The winter months have a habit of adding a few extra kilos of bodyfat. With summer approaching and the thought of having to show your body to the world. Decreasing bodyfat may be your main training focus during the next few months.
There are many factors to consider when reducing bodyfat including: nutrition, cardiovascular training and resistance training. Two questions often asked are will weight training make me look like a bodybuilder and what type of resistance training should I do?
Resistance training is often misunderstood and ignored by women due to a fear of building to much muscle. In fact, for most women, to gain the large amounts of muscle needed for female bodybuilding is a most challenging and difficult task. The physical state reached by a female bodybuilding competitor usually takes years of specific training and the completion of a strict nutritional plan. The main reason why most women find it difficult to gain a large amount of muscle is there inability to produce a large amount of testosterone. Testosterone helps stimulate muscle building and the secretion of human growth hormone which in turn helps to increase muscle mass. Women produce on average one tenth the amount of testosterone than that of men. There are however several other hormones involved in building muscle, and the benefits of increasing muscle for the regulation of body fat demands that resistance training be apart of a weight control programme.
There are two main reasons why resistance training is an essential part of a balanced fat loss programme. Firstly, increasing muscle mass increases basal metabolic rate (BMR). Secondly, the calorie burning affect during a weight training workout.
BMR is the amount of energy required by your body to sustain its vital functions in a normal state. In English this means, the amount of calories your body burns to stay alive. If you increase your lean muscle mass you increase your BMR. Even with a small increase in lean muscle mass the body will increase the amount of calories burnt in a resting state e.g. 3kg increase in lean mass muscle = an extra 45 calories burnt per day.
Although 45 calories sounds like a small amount this equals over 16000 calories per year. Also consider the amount of calories burnt while performing the resistance training to gain the extra 3 kg of muscle. Although resistance training has a lower caloric expenditure than activities such as jogging or cycling, a 70kg individual will burn 350Kcal per hour while weight training.
A resistance programme for fat loss should focus on the following. Complex exercises such as compound sets and multiple task exercises (e.g. Power cleans, squats and lunges with bicep curls). Targeting larger muscle groups will not only produce a greater caloric demand but will also help with the functional aspects of your nervous system, such as coordination. Rep ranges of 15-20. Stay away from the muscle building zone of 8-12 rep range until you start to lose body fat. This is usually the cause of women feeling bulky from weight training and can be avoided by losing body fat before gaining muscle. Keep intensity high. If you are only going through the motions of a workout your body will not adapt to an increase in demands, which means limited results. Finally, change your programme at regular intervals. Keep your mind and body challenged, variation will place greater physical demands on your body and stop you getting bored.
The Exercise Programme
Before commencing this programme seek clearance from a medical practitioner. A six-week conditioning programme designed by a qualified instructor should be completed before commencing this programme.
The following programme is an example of an all-over body resistance programme. The main focus of this programme is to combine many muscle groups in single exercises. The programme should be followed for no more than 4 weeks. After completion, seek help from a qualified instructor or personal trainer for a change of programme.
The following programme should be completed 3 times per week. One day on, one day off. Aerobic training (20-40min) and core-stability training (abdominals and lower back) 2-3 days per week. A warm-up of 5-10 min cardio should be completed at the start of the workout. A warm down and full body stretch session should be completed at the end.
The Resistance Programme
Twist knee squats 3 15-20 Med Slow 60sec
Knee lift backwards lunge bicep curls 3 15-20 Med Slow 60sec
Burpee press up 3 Max B/weight Slow 60sec
Bent over barbell row 3 15-20 Med Slow 60sec
Bench dips with swiss ball 3 Max B/weight Slow 60sec
Do not hold your breath, breath out on exertion. Select a load suitable for the rep range. Maintain technique throughout exercise, once you lose your technique stop!
1. Twist Knee Squats
Start with feet wider than shoulder width, toes forward and slightly outward. With a wide grip hold the barbell above the head. Arms should be straight, do not lock out elbows. Keep elbows directly under the bar, eyes on the horizon and the chest up.
Move with hips first then knees. Squat as if sitting into a chair, keeping the abdominals strong. Stop decent if the heels start to rise or the pelvis tilts backward. Stop when the thighs are parallel to floor.
Drive through your heels using your glutes and quads. Keep eyes on the horizon, abdominals strong and the chest up throughout the movement. During up phase lift right knee up and across the midline of your body. When you reach the top of the exercise slowly lower your foot down to the starting position. Repeat exercise using the left knee.
2. Knee lift backwards lunge and bicep curls
Start with the left foot on the box (Larger box = increased intensity)
High knee lift + Bicep curl
Lift the right knee as high as possible while maintaining a neutral back position. At the same time perform a double bicep dumbbell curl. Return foot to standing position.
Backwards Lunge + Bicep curl
Perform a backwards lunge with the left foot and a double bicep dumbbell curl. Keep feet parallel and hips facing forward throughout the entire movement. Keep eyes on the horizon and the chest up throughout the exercise. Return to starting position. Perform all reps on right side then repeat number on left.
3. Burpee Press-up
Start in a press-up position with hands on a workout bench. Feet and hands are wider than shoulder width apart. Keep the back and neck in a neutral position throughout the entire exercise.
Burpee in toward bench while maintaining a neutral back and neck position
Without pausing Burpee out to the starting position
Keep back and neck in neutral position throughout entire press up.
4. Bent-over Barbell Row
Start with feet shoulder with apart. Hold the barbell with a reverse grip shoulder width apart. Bend at the hips while keeping the back and neck in a neutral position. Hold barbell just above knees.
Pull barbell up toward stomach while keeping your elbows close to your sides. Draw shoulder blades together at the top of the exercise.
Slowly lower bar to starting position.
5. Bench dips on Swiss ball
Place hands no more than shoulder width apart on the bench. Do not lock elbows. Place feet on a small Swiss ball.
Slowly lower your body until your arms are parallel with the floor. Keep your back straight and close to the bench during the down phase.
Return to starting position without locking elbows