The beginner's guide to lifting weights

Because girls just wanna have guns...

You've seen enough #fitspo snaps of girls with six-pack abs and super sculpted shoulders to know muscular bods are beautiful. Not only does strong look good, but the more lean muscle you have, the more efficiently your body runs. And how about this bonus: Strength work boosts your energy, too!

But if the thought of wandering into a weight room has you totally intimidated, fret not. Personal trainers (and sisters!) Felicia and Diana of Base Body Babes are sharing their simple muscle-building moves to help you up your strong-girl status.

Try this circuit 3 times a week in between cardio seshes. Choose weights that are heavy enough to challenge you while still allowing you to maintain proper form.

Do each exercise back-to-back with no break in between. When you finish, rest for 2 minutes, then repeat the entire circuit 3 to 5 times.

Barbell back squats

1. With your feet slightly wider than your shoulders and toes pointed slightly outward, place the barbell on your upper back. Squeeze shoulder blades together to engage your muscles so the bar stays secure.

2. Keep your chest up and look straight ahead.

3. Squat as deeply as possible while still maintaining a neutral spine and perfect posture. To protect your knees, make sure they stay in line with your feet, never going in front of your toes. 

Flat dumbbell bench press

1. Lie down on a bench with feet flat on the floor, holding a dumbbell in each hand by your shoulders.

2. Using a neutral grip (palms facing each other), press the weight straight up until your arms are straight. Don't lock your elbows!

3. Bring the weight back down to your shoulders, and repeat for a total of 10 reps. 

Romanian dead lifts

1. With a barbell on the floor in front of you (your shins should be just touching the bar), bend forward and squat down very slightly, keeping your chest up, shoulder blades back and spine neutral.

2. Pick weight up and then, with a slight bend in your knees, lower the bar down the front of your legs to mid-shin. 

3. Still holding the bar, return to standing. Complete 10 reps. 

One-arm rows

1. Place one knee on a weight bench and your other foot on the floor.

2. With one hand on the bench to support your body, pick up the dumbbell with your other hand.

3. Row the weight upward, using your upper back to squeeze the weight up into your chest.

4. Lower the dumbbell back down to the original starting position, with control. Do 10 reps on one side before switching to the other side. 

Kettlebell swings

1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width. Pick up the kettlebell with both hands.

2. Use your hips to drive the weight forward, swinging the kettlebell to about shoulder height then back down between your legs, squatting slightly.

3. Repeat for 20 swings. 

Glute bridges

1. Begin by lying on the floor on your back. Place your hands down by your side and bend your knees. Your feet should be flat on the floor and about hip-width distance apart.

2. Lift your hips high while squeezing your glutes.

3. Lower your hips back down and repeat the movement nine more times. 

Forearm plank

1. Lie down and place your forearms on the floor, with your elbows directly under your shoulders.

2. Engage your core to press up so that only your forearms and toes are touching the ground and hold for 20 to 30 seconds. 

This article was originally published in the August/September 2017 issue of Girls' Lifemagazine.   

by Amanda Tarlton | 10/13/2017
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