One of the biggest myths when it comes to women and exercise is that strength training will make you big or bigger. Now social media is helping top fitness experts finally crush that rumor. If you are looking to develop a healthy aesthetic, get stronger, and yes, even lose a few pounds, weight training is the way to do it. And no, it doesn’t always involve barbells, dumbbells, and other equipment—though that’s encouraged. Check out the Instagram feeds of these four fitness trainers for tips and inspiration on getting healthy through weight lifting.
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Kira Stokes – Celeb Trainer NYC/LA and Creator of The Stoked Method™️
Celebrity trainer Kira Stokes is known for sculpting the bodies of screen faves including Candace Cameron-Bure, Shay Mitchell, CBS This Morning anchor Norah O’Donnell and other strong figures. Check out this cool combo challenge she introduced for Candace.
This particular move is a full body challenge with a strong focus on the core (scroll my page as I’ve posted it solo before). CCB and I work diligently on core strength and awareness so she was prepped and ready to rock with this one.
- On the roll-out you MUST engage your glutes to protect your back, draw your navel toward your spine, torso wrapped.
- Keep the transitions slow and controlled throughout.
- As you rise to a standing position, drop your hips and lift your chest to prepare for proper posture to lift from your core/legs.
- Perform a deadlift – hinge with a flat back, slight bend in knees, neutral position of your head/neck, core strong . . . squeeze your glutes on the way up like you have a check for a million dollars in between your cheeks . . . and you don’t want to lose that [cash]!
- Candace is using 75lbs here.
But results aren’t just about barbells. Kira’s unique approach to training known as “The Stoked Method” combines functional movement with traditional methods of strength training. That means bodyweight exercises and incorporating light dumbbells and heavier weights into your routine. Weights also don’t just come in the form of something with a .lbs or a .kg indicator, but also in the form of resistance bands, TRX, and other equipment.
The balance of functional bodyweight training and traditional weight lifting work together to create lean muscle mass. That’s beneficial for the entire body! “Weight training is key for building stronger bones and working as a defense against osteoporosis. We all lose muscle tone and strength as we age,” says Stokes. “It’s not only about building strength and maintaining a healthy weight—which are nice benefits. But combining a little heavy lifting with functional movement is like making a long-term investment in a healthier body overall.” Another useful tip from Kira: Sometimes lifting your own body weight can be tougher than a bicep curl. But those curls can help you pull your own weight! Conversely, developing strength with weightlifting might help you breeze through those push-ups you’ve been struggling through.
Michelle Marques – ACE Certified Personal Trainer
NYC-based Dogpound trainer, fit-fluencer, fitness lover and social change motivator Michelle Marques is a total curly-haired wonder and badass. But it wasn’t until she began a serious weight-training program for herself that she started to see her curviest results. Discovered fact: lifting weights gives you shape.
“A year ago I was terrified of barbells. Since I’ve started using them (and lifting heavier in general) my muscle mass and strength have increased. I’m the heaviest I’ve ever weighed, and I love it. 🙌🏾 #formerlyskinandbones.”
Peep her landmine exercise, bodyweight, and kettlebell circuit for a full-body shaper. Oh, and the landmine is one of the most game-changing yet dusty (rarely used) pieces of equipment at the gym. So heading to this section of the weight room will prove you are a total sweat boss. In exercise terms, the landmine is an angled barbell movement where one end of the barbell stays on the ground and you lift the opposite end. You can also load the barbell with heavier weights, or leave the weights off and simply lift the barbell as you build strength.
Posterior chain (back, glutes, and hamstring) and core work circuit… Focus on evenly distributing the weight, keeping hips square and externally rotated, and engaging your core (especially obliques!) for all movements. 3 rounds.
- Landmine rows x 10 each side.
- Glider alternating slide out x 20.
- Suitcase deadlift x 10 each side.
- 60 secs rest.
Alexia Clark – Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Nutrition Specialist
Alexia Clark is the self-described “Queen of Workouts.” We’re good with her claiming that throne. Clark posts a full weight-training workout nearly every day. Her videos are fun to watch for sport and also to apply to your at-home or gym routine.
Follow this shoulder burn workout she posted. It’s the perfect circuit for all of those sleeveless dresses we’re about to hit the world with for late spring and all summer long. Clark suggests you do each move for 60 seconds with 15 – 20 seconds of rest in between each for 3 – 4 rounds. As Clark likes to say “Some queens are born, others are made.” It shouldn’t be a shock that more than 1.2 million followers have hopped on the #queenteam, because she’s proving strength training is definitely a way to get there.
Felicia Oreb and Diana Johnson aka Base Body Babes – Personal Trainers
Our final burden of proof for making the case that you need to start stacking weights into your fitness plan, like, right now? Felicia Oreb and Diana Johnson of Base Body Babes out of Australia.
Lifting is the name of the game for these sisters and Aussie trainers. “We love lifting weights, it’s what we do best, and we want to teach women how to lift as safely and efficiently as possible so they can achieve their goals,” they let the world know on their site. And if you can’t make it down under, at least you can follow their proven results on the ‘gram.
Writer’s note: Kafi Drexel is a journalist and media consultant working with lifestyle brands and top pros around the globe. One of those pros includes Kira Stokes.
Photo Credit: iStock