LEP Fitness


A Womans Guide to Lifting Weights : Everything You Need To Know In Less Than 1,500 Words!

A Womans Guide to Lifting Weights : Everything You Need To Know In Less Than 1,000 Words!

The myth that when women lift weights they become masculine has well and truly been debunked!

Slowly but surely weight training is getting the credit it deserves amongst the female population. Thankfully nowadays, more and more ladies are realising that weight training is actually going to enhance their body shape more than any fad on the market!

Everything you need to get started…

In this post I aim to articulate and provide a concise article, explaining everything you need to know about weight training. The aim is to educate you (quickly!) so you can start to get results immediately and eventually obtain the body you’ve always wanted. I’ll be sharing loads of free tips and discussing strategies to ensure you start your new endeavour on the right foot!

Get off to the right start : Hire A Personal Trainer

Before we dive in I can’t stress how important it is to hire a personal trainer. One of my biggest regrets is not hiring a coach sooner, had I have done so i’d have progressed much quicker (ah well you live and you learn!). A good coach will create a plan of action and teach you the proper techniques to ensure you start your journey correctly. Even if you can only afford a couple of lessons i’d strongly encourage you to invest.

Phase 1: Machines 

women weight training - personal trainer sheffield

For those of you who are just starting out i’d recommend using weight machines, especially for your first 8-12 weeks. Machines lock you in position, provide more stability and are a great place to build up your confidence and strength. Exercises like the lateral pull down, chest press, shoulder press and leg press machines are all good places to start. A good personal trainer will show you the exercises and create a plan for you to follow.

Phase 2: Free Weights 

woman using free weights - sheffield personal trainers - LEP Fitness

Once you’ve built up a slightly stronger foundation it’s time to progress to the free weights. Free weights are an incredible tool for sculpting and shaping your body. They are fantastic because you have a wide range of exercises to play with, you can target your muscles from different angles – improving coordination and athleticism.

The trouble with free weights is that you’re more likely to injure yourself if your technique is poor. Again by hiring a good personal trainer, even for just a couple of sessions, you can learn the ropes and ensure you’re executing techniques correctly.

Train Heavy with Low Reps

Don’t be afraid to lift heavier weights! Of course not at the expense of poor technique, but the heavier weights you lift (providing form is good) the quicker your body shape will change. Improving your strength is absolutely imperative to getting results.

Eradicate the notion that women should lift light weights and do high reps – it’s a complete fallacy! In fact it’s much better for women to do lower reps (6-10) and lift heavy.

Don’t worry I 100% guarantee that you’re not going to get ‘hench’ or ‘masculine’! In over 7,000 personal training sessions i’ve never had any woman complain about the results achieved through weight training!

Train 4x per week

In order to see results you’ll need to be lifting weights at least 4x per week. I’d recommend doing 2 upper body sessions and 2 lower body sessions. You’d train upper body on your first session and then lower body on your second session, alternating between the two to aid recovery. A common training split i’ll use with LEP members is:

  • Monday: Lower body (1)
  • Tuesday: REST
  • Wednesday: Upper body (1)
  • Thursday: Lower body (2)
  • Friday: REST
  • Saturday: Upper body (2)
  • Sunday: REST

Keep your workouts short (30-45 mins)

Women have far less natural testosterone compared to men. Long workouts will only encourage muscle loss and fatigue. It’s much better to keep workouts short and sweet. I’d recommend keeping sessions to 30-45 minutes.

Progressive overload

In order to keep improving your body needs to be constantly challenged. If you want your body to adapt and progress you need to gradually place it under more and more stress – this is called ‘overload’. As you overload your body by adding more weight, overtime your body will adapt to the new stress and continue to get stronger and improve muscle shape and size.

Log your lifts

When you start training it’s super important to track/log your workouts. Once you’ve learned how to execute exercises correctly it’s essential to keep improving your lifts so you can get stronger. A log book is a fantastic piece of kit so you can keep track of your sessions where you should aim to improve regularly. Here’s the gym diary I use 

Figure out your one-rep max

If you don’t know already, a one-rep max is the maximum amount of weight you can lift for one rep. It’s basically assessing your maximum strength for each lift. 

It’s beneficial to do a one-rep max on exercises such as:

  • Deadlift
  • Sumo deadlift
  • Romanian deadlift
  • Barbell back squat
  • Front squat
  • Hack squat
  • Bench press
  • Dumbbell press
  • One-arm dumbbell row 
  • Leg press

How do you figure out your one rep max? Lots of my clients will use the Max Bench Calc because it’s very accurate and will save time. Once you know your one-rep max, you can then use this to figure out percentages such as 60-70% of your one-rep max for when it comes to doing your slightly higher rep sets, i.e., 6-10 reps. 

I’d recommend doing your one-rep max before starting a new training phase to establish your starting point. Then you can do it once every 3-6 months to see if your one-rep max is going up over time – which it will if you’re training and nutrition are on point. 

WARNING – One thing I will say is that if you do your one-rep max make sure you do it with a qualified personal trainer – somebody who knows what they are doing.  

Also, If you are new to lifting weights, I wouldn’t worry too much about this metric. Wait until you’ve gained some weight training experience – at least 3 (maybe even 6) months. 

Eat more protein 

You’re not going to build lean, sculpted muscle unless you’re eating lots of protein. Foods like chicken, turkey, steak, salmon, mince, eggs, and nuts are all excellent sources.

If you’re on the go all the time then protein shakes are a quick, easy and effective way of upping your protein intake (i’d recommend the Optimum Nutrition Whey Protein)

It’s also really important to make tasty foods which you enjoy. Why don’t you try out this delicious protein cheesecake recipe…

Protein Cheesecake

Ingredients & How to Make:

Base * 1 cup seedless raisins * 1 cup shredded or dessicated coconut * 2 tbsp raw cacao powder Blend till combined, 2 tbsp water might be needed to make stock together. Place in a lined tin 8″ round.

Cheesecake * 3 cups soaked cashew nuts * 1/2 cup agave or honey (depending on vegan choice) * 1/4 cup raw cacao powder * 1/2 cup melted coconut oil * Jordans skinny syrup salted caramel flavour. Other flavours could be used like orange extract for a chocolate orange version.

Blend till combined and place onto base, place in the fridge till set roughly 3 – 4 hours.

*For more recipes like this head over to the recipe section of the site

Thanks so much for reading, I hope you learned a thing or two which will help you going forwards. If you have any questions please comment below and i’ll get back to you. Also if you’re a woman here’s some more free articles that I specifically wrote to try and help…

Thanks again for reading, until next time!


Nick (Founder of LEP Fitness