Menopause Fitness Moment: Tips On How To Start Lifting HeavyJun 02, 2022
A few months ago, I shared why lifting heavy can be valuable, especially during menopause. If you missed that newsletter, you could read all about it here. Since then, social media has exploded with the “lift heavy shit” message. Although I’m super happy that we’re talking about it and that its importance for women is finally recognized and amplified, it is important to define what heavy lifting means and how to do it safely. Although very beneficial, heavy lifting carries many risks of injury if done improperly or too soon. This blog is about sharing tips on starting your heavy lifting journey safely and effectively.
First of all, you don’t just wake up one day and start lifting heavy!
It is super important that you build a rock-solid exercise foundation. What does that mean? Before you start loading up the heavy weights, make sure that you have mastered the movements you will be using and that you have worked on progressively increasing your loads, and feel that your foundation is strong. This is a CRUCIAL step. Just like a house, without a good foundation, it’s bound to crumble, and unless it’s a delicious crumble on a cobbler, crumble is not a good thing. If you’re new to lifting, I would suggest getting with a qualified trainer and learning the basics of good movement techniques tailored to you. Every person’s body is different so having a qualified fitness professional help you figure out any imbalances or challenges can make all the difference.
Lifting heavy is different for everyone! Find out what it means for you.
When people talk about lifting heavy, it can mean a million things, but for this discussion and the science behind the heavy lifting movement, it means lifting a weight that you can only lift for 5-6 repetitions with good form. That’s it. If you can do more than 5 to 6, it’s not heavy enough, and you move more into the moderate-to-heavy range (which is also beneficial, but that’s for another blog). On the other hand, it's too heavy if you can’t get to at least 4 to 5 repetitions. So only you can figure out how much weight to use. Working with a fitness pro can help you do that.
Not all movements are good choices for heavy lifting.
As mentioned before, safety is super important when lifting heavy weights. So to keep yourself at minimal risk for injury, pick compound movements (movements that work multiple muscle groups and thereby spread the force and load over many muscles and joints). Examples of exercises that are perfect for this are squats, deadlifts, lunges, bench presses, etc. Remember, master these movements first before adding weight!!
If you have any questions, let me hear them. I’m happy to help if I can.