5 reasons to lift heavier weights & NO you won’t “get bulky”

It’s a statement I hear all too often.   In fact, I used to say it before I started lifting weights.  I would look disdainfully at the women who have worked long and hard for their physiques and say, “I don’t want to get bulky”.  Well, you won’t, and here are reasons 1. WHY YOU SHOULD LIFT HEAVY and 2. WHY YOU WON’T BULK UP.

It takes more than lifting weights heavier than 1-5 pounds to develop muscle tone and shred like the female bodybuilders.  It doesn’t “just happen” by picking up some heavier weights.

lifting weights kcco
Gettin my shrug on. Gonna have a fierce handshake!

If you don’t increase the weight you are working with, there will be a point the weight loss and strength building will plateau.  Just try it.  I promise you’ll like it!


  • Adding weight will result in “hypertrophy” – which is muscle growth and will tone the muscle and remove fat.   Thaaaats what you wanted, right?  Stay at the same 2 pound weight and you will plateau and the work you are doing will not be as effective as you think.
  • Heavy weights make you STRONGER not BIGGER.  Everyday things, like picking up groceries, children, moving furniture, opening jars, and yes, even lugging around those enormous purses we all wear is WORK.  Getting stronger will make these things easier, cause less strain on the knees and back, and prevent injury.
  • You will boost your metabolism.  Adding heavier resistance will make your body work harder post-workout to recover.  AKA more calorie burn.  Even when you’re not working.  Win.
  • Your bones will get stronger.  After the age of 30, you lose 1% of muscle mass a year.  Weight bearing exercises will counter that loss.
  • YOU get stronger.  Nuff said!  No, I don’t need you to open that jar for me.  Carry my groceries.  Help me move.  Bring my furniture up the stairs.  I got this.
bulking up
photo by lilbitrisque (http://www.flickr.com/photos/lilbitrisque/6334010136/) via Flickr


  • Bulking comes from HIGH volume with HIGH weight.  Increasing weight and doing lower reps will promote toning, not bulking.
  • TESTOSTERONE is the main hormone that causes people to bulk up.  Women don’t have as much testosterone and therefore won’t see results from strength training as quickly as men.
  • Bulking is diet and supplement dependent.  Types of protein shakes and the “breakdown of macros” is something you hear in the bodybuiding weight room, not in your local grocery store or average gym
  • Don’t blame the weights.  That “extra 10 pounds” that you’ve put on doesn’t come from strength training.  Hm.  Maybe it’s the pizza and beer?  Cheese and wine?
  • Bulking doesn’t happen overnight.  Toning and losing fat will happen first, and you will be able to control the results before your appearance morphs into the oompa loompa orange of “Miss Physique Bodybuilder”.  If you (or a “friend”) transform into the incredible hulk overnight, please comment and tell me what she’s having because I’m interested in hearing about this scientific steroid-free phenomenon.
  • BUILDING MUSCLE is different than BULKING UP.   People that “bulk up” have to EAT more calories to build mass.  You have to know what you are doing in order to do the “bulking” thing.  Shoving your face full of protein for your 6th meal of the day doesn’t sound appealing?  You will probably lose some fat, build muscle, and gain the results you are looking to achieve.
toned female
photo via Mark Malijan (http://www.flickr.com/photos/29435942@N08/3406086746/) via Flickr

Those girls that you see WORK HARD for what they have and have bodies that are predisposed to getting all mus-kly.  Don’t you worry babe.  You’re gonna be fine.

weights rows
Girls reppin’ it out with 20-25 pound weights. Excuse me, did you call me bulky?

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