and repeat, ensuring you are keeping your chest up and shoulder blades back.
Dumbbell Romanian dead lifts
- Stand upright with your feet approximately shoulder-width apart and a dumbbell in each hand held against the front of your legs.
- Bend forward with a slight bend in your knees, keeping your chest up, shoulder blades back and your spine in neutral.
- Lower the dumbbells down the front of your legs, pushing your bottom back and feeling a slight stretch in the hamstrings.
- Have a slight bend in your knees, and lower the dumbbells to mid-shin.
- Once the dumbbells are at mid-shin, stand upright with the dumbbells until you are at your starting position, and repeat.
- Place a knee on the bench, and post your other leg out to the side to create a nice solid base to perform this exercise.
- With one hand on the bench supporting your body, pick up the dumbbell with your other hand.
- Row the weight up, using your upper back and squeezing the weight up into your chest.
- Control the dumbbell back down to the original starting position.
- Ensure you are pushing your shoulder blades up and down into your back pocket as you row.
- Pick up the kettle bell with both hands.
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Point your toes slightly outward.
- Use your hips to drive the weight up to about shoulder height and back down again in between your legs.
- Repeat this movement gaining momentum through each swing and ensuring you keep your body tight and chest up.
Do you incorporate strength training in your routine? Tell us if you've noticed a difference.