{Guest Post} Crystal Reia of Your Health-Your Choice - Women and Weight Lifting

Welcome to another WOW Wednesday, our weekly health and fitness guest post by Crystal Reia, owner and personal trainer with Your Health - Your Choice servicing Waterloo Region. How is everyone doing with their New Year's resolutions so far? I think one of the best ways to keep up with a fitness resolution is to have someone hold you accountable, why not make it this weekly guest post? Each week come back to learn new tips and tricks and incorporate them into your workout! Crystal is such a great motivator and takes a great deal of time to explain techniques to her clients, and with all of you! Today's post about women and weight lifting is great one for those looking to add a little something more to their workouts, and especially important for women who are not yet using weights in their workouts. Follow Crystal's advice below and you will be well on your way to achieving your 2016 fitness resolutions! Take it away Crystal... {Rox-Anne, Celebrating this Life}


All joking aside (forgive my funny meme poster additives today)... if you have been reading my guest posts on a regular basis, you will know what a huge advocate I am for women and weight lifting. If you are not doing some form of strength training in your weekly routine; you should be! So many women are under the impression, that lifting weights will make them huge and bulky. This is not true. Instead it WILL give you:

ü Increases muscle mass and decreases percentage of 
    body fat
ü Increases muscular strength and strengthens bones
(decreasing the risk of Osteoporosis)
ü Promotes healthy weight loss or weight maintenance
ü Increases your energy levels and your resting 
ü Improves your core strength and promotes joint stability
ü Improves balance, coordination, range of motion and agility
ü Improves your body image and self-esteem
ü Reduces depression and anxiety
ü Assists in stress management

These are just to name a few!

What I would like to talk to you about today is way of training called “Eccentric” training. And by this I mean to slow down the eccentric part of your movements to get more bang for your buck per rep. This type of training will challenge you, increasing your strength much stronger and quicker in a shorter amount of time. This is not the only way to lift, but it does work great in conjunction with quicker reps and isometric (means to hold your contraction without shortening or lengthening the movement) training.

Quick intro: With every “moving” exercise there is a “concentric” action and an “eccentric” action.
(See diagram below for an example using a bicep curl) Concentric means when you shorten and contract your muscle on the lifting phase– Eccentric means when you lengthen your muscle while contracting it on the lowering phase. Make sense??

Slowing down this lengthening (eccentric) action is an awesome way to add challenge into any/all of your regular exercises. I’m a big believer in changing up and varying tempos with all movements to get amazing results. But slowing down your eccentric movement will definitely give you some awesome rewards and is good to include into your workout.

Now let’s use a “squat” in this next example. Some confuse this movement a little because when you lower you are actually lengthening the backs of your legs and when you stand you are actually contracting. The fronts of your legs are doing the opposite action though. But typically we do squats to work our posterior. Many forget to engage these back muscles while squatting!

As you lower down into your squat you are lengthening your gluteals and hamstrings – this is the “eccentric” phase. Therefore try slowing down your squat. Take 4-5 counts or more to get to the bottom of the movement, then try coming back to the top in 2 counts a little quicker. After a set of 8-10, try reversing the counts! Go down into the squat quicker and come up to standing slower. Add an isometric hold of 10 seconds into your squat before returning to the top! There are so many ways to change up your exercises to make it more interesting and engage your mind and muscles!

I just want to reference this article I found on Eccentric Training – that delves into a little more of the actual benefits. I felt it was well written and an easy read: http://breakingmuscle.com/strength-conditioning/6-powerful-benefits-of-eccentric-training

Know that you don’t necessarily have to go extremely heavy with this type of training. It will benefit you no matter what level you are at or how much weight you are lifting at this point. Just take some care not to increase weight too soon before you are ready. Meaning your ligaments, tendons and muscles should be built slowly and ready to take on more stress/added weight – and do it in very small increments. Otherwise you could be finding yourself injured or dealing with muscle tears/strains; and nooooo one likes injuries! Also be sure to get adequate rest between your lifting sessions (24-48 hours or more depending on the length and intensity of your session). You should feel almost 100% going into your next workout.

This was a very quick intro; but I hope it taught you a little something new to try with your exercises and training if you haven’t already been. As always if you have any questions, please feel free to ask!

Have a fitastic week everyone!


Crystal Reia
Your Health-Your Choice

Email: yourhealth-yourchoice@live.ca