Stop Lifting Like a Girl

I have opportunity to share some great fitness articles with you.

They are researched and written by Kate Occhipinti.

She is an collegiate athlete, a certified personal trainer and a student of exercise science. I know all of this for a fact, as Kate also happens to be my daughter. That makes me lucky in many ways but mostly because I get the opportunity to share her writings easily with you. She is what I consider an exceptional researcher and writer, so even if she wasn’t my daughter, I would still be wanting to share this valuable information with you. Her writings are relevant and real because she practices what she preaches. I know this for a fact too.

Why would I attempt to write about fitness when Kate Occhipinti has it all covered and says it all so well?  She is launching an amazing new business called “NO Skinny Girls”.  Let her know what you think of her idea by “liking” her page on FACEBOOK @ No Skinny Girls. Please read on because you will be pleasantly surprised at her fitness expertise and you may stop lifting like a girl when you understand why you should save the girly stuff for the “girls night out”, and take your strength and kick-butt attitude to the gym.

Kate says: Stop lifting like a girl.

There are two problems that we, women, face when it comes to exercise. One is that many of us avoid weight training all together and the other is NOT LIFTING ENOUGH WEIGHT while we weight train. If you do currently weight train my question to you is how much weight are you really lifting? In my experience as an avid female gym-goer and personal trainer is that I rarely see my female peers working as hard in the weight room as they do on the treadmill. For lack of a better expression, many choose to lift like girls. Maybe you too have seen the same rubber coated-pink dumbbells being used for tris, bis, back, chest, shoulders and even lunges…how cute! By no means am I saying that everyone should be lifting like a bodybuilder, however it is necessary to approach lifting with a certain amount of intensity to really get the most out of your time in the gym.

You can imagine how thrilled I was to learn that there is actually a published study conducted by The College of New Jersey that evaluated how much weight women typically self-select during weight training exercise. The results of the study are as follows:

  • Woman, who had worked with a personal trainer in the past, selected to lift weight for all exercises at an intensity that was~51.4% or about half of the maximum amount their muscles could handle a.k.a their max.
  • Women who had no former experience with a trainer selected weight that was~42.3% of their max.
  • Personal trainer or no personal trainer women were still on average lifting less than 60% of their total capacity.

So what does this all mean? This study and many studies conducted on the topic have found that to get the true benefits of weight training you should be lifting around 70% – 85% of your maximum capacity. Basically, the little pink dumbbells could be holding us back from creating lean muscle and building strong bones.  Now all this percent talk may sound confusing, but here is a good way to simplify it. Ask yourself after every set … was that challenging? If you could have lifted that specific weight more than 15 times, you are selling yourself short. Your goal for each set should be to do 8 to 12 reps so that the last 4 or 5 reps you are really feeling the burn! Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself, take it as a learning experience to really get to know your body and your limits. Chances are you are stronger than you think! If you do select a weight that is too heavy or too light just adjust it for next set.


In your opinion what is it that prevents women from lifting heavy enough to get the most out of their workout?

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