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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Strength Training For Women - Building Muscle Tone

When it comes to fitness, women either stay away from it, or they seem to only do countless hours of cardio. There seems to be such a fear of gaining too much muscle. Weight lifting for women is an issue that no one seems to address openly.

I can understand this, because it can happen. As a woman, I can't say what a lot of people in the fitness industry say-"You won't get bulky muscles because it's impossible." That is not true. While you may not get the results a man can get, you may get too bulky for a woman.

First I want to just mention a couple of benefits of a woman having muscle- Increased metabolism, higher energy level, muscle helps prevent osteoporosis because it aids in preventing bone loss, muscle burns more fat on a daily basis (so you have a lower body fat percentage), etc. The biggest benefit is that your confidence level soars! You feel and look good.

The difference between toned or lean muscle is pretty apparent. Bulky muscle is obvious a! nd can be one of the first things that you would notice about a woman. Lean muscle is smaller and looks more fitting. It doesn't look like the person has spent countless hours in the gym. It's not the first thing that you would notice.

Most women go for the toned muscle look. Let me tell you what will not accomplish this.

1) Doing nothing but aerobic exercise will not get you that lean toned body. This won't do anything because you aren't challenging your muscles the way you would be in lifting weights. Cardio is about getting your heart rate up and a moderate amount of it, along with strength training, is great.

2) Lifting moderate to heavy weight and doing a few sets and repetitions will get you bulky, not toned. This kind of weight is great for men, not women.

So, how can you build muscle tone? It's about the amount of weight you lift and the number of sets and repetitions you do. Building muscle tone is not too difficult. There are two simple met! hods for building muscle definition:

1) Pick a light wei! ght and an exercise. Do 4 sets of 13-15 repetitions. The weight should be light enough so that your muscles aren't fatigued on your last repetition, but you should still feel like you couldn't do much more. Your breaks between sets should only be 15 seconds.

2) Pick a light/moderate amount of weight and an exercise. Do 3 sets of 12 repetitions. The amount of weight you pick shouldn't be that different from a light weight. Your breaks will be 30 seconds.

I recommend the first method, as I have a lot of experience of it. I have used it for 4 years and it gets the job toned. It will give you that lean toned look you want. But, both of these methods should provide the same results.

In the end you will have lean muscle, not overly worked, bulky muscle. Just remember to be careful who you listen to for instructions. Not everyone will understand your personal goal.

Julie Russell is a fitness & nutrition enthusiast, who is constantly expanding her knowledge regarding! strength training and maintaining a healthy diet. Visit her website at You'll find lots of free fitness and nutrition tips as well as reviews of the best fitness and nutrition products Online.

To learn how you can have access to over 43 Online workout sites, including workouts websites for women, go to Best Workouts Online.

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