Why Women Lift: Is training with light weights better than heavy weights for women?
Debunking popular myths regarding women and lifting heavy.
We asked our female clients and trainers: Is training with light weights better than heavy weights for women?
Here’s what they had to say.
“It depends on your goals.
More specifically, it depends on whether you want to work on endurance strength or explosive strength, because the weight that you use does affect the type of muscle fibres being recruited when you lift.
Our muscles are made up of two types of muscle fibres- slow-twitch and fast-twitch. Lifting heavy weights recruit fast-twitch fibres which taps into your fat stores in your body for energy, working directly on your muscle-growth and fat-burning hormones, compared to lifting light weights.
For my own training routine, I do a mix of heavy weights/low reps and lighter weights/high reps just to benefit from a variety of muscles fibres being recruited and to continually challenge myself beyond my comfort zone.”
– Sharlynn Ooi, Personal Trainer at Level
“If you’re training for maximal strength such as for powerlifting or weightlifting, then naturally you would need to train with heavier weights at a lower rep range.
If you were training for hypertrophy (building muscle), you would want your sets to be in the range of about 8-12 reps; which means that you’d definitely need to use weights that are lighter than your one rep max.”
– Krystle Theseira, Personal Trainer at Level
“Light weights are excellent for learning the basics of resistance training, but at some point you will outgrow your weights as you will find yourself having to do endless number of repetitions to even stimulate or fatigue your muscles.
Working with moderately heavy weights at a moderate intensity within 6-15 repetitions have been shown to be more effective in stimulating muscle growth, so if you are looking to get stronger and build lean muscle mass, heavier weights will be the way to go!
Of course, lifting heavier weights demands good form and technique, so if you want to stay injury-free, working with a coach is highly recommended!”
– Hannah Ko, Personal Trainer at Level
“I think it’s important to understand and listen to your own body, and what it can do.
The trainers at LEVEL are always there to spot the clients when we train so I generally feel very comfortable to increase my weights to improve my strength, every time I go there.”
– Ling Tew, Sales Rep
“It’s always important to understand why you’re lifting the weight you’re lifting.
You may wish to go light to hone your technique, but increase the weight to improve your strength.
There have been countless times where Coach John has asked me to reduce the weight for a new technique, which then ultimately allowed me to lift heavier.
Heavy doesn’t always mean better!”
– Suraya Shulhameed, Tax Lead
“There are multiple training methods to train for strength, power, endurance, speed etc.
Lifting heavy weights for base strength is a great foundation for all of that and more.
The lighter weights can come into play when you’re working power or endurance.”
– Tiffany Tan, Personal Trainer at Level
“If you compare 1kg weighted pulses for one minute vs a set of 10kg shoulder presses – you will build more muscle and definition with the latter.
I have continued to lift heavy while pregnant, though I have scaled back the weight.
For example, instead of doing a 1 rep max 80kg back squat, I now do 5×5 55kg back squats because I know that my goal is not to push for a PR, but to keep myself fit enough to have a healthy pregnancy and a smooth labour.”
– Evadne Woon, Personal Trainer at Level
Read More of our Blog Posts
We asked our female clients and trainers: What are the benefits of lifting weights for women? Here’s what they had to say.
We asked our female clients and trainers: will you get bulky lifting weights? Here’s what they had to say.
We asked our female clients and trainers: is aerobic exercise more effective than resistance training (for burning fat)? Here’s what they had to say.
We asked our female clients and trainers: What would you say to a woman who’s afraid to lift heavy? Here’s what they had to say.
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