Body Sculpting Made Easy

by Charlotte Wood
(last updated August 16, 2012)

The term "lifting weights" carries with it a very masculine connotation, one many women shy away from, wanting to preserve their identifying femininity. When a man says he lifts weights, images of six pack abs, rock hard arms, and the firefighter calendar surface, so culturally, muscular physique is associated with men—you don't see too many women boasting of melon-sized muscles.

The fact is, however, most women don't have the physical capability to develop those kinds of muscles. Weightlifting doesn't have the same effect on the fairer sex that it does on men. Muscles like the ones found on Baywatch take significant amounts of testosterone (and perhaps even more than that) and women just don't naturally have that. Regardless of whether women don't lift weights because they think it's for men or they refrain for fear of growing muscularly huge, the fact remains that weightlifting for women, more commonly referred to as body sculpting, is actually very healthy and beneficial.

Body sculpting is a tried-and-proven way to reshape your body and give it healthy tone. While working out won't turn fat into muscle and vice versa, body sculpting can burn fat and increase muscle. Keeping your body in muscular shape will also bode well for your physical future; maintaining a toned body will hinder fat gain and greater prevent loss of strength. Body sculpting also aids in the prevention of osteoporosis by keeping the bones strong. Granted, body sculpting won't necessarily result in weight loss because muscle actually weighs more than fat. Despite what the scale may say muscle weight slims the body as opposed to fatty weight, which is not so slimming.

Getting into weightlifting isn't that difficult actually and in my experience, the results come quick! You don't even have to go to a gym if you don't want to (a prospect which always deters me); you can buy a few sets of dumbbells and achieve many of the same results. You don't need to do it every day and probably shouldn't so as to give your body time to adequately recover. Start off easy and then slowly work your way up to more repetitions and more weight.

Upper Body:

  • Using dumbbells (probably 5 – 15 lbs.) hold in hands and start in a resting position with arms down and palms facing outward. Lift weights, either together or alternating, 10 times. When lifting use your arms and don't use your back to lift. Repeat 2 – 3 times.
  • Take a weight and hold with both hands behind your head. (This exercise usually requires a lighter weight). Lift straight up (still using both hands) 8 – 10 times. Repeat 2 – 3 times.
  • Take two weights and hold them at the shoulder. Lift them straight up while returning them to shoulder height. Do 8 – 10 reps and repeat 2 – 3 times.
  • For abs, lie down flat your back and then keeping your legs together lift and lower without touching your legs to the ground. Do 8 – 10 times and repeat the set 2 – 3 times.

Lower Body:

  • Take two weights and hold one in each hand with your arms resting straight at your side. Find some stairs (if you don't have stairs pile some phone books) and step up and down the stairs 10 – 20 times. As you do this use both legs, putting one up and then the other and then go back down. Repeat set 2 – 3 times.
  • Lie down on your side while supporting yourself with your elbow. Lift your leg up and down 10 – 15 times. Repeat 2 – 3 times and switch to other leg.
  • Lie down on your side while supporting yourself with your elbow and keep your legs together and slightly angled forward. Lift the top leg and move in a cyclical motion. Do 8 – 10 times and repeat 2 – 3 times.

Another way to body sculpt without actual weights is bodyweight sculpting exercises like Pilates. As you build up your muscle you may want to add running or some other cardio exercise to your fitness plan, that way you can be better on your way to overall fitness!

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