Sometimes, people shy away from weightlifting because they don't want to have their slim figures turn into bulky, bodybuilding-type physiques. Unfortunately, avoiding the weight room can actually deprive you of an effective means of losing weight. Though it might seem counterintuitive, it is possible to have an effective program that will allow you to lose weight and not gain muscle with weightlifting. To do so, your program will look much different from traditional muscle-building workout programs. Always consult a doctor before starting any workout plan.
Friends of yours who are into weightlifting to pack on muscle for the sake of bodybuilding rather than sports may not always warm up before workouts because flexibility isn't a top priority for them. However, warming up offers benefits for weight-loss workouts. Warming up with light cardio and stretching encourages a higher core body temperature, which promotes more efficient calorie burning. Also, warming up increases your metabolic rate, which also contributes to burning calories. Warming up also helps prevent injuries so you can stick with your program.
Reps and Weight
Figuring out what your reps and sets look like isn't a task for hardcore bodybuilders alone. Using the right resistance with the right number of repetitions is crucial for meeting your goals. To avoid gaining muscle, you should use lighter weights and perform up to 16 repetitions for two to three sets. This will encourage muscular endurance but not mass growth. More importantly, it will also help you burn calories for weight loss. Heavier weights and lower numbers of repetition are more likely to encourage muscle growth.
Many muscle-gaining weightlifting programs include isolation exercises, which target just one muscle group at a time. These are bad for weight-loss plans because they encourage muscle growth and don't burn many calories. You should opt for compound exercises, which work multiple muscle groups at once. These are more intense exercises that promote increased calorie burning and can help you lose weight. Compound exercises include squats, deadlifts, bench presses, pullups and barbell rows.
Traditional muscle-building programs emphasize rest days and recommend avoiding working the same muscle groups multiple days in a row, as that may inhibit recovery and growth. While you should still take a couple of days off from the gym on your weight-loss program, you don't have to worry about not exercising the same muscle groups on consecutive days, as limiting growth is part of your goal.
Brian Willett began writing in 2005. He has been published in the "Buffalo News," the "Daytona Times" and "Natural Muscle Magazine." Willett also writes for Bloginity.com and Bodybuilding.com. He is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer and earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of North Carolina.