Barbells and body shape are an odd combination aren't they? Fortunately though they are a match made in heaven! Lots of people especially women seem to think - wrongly I might add - that if you start lifting weights they will start looking like the incredible hulk. This unfortunately is a common myth wheeled by the cardio kings of fitness, the real truth is that women need testosterone to bulk up and we haven't got enough in our bodies so without some nasty supplements you are never going to look big and bulky using the barbell. It is in fact a perfect piece of equipment for women to help themselves later in life deal with changes in their bone strength, and also to boost their confidence AND change their body shape.
If you start lifting weights using a good periodised strength plan you could be feeling strong, confident and building lean muscle in a short-time. No faddy diets are needed, no diet drinks either just some hard-work, good technique and great planning from either yourself or a qualified Level 3 PT.
As with everything getting it right is by far the most important part of any strength plan. I video myself performing some of the compound movements to look at my form. You see form is everything when it comes to lifting weights, and by lifting weight I mean Olympic barbells and weights so these are pretty heavy. The barbell itself is a full 20kg and that’s without any load on. So you can imagine if your technique is incorrect lifting theses sorts of loads can really hurt you.
If your interested in starting a strength plan the best thing to do is see someone who can give you some good instruction on what the movements looks like, how you position your body and also how to actually start lifting! Some people jump right into without starting light and progressing far too quickly, this is a sure-fire way to fail. You will get terrible DOMS (delayed on-set muscle soreness), it will really affect how you move in your day-to-day life for 2-5 days depending on how bad it is. Getting up a flight of stairs will feel like some kind of inhuman torture! So my advice is start off light and then with progression comes small increments of weight.
Measuring progression is pretty simple when it comes to lifting weights, and if you use the ‘overload principle’ -which means that in order to improve, athletes must continually work harder as they their bodies adjust to existing workouts- then I guarantee you WILL see improvements/gains. It's one of the best feelings to be able to start lifting a barbell loaded with 20kg and 2-3 months later be able to load it with another 80kg and lift it! You are talking big gains and then lets talk about the shape of your body and how it will become leaner, much more toned and tighter. I really think lifting weights is a win win -WHEN you do it properly.
I try and get all my clients male and female to get interested in lifting, at first I think some of them feel a little intimidated but as they get nearer to achieving their targets it gets exciting, and is seen as a REAL achievement when they reach it. Its high-fives all the way and not only does it keep their sessions interesting, but, it's also helping prepare their bodies/bones for dealing with older age. Its improving their bone density, making their bones stronger, helping them strengthening the muscles around joints such as knees so if they run or do high-impact cardio they can do so with fewer injuries. There are MANY benefits to lifting that barbell and it really does make me feel excited when one of my client starts to enjoy it as much as I do!
Using the barbell has many benefits and will help you reach your body goals and make the journey much more interesting, give it a try, make sure you get the correct technique advice and there will be gains galore!