Why Kettlebells Won’t Make You Bulky

MYTH: Women shouldn’t lift heavy weights because they will look like men or get too bulky.

I have heard that myth ever since I started lifting weights in high school. Most of the girls in HS never had a desire to lift weights. (I suppose some didn’t because the gym would always smell like stinky old sweaty socks….especially during wrestling season!). I do recall that there were some girls who would go in the weight room and sit in the corner of the gym and “pretend” to stretch. But I must admit, the few women who were able to withstand the smell of old gym, hit the weights and lifted hard, sometimes harder than the guys. They were our Lady Warriors. Swimmers, basketball, and especially track athletes were in the gym building strength, power, speed, and agility to improve their over athleticism. These ladies were not afraid to lift weights. And none of our Lady Warriors looked like a man. They looked like athletes.

Which brings me to the topic at hand. Why are women hesitant to lift weights that are over 5 pounds?

Trainer: What are your goals?
Client: I would like to get tone.
Trainer: And what does tone look like to you?
Client: I don’t know? Maybe more definition in the muscle? But I do not want to lift any weight.
Trainer: What is the reason you do not want to lift weights?
Client: If I lift weights, I will get bulky, and look like a man.

I have heard this fear and myth so many times from friends and clients. I then begin to let them know that women are strong and capable. You are able to carry a baby in your arms for hours. And on top of that, you carry them while they are in their baby carrier. I can only withstand 5 minutes. Maybe 5 minutes! The baby, the carrier, diapers, and all the other items you have to carry are well over 20 pounds. You lift groceries, move boxes, lift furniture but are afraid to lift 30 pounds off the floor?

The images of the women bodybuilders who look really “bulky”? That is what they train for. That is their goal. To have as much muscle and definition on them as possible to win the competition. They eat, train, and take supplements specifically so they can look like that!

The purpose of lifting weights IS to build muscle. When you say you want to be tone, what does that mean? Let me drop a little exercise science on ya. The word “tone” is short for “tonus” which refers to the firmness of any given muscle when you are not actively or deliberately flexing it. So basically, when magazines, blog posts and books that specifically target women uses the word “tone” they are trying to create the image of looking leaner without looking bigger. Their advice is lifting very light weight for high repetitions.

That may work if you are extremely de-conditioned and never worked out before, if you have an injury or medical condition that limits the amount of weight you should lift. But ultimately, it may not be the best way to create change in the muscle. If the weights are not challenging, like lifting 1 or 3 pound weights, your muscles will not grow. If there is no growth in the muscle, how is it going to look better than what you already have? Change is the key. And to change the look of muscle you have to change the muscle tissue. And to do that, you need the proper resistance. PERIOD!

With proper form, technique and coaching from an expert trainer, you will be able to achieve the lean, ahem….or “toned” look that you are looking for.

Here is a video of my client attempting her fist KB Snatch with 16 kilo. That is 35.2 pounds. She never thought that she could lift anything more than a 3 pound dumbbell let alone snatch a 16kilo! Way to go Miss D!

So, want to look damn good AND be strong? Pick up heavy things. And continue to lift heavier weight as you progress and become a stronger and leaner version of you!

As always leave a comment below.

“Nothing happens until something starts moving!” ~┬áMr. Einstein

Much luv y’all!

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