Strength Training Exercises for Women (cont.)

If you give your body a challenge with a good strength-training program, three times a week aerobic exercise and a sensible diet, your body will adapt to that challenge by getting stronger, fitter and leaner.

MEMBER QUESTION: When I lift heavy weight at high repetitions, my legs get huge. Should I remedy this by not lifting quite so heavy?

LINGUVIC: First of all, what exercises are you doing? If you're doing things like leg presses, they tend to just give you overall strength and size.

I would recommend you do exercises like lunges and squats, with moderate weight. Single leg exercises such as a lunge, will be better for you if feel like your legs bulk up quickly, but priority is doing aerobics three times a week and a sensible diet.

Please don't be afraid of strength training. If you do it correctly, it will not bulk up your legs. If you want the shape of your legs to change, you need to give them a challenge. Exercises like lunges and Swiss ball squats will challenge your body to react and your body will get leaner, longer and stronger.

MEMBER QUESTION: I am a 59-year-old woman and I'm looking for help in gaining back muscle strength that I appear to be losing with age. Any suggestions?

LINGUVIC: Absolutely. We lose muscle every year as we age, which is why strength training should be a priority for women. We also need to keep our bones strong and the best way is to do weight bearing exercise. The muscle pulls on the bone and the bone gets stronger and stronger. You can increase your bone density at any age.

I would recommend a basic full-body program to increase your muscle mass. Three times a week would be ideal.

MEMBER QUESTION: I have back fat where the bottom of my bra lies. How or what do I do to get rid of this?

LINGUVIC: That challenge is common in a lot of women. You need to tone up the muscles of your upper body. I would recommend you do exercises like dumbbell rows, but please remember to work your whole body even though you want to firm up your back. You can certainly have a leaner upper body with a strength-training program.

MEMBER QUESTION: I had a C-section and I am having a hard time getting rid of that bulge. Any suggestions?

MEMBER QUESTION: As I am getting older my stomach area is getting flabby. I do sit-ups, but what else could I do to flatten my stomach?

LINGUVIC: Ah, the elusive abs. First of all, make sure you're totally healed from your C-section and you have your doctor's approval before working out.

Again, sit-ups alone aren't much for the abs. You want to hit your abdominal muscles from a couple of different angles. I would recommend starting off with Swiss ball crunches. You lie on the ball doing a crunch, bringing your ribs closer to your hips. Another great exercise is the plank, where you're actually lay face down in a push-up position.

Spending hours on sit-ups are not the best way to tighten up your abs. Spending a few minutes on some really good exercises, such as Swiss ball crunches and the plank, combined with strength training for your whole body, a sensible diet and some aerobics will help you lose the flab and tighten your abdominals.

MEMBER QUESTION: When I try to do sit-ups, there is an area in my tummy where skin bulges out like a balloon and then sucks inward like a cave. I'm four months postpartum. Is this diastasis?

LINGUVIC: I can't tell you without seeing you. Your doctor will be able to tell if your muscle has separated.

MEMBER QUESTION: Do you address diet in your book?

LINGUVIC: I think most diets are too strict, and if you make something too strict you're bound to go off. I have a full section of what I call sensible, commonsense strategies, where each week you add one more strategy into your lifestyle.

Some commonsense strategies are increasing your water intake, logging your food and something called "closer to the source." What I mean by that is when you're deciding what to eat and what to feed your family, ask yourself "Where did this come from?" We know where an apple came from, we know where an egg came from, but I'm not too sure where cheese doodles come from. You want to try to eat closer to the source. For instance, cheese is better than cheese doodles. There are lots of good commonsense strategies like that in Lean, Long & Strong .

MEMBER QUESTION: I have never been to a personal trainer but I would like to for motivation and targeted advice on my best workout plan. What tips can you give me when trying to find a personal trainer and how long/short of a time could I expect to use one?

LINGUVIC: People go to personal trainers for a number of reasons. You want to be able to learn how to do your workout yourself. So the first thing you want to do is learn the exercises with proper form. I would suggest going a couple of times to learn and understand your program and then following up after a couple of weeks to make sure you've been doing everything correctly.

Sometimes people go to personal trainers just to keep up with their exercise program and to stay motivated. You can do that once a week and then work out on your own the other time, or two times.

When just starting out, I would recommend learning your program in two or three visits and then following up two or three weeks later.

MEMBER QUESTION: Do you anticipate doing any DVDs that show the exercises in your book?

LINGUVIC: Yes, I am working on that now. Please sign up for my newsletter at so I can keep you posted.

MODERATOR: Wini, we are almost out of time. Before we wrap things up for today, do you have any final comments for us?

LINGUVIC: I'd like to thank everyone for their great questions and for coming to the chat today. Please visit me at my web site,, for more information about strength training and my latest book, and remember that you're already strong -- exercise just uncovers it.

MODERATOR: My favorite quote from your book: "Strength does not come from how much weight you can lift or how many miles you can run. Strength comes from knowing that you set a goal and rose to the challenge. Strength comes from within."

Our thanks to Wini Linguvic for joining us today. For more information, please read Lean, Long, & Strong .

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