Ask The Trainer: Women & Weights

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When it comes to weightlifting, you might automatically think of meatheads and guys that look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. But, if you’re a woman that “bulky” look is unlikely and experts say weightlifting is essential to your overall health. For some though, weightlifting can be intimidating, so here are some tips and go-to exercises to help you navigate the gym.

April Sharrock said, “The sky is the limit with women.” Sharrock is the manager at Ascent Fitness. She said the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn. Women don’t have enough testosterone to get that bulky look, but can tone and define their muscles with weight training. That’s something that can’t be achieved just logging hours on the treadmill.

“We have this thing in our mind where we have to burn fat when really what we need to be thinking about, is we need to build muscle because building muscle is a much more effective way of burning fat,” Sharrock said.

If that’s not enough to convince you to pump iron, how about this? “The big buzz word is osteoporosis,” she said. “Weightlifting is the only thing way to increase bone density.”

So what should you do?

First up, try a bench press. It can look intimidating, but the bar is only 45 pounds. Lie down on your back with your forehead about even with the bar, grip the bar where it’s comfortable and lift. Sharrock said to aim for 12 reps, rest and repeat. “By the last rep that you’ve set in your mind to do, it should be very challenging”

Same goes for the squat rack. “When we squat down we want our weight in our heels,” said Sharrock. “You only need to go to about a 90 degree range here with the knees.”

And for something to bump up your heartrate while working your back and core, try the battle ropes. “Everything is locked in place and we’re just going to drum these ropes on the ground, just like this,” Sharrock said. It looks easy, but after 30 seconds, you’ll feel it.

As for how much and how often, Sharrock said listen to your body and aim to lift three to four days a week.

If you have a question for the trainer, email

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