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What REALLY Happens When Women Lift Heavy Weights
Toss the pink dumbbells and start moving some serious weight. Lifting heavy is the key to building metabolism-revving muscle, leaning out, and looking and feeling stronger than ever before, says certified strength and conditioning specialist Holly Perkins, author of Lift to Get Lean and founder of Women's Strength Nation. These body tranformations will make you ditch your fear of "bulking up" once and for all.
It Gives You Confidence
"I've been doing CrossFit for just over two years now, and I have never felt more confident or as capable as I do now thanks to lifting. My arms and shoulders actually have visible muscle separation, my glutes are bigger and perkier, and I have real quads," Nichole says. "I feel like I can wear whatever the hell I want because I love my body so much, not only for how it looks, but also for what it can do. Lifting is the best thing I have ever done for myself."
Follow her get-strong journey at instagram.com/pickle.b
It Transforms Your Health
Being fit is the best thing I can do for my body," says Lauren, who follows a PHUL routine (four days of lifting per week, each dedicated to power, hypertrophy, upper body, lower body) . "I have a lot of health issues, and my doctors are thrilled with how well weight lifting is working for me and my overall health."
Follow her get-strong journey at instagram.com/deadliftsandpolkadots
It Makes You Feel Feminine
This mom of two went from soft to rock hard, thanks to squats, power cleans, bench presses, and lots of deadlifts. "I am very, very proud that I recently deadlifted 10 pounds over my body weight," Megan says. "When I first started working out I just wanted to be thin—I had a goal and I hit it but wasn't satisfied. I felt frail and got a lot of comments about it. Lifting has made me feel strong and confident. I feel more womanly than I ever have in my life."
Follow her get-strong journey on instagram.com/hard_rock_mom
It Makes the Skinny Arm Pose a Thing of the Past
This girl's got guns. And they are smoking hot. "Lifting heavy has helped me in more ways than one," Tiffany says. "I have a confidence now that never existed when I was just skin and bones."
Follow her get-strong journey at instagram.com/valkyrie_of_iron
It Zaps the Baby Weight
Squats, hip thrusts, triceps dips, hammer curls, Arnold presses, rows, and tons of lateral shoulder raises have helped this new mom become healthier than ever. "Pregnancy really did a number on my body. I went from 130 pounds to 200 pounds and started my fitness transformation at 185 pounds," Amberly says. "Now, I just want to show my daughter that women can be a strong, muscular badass, and that it's not just about being thin. Seeing her try to mimic me has been a highlight of motherhood."
Follow her get-strong journey at instagram.com/olebattleaxe
It Makes You Love Your Body
"Lifting has changed my body in more than one way. Before, I was 150 pounds of no muscle, and I wasn't happy with my body. Now, I'm 130 pounds, but can squat 180, deadlift 225, and bench 110," Leah says. "Lifting has allowed me to love my body and be proud of what it can accomplish."
Follow her get-strong journey at instagram.com/leah.bo.beah
It Banishes Belly Fat
"When I first started trying to lose weight, I realized that just doing cardio would help me lose weight, but it wouldn't give me any definition. So I've focused on weight lifting instead, really zoning in on three big lifts: the deadlift, squat, and bench press," Shannon says. "Lifting heavy has transformed my body, not into that of a bulky man, but into a leaner, stronger woman."
Follow her get-strong journey at instagram.com/gunzandbuns
It Helps You Gain Lean Weight
Jennifer has gained more than 20 pounds since she started lifting, but she's leaner than ever. "I feel better, I feel more confident, and my body is able to do things I never imagined that it can do," she says.
Follow her get-strong journey at instagram.com/winetoweights
It Helps You Drop a Size
Since her personal trainer started her on heavy weight lifting, Sharina has gone from a size 22/20 to a 14/12. And once she drops a few more, she plans on becoming a certified weight lifting coach and start pumping iron competitively. "I've managed to hit 250 pounds on my deadlifts recently and I'm working up to a 220-pound squat," she says.
Follow her get-strong journey at instagram.com/dumbbells_and_dumplings
It Earns You a Body You Never Thought You'd Have
"I think the thing that I love most about lifting in general is what I love about deadlifts: It's all me. Whether I succeed, whether I fail, whether I gain strength, or put on visible muscle, that's all me. Nobody can take that away from me, or claim any part of it. It's all a cumulative effort of the time, of the effort, of the literal blood, sweat, and tears I've put in in the gym," says Stephanie, who can deadlift close to 300 pounds. "When I rip that barbell off the floor, that's the ultimate expression of every piece of it—there's an indescribable pride to it, when you know that nobody but you can take the credit for what you've just accomplished."
Follow her get-strong journey at instagram.com/biggestlittlepickle