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Personal Tips From a 22 Year Old College Student

Today’s tip : Girls should lift weights.


Why should women lift weights?

  • If you are looking to get “toned”, you’ll need to lift weights.
  • If you are looking to lose weight, lifting weights will increase your metabolism, helping you do this much faster and also helping to keep it off. You’ll also look better once you’ve achieved your weight loss goals!
  • Lifting weights will help you achieve your fitness goals, no matter what they are.

But I don’t want to get all big and bulky!

You won’t. Seriously. Women are nearly incapable of this, unless you do roids or eat 5000 calories/day. And even then it’s still pretty hard.
Do not be afraid of getting too muscular. It won’t happen by accident.

Check out these big, bulky women for yourself:

Girl deadlifts 325 lb (in 123 lb weightclass):

235lb deadlift (featuring awesome yelling):

Sarah Bertram clean & jerks 95kg (209.4 lb):

Youngest to strongest girls of some weightlifting club:

146kg/321.2lb x 10 squat:


Are you ready to hit those weights yet? Here’s a great excerpt from pg 13-14 of Brain Over Brawn: Smart Solutions to Regain and Maintain Strength, Health & Youth


Let us start with a few simple observations that illustrate a common bit of widespread and prevalent misinformation, and likewise underscore chronic symptoms women as a population face:

1. The average woman (and almost all the not-average ones) is utterly and completely unable to get “buff” or “bulky” naturally by lifting heavy weights.
2. The same average woman suffers from significantly underdeveloped (though fortunately correctable) upper body strength
3. Women are four times as likely to develop osteoporosis compared to men
4. Osteoporosis can be prevented or reversed through simple loading exercises
(i.e. lifting heavy weights) and proper nutrition

We as a culture are obsessed with ‘skinny’, and many women have bought into it off the fear of becoming ‘big and bulky’. Now, I accept the risk of sounding like a broken record to drive this point home, and despite being a rabid feminist, I’ll also hazard coming off as a biased, chauvinistic pig. Our society’s fascination with the airhead rat-dog-in-purse spoiled brat has the unfortunate side-effect of inadvertently elevating that stereotype as a role-model. (And let us not even start on the issues with modern role models.) At barely eighty-five pounds if you count the Juicy Couture shorts and open-back shirt, this feeble specimen exists on a diet of Coke Zero, cigarettes, and bulimia. The modern and ever-popular image of the emaciated runway model is contra-survival, an evolutionary dead end. In any age other than this one, such a specimen could only exist as a novelty, pet, or through the indulgent support of others. This idolization is not only misrepresentative and insulting to the many women who courageously have and do champion women’s rights in the United States, but on a deeper level is disrespectful of women’s (and our species’) strength throughout the past.

Throughout history, survival has favored those who are clever, tough and fortunate. Natural selection operates impartially and without mercy; weakness and lacking the ability to adapt or overcome is an evolutionary dead-end. Only the strong survive. A harsh climate or hostile environment naturally produces a tougher and hardier creature; consequently, the weaker die off at a higher rate. More than any other group or minority, women have suffered discrimination and hardship under consistent global patriarchies and survived. They have survived every war, plague, famine, and crisis that has befallen us, with the additional struggle of being treated as inferior. These experiences and natural selection have made them deceptively tough. This may be readily demonstrated in our DNA: a female undergoing strength training will make gains comparable to a male without the accompanying obvious increase in size. She may gain physical strength and stamina without sacrificing compactness or agility; if men are a slow, heavy axe, women are a swift sword.

Though the written record myopically focuses on the wealthy and the noble elite (and the male, they being the writers of history), life for the rest of the species has been difficult and unforgiving. The masses struggled valiantly, and in turn were rewarded with survival, women and men both. And no amount of patriarchal dogma, misogyny, or celebrity worship can make this otherwise. The only thing preventing women from assuming an equal (or heavens forefend, even dominant) role is the long-standing social tradition of masculine dominance, and the tactics of intimidation from those who continue to enjoy the benefits of such an arrangement.

But these times they are a’changin’

But how do I do it?

The first thing to read is to read up on lifting weights, the do’s and don’ts, and any frequently asked questions. Men and women follow the same training principles, so everything below applies to you too!
Great, no-BS information about everything related to weightlifting. Female oriented!
Exercise & Muscle Directory
Power Training Exercises

Recommended Beginning Workout Routines

If you just want to get in the gym and start lifting, here are some workout routines we recommend for beginners. Pick one and get to it!

Starting Strength
Stripped 5×5
Beginner workout: Full Body (via Stumptuous)
Beginner workout: Upper/Lower Split (via Stumptuous)

Free Weights vs. Machines

Machines are better than nothing, but are not ideal. Free weights are almost always better than machines, and everyone on this forum will tell you so. You do not need to start on machines to build up to the free weights, and using the machines is in no way “safer” than using the free weights.

The free weights section of the gym is often dominated by men, and you might find this intimidating. This is understandable, but not a good excuse! Get in there and start lifting. It will get easier. Most people are too concerned with whatever they’re doing in the gym to pay attention to you anyway!

For more information, here’s a great article from Stumptuous about the benefits of free weights: Don’t fear the free weights!

Some notes on specific machines:

Assisted Pullup & Dip Machine [pic] – The average woman doesn’t have the strength to do pull ups or dips when she first starts strength training. This machine is pretty awesome, and will offset some of your weight so you can work up to doing these exercises with your full body weight. This machine is good. Use it!

Smith Machine [pic] – This machine is a barbell in between two steel rails, fixed so that it can only move straight up and down. Some people have been deluded into thinking that this machine is “safer” for barbell exercises. It is not, and don’t listen to anyone that tells you this. Especially for things like back squats and deadlifts, the straight up-down motion of the bar is totally unnatural and can actually lead to injury in certain cases! The smith machine has some other uses (shrugs, calf raises, pullups), but we usually advise against using it in most cases.

Should I hire a trainer?

Probably not.

Good trainers do exist. Unfortunately, you probably won’t find a good one. Anyone can call themselves a personal trainer, and many of them have awful ideas and misconceptions about women lifting weights (or really, anyone lifting weights). The last women’s weightlifting thread was full of personal trainer horror stories.

Many of the women around here, including myself, learned their way around a gym armed with only the information found on this very forum! If you have any questions or concerns, post here and we’ll be thrilled to help. You can even post videos here of your weightlifting and we can help correct your form!

If you really do want a personal trainer, check out this great article from stumptuous to help you find a good one: How to choose a personal trainer


Information pulled from the SomethingAwful forums.

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Written by lordsinsurancelog

January 21, 2011 at 11:02 pm

Posted in Opinions