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TOPIC: What size weights are the best for a woman to tone arms?

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April 12, 2012 4:19 PM
I am just getting into the cardio and strength training routine and currently I am using 5 pound weights in high reps... I am not seeing much in the way of results in my arms ( especially the waddle underneath my arms...) Is this a good size to continue with and it just takes time, or should I bump up the weights?
April 12, 2012 4:20 PM
Lift as much as you can for 8-12 reps. Couldn't see your diary to see what's wrong with your diet.
Edited by warmachinejt On April 12, 2012 4:20 PM
April 12, 2012 4:21 PM
A barbell with options up to 350lbs!

Deadlift
Squat
Bench Press
Military Press
Rows
Chin ups

These are simple to do and learn.
If somebody says the word "Accessory lift" you need to run fast in the opposite direction!
  7369177
April 12, 2012 4:24 PM
Whatever you can lift between and 8-12 x3 sets.
Alternatively do Chin-Ups/Dips with the assisted machine (if you can't do it)
April 12, 2012 4:29 PM
It's not the amount of weight, it's the number of reps and the intensity of those reps.

It is my opinion that you should be doing 3 sets of 12-20 reps (I personally would go for 15). Now Choose a weight that you will have a hard time getting the 15th (or whatever your last rep is) rep up.

Low weight, high rep (12-20), to positive failure (you can do no more exercises) = Toning
Medium weight, medium rep (8-12), to positive failure (you can do no more exercises) = Toning and Building Muscle
High weight, low rep (4-8), to positive failure (you can do no more exercises) = Building Muscle

IMOP, the key is to get to a positive failure at the given rep goal you have for the exercise. If you can seemingly go on and on forever with a given weight, it's too light. Their is a balance to getting the most out of the time you spend working out.

I hope that makes sense, and these are my opinions, so I'm sure someone won't agree, but it's worked for me.
  20849897
April 12, 2012 4:30 PM
Lift a weight that you can't lift with good form for more than 5-10 reps. When that gets easy bump it up again.
  20465716
April 12, 2012 4:32 PM
That makes sense to a point ( I am almost 40 and have NEVER exercised before... so please excuse my ignorance... I dont want to "bulk" up... but do want to tone my muscles and make them well defined... I hope that makes sense...
April 12, 2012 4:32 PM
My trainer has me lifting lighter weights and doing higher reps. Following his advice for the past couple of years has given me some very nice toned arms smile
  14467045
April 12, 2012 4:35 PM
QUOTE:

That makes sense to a point ( I am almost 40 and have NEVER exercised before... so please excuse my ignorance... I dont want to "bulk" up... but do want to tone my muscles and make them well defined... I hope that makes sense...


Since you want muscle definition but not bulk, just lift heavy things and keep your diet in check. Bulk is what happens when you have too high of a body fat percentage over your muscles, so you look bigger than you would if you were leaner. Conversely, some women seem to find the opposite extreme bulky as well - too little body fat with their muscle. So aim for a healthy, sustainable bf% with your weights and you should be good to go.

Basically, there really isn't such a thing as "toning". You build muscle or let it atrophy, and your body fat levels will determine how "big" you look.
Edited by spazofthedead On April 12, 2012 4:37 PM
  20465716
April 12, 2012 4:37 PM
HEAVY ONES.

Check out new rules of lifting for women.
April 12, 2012 4:38 PM
I like pushups, chin ups, seated triceps dips-- those work better for me than weights.
  17106269
April 12, 2012 4:39 PM
QUOTE:

A barbell with options up to 350lbs!

Deadlift
Squat
Bench Press
Military Press
Rows
Chin ups

These are simple to do and learn.
If somebody says the word "Accessory lift" you need to run fast in the opposite direction!


he speaks so simple and so true. I gotta agree here. My arms are looking amazing after 3 weeks of dumbbell presses, pushups, squats and deadlifts (among a few other things)
  3234287
April 12, 2012 4:39 PM
short reps that cause failure work really well for me, so go as heavy as you can for 8-12 reps per muscle group!

The waddle is the tricep area so make sure you do triceps exercises to help with that.
  8196872
April 12, 2012 4:40 PM
QUOTE:

That makes sense to a point ( I am almost 40 and have NEVER exercised before... so please excuse my ignorance... I dont want to "bulk" up... but do want to tone my muscles and make them well defined... I hope that makes sense...


You won't bulk up, women don't have the hormones for that smile The women that do, naturally, spend years training specifically to do that and they eat A LOT!

As many others have said, it's more the rep range that's important. Higher weight and less reps do more for "toning" than high reps do. You may have heard the whole "high reps tone and low reps bulk / build muscle", that's just a myth. What builds you muscle is food (a calorie surplus), and testosterone (which men have plenty more of) combined with the right training, not just lifting on its own. Pick a weight you can do for around 6-8 reps, the last couple should be a struggle but maintaining good form.

Also, free weight compound lifts are awesome! Isolation exercises and machines have their place, but nothing can compare to the compound lifts IMO.

Hope this helps drinker
  1283483
April 12, 2012 4:40 PM
New Rules of Weight Lifting would be a good read for you even if you don't do the program.
April 12, 2012 4:40 PM
weight lifting like everything else is personal. It's also trendy. Now the trend is to lift a higher weight with 12-15 reps, 3 sets. It use to be for women, lower weights and lots of reps. I use to do the lower weight withl lots of reps and use to get very discouraged. Now I've had a trainer that gives me higher weights (he spots me) and fatigues my muscle. (Of course we don't do that everyday) I now see definition where I never did before. I am also stronger. As a woman I don't have to worry about bulking up because I don't have as much testosterone as a man.
  5145748
April 12, 2012 4:41 PM
The person who posted as much as you can do in 8-12 reps (3x) above is right!
and if you are not feeling "burn" during your movement, you have to move up in weight
the last set of reps should be very challenging

OH! and you should try to slow down (time under tension builds muscle) so count 4 count up and 4 count down on each rep.
Edited by KahalaGal On April 12, 2012 4:43 PM
  19651814
April 12, 2012 4:41 PM
Bulking up does't happen over night. Don't worry about that! At your tender age of 40 you will be lucky to be building muscle period. Not saying you can't do it but it will take dedication even with your little weights. I have been on and off with mine. 5 - 8 pound dumbbells for the last few years and can see some definition but that is just because I look for it. Just keep working out as best you can. As we age we lose muscle and have to work to keep the muscle let alone build muscle. Keep up the good work!
  4781178
April 12, 2012 4:42 PM
QUOTE:

It's not the amount of weight, it's the number of reps and the intensity of those reps.

It is my opinion that you should be doing 3 sets of 12-20 reps (I personally would go for 15). Now Choose a weight that you will have a hard time getting the 15th (or whatever your last rep is) rep up.

Low weight, high rep (12-20), to positive failure (you can do no more exercises) = Toning
Medium weight, medium rep (8-12), to positive failure (you can do no more exercises) = Toning and Building Muscle
High weight, low rep (4-8), to positive failure (you can do no more exercises) = Building Muscle

IMOP, the key is to get to a positive failure at the given rep goal you have for the exercise. If you can seemingly go on and on forever with a given weight, it's too light. Their is a balance to getting the most out of the time you spend working out.

I hope that makes sense, and these are my opinions, so I'm sure someone won't agree, but it's worked for me.


LOL this is horrible advice.

No offense!

On a Central Nervous System point of view, going to failure sends negative feedback that you cannot go further.
Lifting for strength first, then adding in high reps but keeping 1 or 2 before failure sends positive feedback to the CNS.
If OP is on a cut to lose weight, lift for strength first maybe 3 sessions a week for proper recovery.
If she is at maintenance or wants to gain lean mass, lift for strength and if you need to add hypertrophy work later go for it.

Pure hypertrophy?
If shes genetically superior then yes, add it onto the compounds if you have the energy for it.
  7369177
April 12, 2012 4:43 PM
I have found that lighter weights and high reps made no difference in the appearance of my arms. Probably still good for you, but you want results. I have been lifting much heavier for the past couple of months and now I see a difference. I actually had someone complement them. I cannot ever remember someone telling me my arms looked great, so this was a definite NSV.
April 12, 2012 4:44 PM
bump
  6626720
April 12, 2012 4:44 PM
Something that has worked better for me than ANY exercise using weights is exercises using body weight, pushups are amazing, I haven't noticed arm results as quickly doing anything else. Other than that what everyone says, pick the heaviest weight you can use still with good form for 8-12 (or 10-15 whichever you prefer) reps 3x. I would say if you feel nothing with the 5, bump it up to 8 and perform a set, if still nothing bump it up to 10, you should feel like you can't do another rep after you last one on the correct weight. It takes some time to play around and figure it out, but that should help a lot!
April 12, 2012 4:46 PM
QUOTE:

That makes sense to a point ( I am almost 40 and have NEVER exercised before... so please excuse my ignorance... I dont want to "bulk" up... but do want to tone my muscles and make them well defined... I hope that makes sense...


You won't "bulk up" if you don't increase the amount of protein you are eating in your diet. There is no such thing as "bulking up" or "toning down" it's all building and strengthening muscle. Now how you want to strengthen is where you see differences, if you're not going to increase what you eat then you'll be fine. Since you've never lifted before I would start pretty light at 8-10lbs and see how well you can do 12-15 reps. If you can do them no problem then the weight is too low and work your way up until they are difficult. Start with that weight the next time. Before my pregnancy I used to be an avid weight lifter and I can upload photos of what I used to look like if that will give you more confidence to try what I'm saying.
  20652071
April 12, 2012 4:47 PM
bump
April 12, 2012 4:47 PM
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I'm also about 40 and never really exercised before. I started lifting heavy in July. The heavier I lifted, the smaller my arms got.

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