The following is a guest post by Nia Shanks of NiaShanks.com:

 

Let’s first tackle this notion of lifting “heavy.”

 

Throughout the article “heavy” with be classified as lifting challengingweights in the 5-8 rep range. And by challengingI mean a weight that allows you to complete 5-8 reps with perfect form with only a couple reps left in the tank, but no more. For instance, if you are to perform a set of 8 reps, you should use your 10-rep maximum - a weight you could perform for 10 reps but no more.

 

That is what we mean by heavy, challenging weights. Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s move on.

 

Why Should Women Lift Heavy Weights?

 

I’m so glad you asked! And I’ve got three irrefutable reasons, although there are many more than what’s listed here.

 

1. Build Confidence

 

nia shanks, lift like a girl, 30 day challenge, strength training challengeThis isn’t an advantage normally considered with heavy weight lifting, but it’s one of the most incredible perks. It never fails; anytime I take on a new client who is new to lifting heavy, their self-confidence skyrockets within a couple of weeks. It’s happened every single time.

 

One of the most likely reasons is because it allows them to see what they’re physically capable of doing. Many women are astounded when they perform their first set of picture perfect push-ups (and I’m not referring to the “girl” variety). Their face lights up with joy when they achieve a bodyweight chin-up. And let’s not forget how empowered a woman feels after ripping a lot of weight off the ground via some deadlift variation.

 

2. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

 

Don’t fall victim to the fitness insanity trap and do the same thing over and over again expecting different results. Yes, lifting heavy weights may be intimidating at first, but if you want to get results other methods have failed to produce, you’ve got to get outside your comfort zone. Likewise, if you want to test and build your physical strength, you have to challenge yourself in new ways.

 

3. Build the Body You Really Want

 

Many of my clients come to me after trying other popular fitness methods that failed. They’ve done the whole “light weight for very high reps” thing, and they’ve most certainly put in their fair share of cardio, often to the tune of hours every week. But despite their efforts, they never get the body they really want - that lean, toned physique they so desire.

 

Are you ready to experience these phenomenal benefits of lifting heavy? Then I’ve got just the challenge for you!

 

30 Day Lift Heavy Challenge

 

As the saying goes, “Don’t knock it ‘til you try it!” It’s time to lift heavy!

 

You can either follow a sample workout program as provided in this article, or you can simply apply the following guidelines to your current workout. That is, of course, as long as your present program consists of compound exercises. And please don’t misunderstand - I’m in no way encouraging you to lift heavy for thirty days straight. Apply the Lift Heavy Challenge guidelines to your current program, or follow the one listed above.

 

The Guidelines

 

  1. nia shanks, lift like a girl, 30 day challenge, strength training challengeTo properly execute the 30 Day Lift Heavy Challenge, you must use primarily compound exercises and some variation of each lift listed here: squat, deadlift, horizontal push and pull, and vertical push (as long as shoulder health allows) and pull. You can include some accessory work such as direct abdominal exercises, glute work, and single-leg exercises. The accessory exercises don’t have to be done in the 5-8 rep range, though.
  2. Use an exercise variation that works for you depending on the available equipment you have and any limitations. For instance, don’t perform a conventional deadlift if you can’t do so properly or safely; opt instead for a rack pull, trap bar deadlift, or single-leg Romanian deadlift.
  3. Go heavy! You must use a challenging weight in the 5-8 rep range for the compound exercises listed above.
  4. Use proper form, and never let it break down. If you don’t know what proper form is, you better find out.
  5. Improve your performance. You can’t lift the same weight for the same number or sets and reps every week during the course of the 30 Day Challenge. You must increase the weight used or perform more reps. I suggest starting with 5 reps and stick with that weight until you can perform 8 reps. Next time increase the weight 5-10 pounds and start back at 5 reps. A total of four sets (4x5-8) per exercise is a good place to start.
  6. Finally, if you’re a raw beginner, then use this beginner program.

 

As you’re going through the 30 Day Challenge, pay attention to a few things:

 

  • How are you feeling?
  • How are your clothes fitting?
  • Are you having fun?
  • Do you notice your self-confidence increasing?
  • Do you have more energy?

 

My Pledge to You

 

I’ll do my best to diminish your fear of lifting heavy. As long as you follow the above guidelines, I know you’ll be nothing less than astonished with the results - both physically andmentally.

 

Inevitably, some women will be fearful of getting “too big” from lifting heavy. Allow me to state right now that you will not get big ‘n bulky if you participate in the 30 Day Lift Heavy Challenge. I’ve shattered this myth by training female clients for the past ten years and not once has anyone claimed to have gotten too big.

 

If you’re the single exception to my entire career of encouraging women to lift heavy and you become overly muscle-bound, you have my sincere permission to call me a liar and a fraud. Heck, I’ll even forfeit my position as leader of the Lift Like a Girl Revolution.

 

Now, go lift something heavy!

 

Photos courtesy of Shutterstock.

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