The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - JES­SICA HAGY

Weight lift­ing can be in­tim­i­dat­ing for new­com­ers. There’s equip­ment to learn, form to per­fect, and usu­ally a gag­gle of pumped-up bros in the way. If you’ve ever been cu­ri­ous about weight lift­ing — but too intimidated to try it — to­day’s your day. We talked through the ben­e­fits of lift­ing, and how to get started prop­erly with Claire Foun­tain, a per­sonal trainer and a con­trib­u­tor for THE/THIRTY.

Read on to learn how weight lift­ing can trans­form your body — with­out bulk­ing up. Know the ben­e­fits “Weight lift­ing is truly the best thing we can do for our bod­ies as women. Too of­ten we wear our­selves and our bod­ies out on car­dio ma­chines. Lift­ing weights burns as many calo­ries per hour, and gives the ben­e­fit of build­ing mus­cle mass. More mus­cle mass means a higher rest­ing metabolic rate, so your body will be more ef­fi­cient at us­ing calo­ries (and main­tain­ing a healthy weight) when you build mus­cle,” Foun­tain ex­plains.

Plus, “mus­cles will shape your body, so aes­thet­i­cally it’s a win-win. Be­ing strong and feel­ing ca­pa­ble does a great deal for women’s self­es­teem and con­fi­dence and weight lift­ing also helps to in­crease en­dor­phins that help to fight off de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety.”

For­get the myth that you’ll bulk up

“If you’re a fe­male who is try­ing to be leaner, or ‘smaller,’ the idea of be­ing bulky can be very fright­en­ing, but it’s a huge mis­con­cep­tion that you will get bulky. Lift­ing weights will raise your me­tab­o­lism, help to shape your body, and it will make you leaner in the long run. Women don’t have the hor­monal ca­pac­ity to re­ally ‘bulk’ up. Also, to truly put on mus­cle mass, you also have to eat to fuel that with sur­plus calo­ries for build­ing,” Foun­tain says. Learn good form If all of these ben­e­fits have you sold, be­gin by learn­ing proper form. Foun­tain cau­tions that you shouldn’t go it alone to start. In­stead, “watch YouTube, read, ed­u­cate your­self on lift­ing, and — if pos­si­ble — sched­ule a ses­sion with a trainer. It might be in­cluded with your gym mem­ber­ships. Use the ses­sion as a time to dis­cuss form or what you’d like to work on. It can be re­ally help­ful for be­gin­ners, as form is im­por­tant for safety,” Foun­tain sug­gests.

Start with these ba­sic moves

Squat “Though it will not give you a mas­sive butt overnight, a squat will tone and shape your en­tire lower body — quads, ham­strings, glutes — and strengthen your core. It also has an im­pact on mo­bil­ity, bal­ance, and mus­cles through­out the en­tire body,” Foun­tain says. To prac­tice: Place a step or bench be­hind you. Shoot­ing the hips be­hind you, squat down to sit on the bench

Once your butt hits the bench, press through the heels with a tight core back to stand­ing.

Note: It’s im­por­tant to keep your shoul­ders down and back and your face for­ward. Pushup “Women are of­ten afraid of pushups and seem to al­ways get on their knees. As women, we are ca­pa­ble of do­ing real pushups,” Foun­tain says. To prac­tice: Start at an in­cline (such as hands on a bench).

Pre­pare pushups with a tight core and neu­tral neck.

Note: As you progress, you can move to the ground. Dead­lift A dead­lift will “work all the mus­cles of the pos­te­rior chain (think back, butt, backs of your legs, ham­strings) and lifts and tones the body. It is also one of the best core ex­er­cises out there,” Foun­tain says. To prac­tice: Stand with soft knees and weight (s) in your hands.

Keep­ing the back tight, hinge at the hips, and bend the knees slightly.

Keep­ing the neck and head in line with the spine, hinge for­ward with the weight close to the legs (as if it’s slid­ing down the legs).

Squeeze the glutes and re­turn to stand­ing, com­ing back to your be­gin­ning po­si­tion.

Note: It is easy to let the back be lax here, but that is dan­ger­ous to the spine. Make sure you are en­gag­ing the mus­cles of the back and core as you hinge.


Lift­ing weights will raise your me­tab­o­lism, help to shape your body and it will make you leaner in the long run.

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