"I love Ellia’s push up challenge! Too often we see plenty of blokes banging out these sorts of challenges and its refreshing every time we see a strong woman get involved, not to mention how impressive her strength is," explains Jess Dally-Butler, a personal trainer at Fitness First who specialises in using weights to help women feel strong and confident. "As many of us might not have mastered a weighted push up of this degree yet, a good challenge could be to see how many we could do on our knees, off a bench or on our toes to begin with! If you want to give the weighted push up challenge a crack then I would recommend having a professional PT check out your form beforehand to avoid injury!"
To get us inspired to give it a go, we spoke to Jess about the challenge, and why weight training can be so beneficial.
What are the benefits of weight training?
The benefits of weight training extend beyond much more than just strength — it helps keep our bones strong and healthy, it helps us women feel bad ass and instils a certain belief in ourselves that I believe can transfer to other aspects of our lives (nothing like hitting a PB you never thought you could do!) Weight training also helps with muscle growth — hello booty! And while many women believe they will look like Popeye if they weight train, it is actually almost impossible for us women to achieve anything close to that, with most of us generally just doing a few sessions a week.
At most, it’ll generally make us feel a little tighter and achieve some muscle definition. It also helps with reducing injuries (when done correctly and progressed safely) as well as enhancing our mood! I find personally, my PMS is a hell of a lot lower when I am regularly weight training. It’s also worth noting that we are generally not our strongest the week before we get our period so not the best time for PBs! These are just a few but there are plenty more benefits!
What is the best way for women to get started with weights?
Get yourself a coach/trainer! I have found that women that start with a Personal Trainer are more likely to maintain and actually have a chance to enjoy the benefits of it. Too many try to begin on their own and end up jumping on a few machines, doing some exercises they saw on Instagram and then end up back on the treadmill. The weights floor can be super intimidating so if we go in feeling a little unsure then the chances of you staying on the weights floor is basically nil.
I have literally chased women who have poked their heads into the weights floor and then backed out heading towards the cardio equipment. There is a bit of technique involved to begin with so at least with a coach you know you are doing the right thing and have given yourself a chance to feel the benefits of regular weight training. You are also less likely to end up injured!
How do you suggest women can progress with weights?
Knowing when to progress your weights is a relatively simple process — I recommend always leaving a good 1-2 reps in the tank when choosing a weight so if you are doing say 8 reps of a chest press and know that you could probably do about 20 reps then chances are the weight is too light, conversely if you can’t complete 8 reps then the weight is likely too heavy.
Use this as a general rule and for those days when you aren’t too sure if you can go up in weight then keep it the same and try increasing the following weight. We are generally much stronger than we realise!
Sometimes we may up the weight and we find it is too heavy - no problem! Now you truly know your limit! Progress doesn’t always mean increasing the weight when it comes to weight training though — if it feels a little easier, that’s progress! If your form improves, that’s progress! Got an extra few reps in? Progress!
Check out some more weight training options below: