I've noticed that a lot of the women I've trained with over the years suffer from weight lifting phobia. By that I mean that they tend to be overly concerned with developing muscularity, as if itís a bad thing. I guess a lot of women are under the misconception that the development of muscle is simple and happens overnight. The truth is that muscular development takes a combination of discipline, proper food intake, and training, and to develop huge muscles takes genetics or supplementation most of the time. The truth is that everyone can benefit from resistance training of some type, whether it's free weights (dumbbells or barbells) or exercise bands. Not only does a toned physique help protect your skeletal frame and increase your resilience to injury, but it also increases your metabolism.

I guess I take offensive that some people think musculature comes rapidly and easily. I have heard more than once, "I don't want to look like Arnold," and just let me say that this is not possible for a woman. Many of the female clients Iíve trained shy away from resistance training in the beginning for this very reason, when in reality looking "like Arnold" will probably never happen, at least not naturally! So my point is please don't be afraid to participate in a resistance-training program for fear of developing too much muscularity. I have even heard this from obese women! I'm certainly not trying to offend anyone out there, only to put your minds at ease. So donít shy away from the weights, instead give them a try before you rule them out.

When engaging in a weight-training program, you should push yourself provided that you are injury free and have consulted your physician before getting started. For increasing strength as well as toning, I usually suggest training somewhere in the eight to fifteen repetition range per set. That means that if the weight is so light that you can pump out 40 reps without batting an eye, then the weight is probably too light. You should feel fatigued by the end of a set, provided that the weight is heavy enough.

So take a good look at your training regime, and ask yourself if you suffer from "Arnold phobia." If so, rest assured that this muscular metamorphosis won't happen, and just get out there and push yourself. If you are in good health, there is no reason to baby yourself, you should be sweating by the time you are done working out. Granted, it's fantastic that you exercise at all regardless of the intensity, but you will be doing yourself a favor and getting the most out of your workouts if you put 100% into them. So what are you waiting for, give this a try for a couple weeks and see if you don't notice a difference!

Author's Bio: 

Melissa Allen, CPT, BS, is a certified personal trainer & exercise therapist, as well as the owner of Optimum Condition—Mobile Personal Training & Exercise Therapy. She is a self-syndicated columnist who welcomes input from her readers, so please contact her with any questions or comments by visiting her website at http://www.OptimumCondition.com