If you’re disgusted with the fat in your thighs, tummy or elsewhere that just won’t budge, it’s time to take control with a strength training routine that will blast off the fat.

I’m a former certified personal trainer and will describe in detail how a woman can use strength training to achieve the greatest amount of fat loss anywhere in her body.

In order for strength training to burn maximal fat, strength training must be done very intensely.

There is a correlation between intensity and how heavy the weight is. However, if the weight is too heavy, you won’t get the intensity. Intensity is achieved with repetitions.

So if the weight is so heavy that you can lift it only five times, this won’t be enough reps to induce “metabolic failure,” which is what you want.

For optimal fat loss, a woman should do strength training with an amount that brings muscle failure (the metabolic type) within 8-12 reps.

Deadlift. Freepik.com

Many women already do 8-12 reps for their strength training – simply because they’ve read or heard that this is the ideal rep range.

Try this experiment: Next time you do your strength training, use the same amount of weight you normally use, but instead of stopping at between 8 and 12 reps, see if you can go to 15. If you can reach 15, see if you can go to 18, even 20.

If you can do more than 12 reps, the weight isn’t heavy enough. So, if you can actually make it to near 20 reps, the weight is entirely too light.

For strength training to induce optimal fat burning, a woman must use a weight that she cannot lift more than 12 times, but at least 8 times.

This is called the 8-12 rep max (or RM). If you can lift the weight 13 times but not 14, it is still too heavy. Increase it a little so that you are forced to stop at 8, 9, 10, 11 or 12 reps.

Metabolic burn isn’t pretty. It hurts, but it’s a good kind of hurt. The weight can no longer be lifted because your muscles are burning so much, rather than the weight is too heavy, as in “mechanical failure” that would result from a 4-6 RM.

A woman’s rest time in between strength training sets for optimum fat loss

Bent-over barbell row. embhoo/CreativeCommons

Rest time is 45-60 seconds. This means that for many sets, you’ll need to lighten the weight to achieve an 8-12 RM.

For example, in a bench press, suppose your first set of 8-12 RM is at 65 pounds. After 45-60 seconds, you can only do 6 reps with the 65 pounds.

This means that for the third set, the weight should be lowered to 55 or maybe 50 pounds. If you can push 50 pounds 14 times, this is a little too light.

Strength training this way will require some experimentation of weight loads, obviously. But this is what successful fitness enthusiasts do all the time; it goes with the territory.

Which muscle groups should be strength trained for the most fat loss?

Half squat. Freepik.com, teksomolika

One 45 minute session a week should be devoted entirely to legs. Legs can be major fat-burners if the strength training is done right, because they are such large muscle groups.

On a second day of the week, do a 60 minute strength training session targeting the back and shoulders.

On a third day for 60 minutes, strength training the chest, triceps and biceps will do.

Incline press. Freepik.com, javi_indy

Should women strength train with mostly machines or free weights?

Most of the routines should be with free weights, though the following machines are great: lat pull-down, chest press, leg press, leg extension and leg curl.

So though seated chest press is fine, do some chest presses with a barbell or dumbbell also.

Number of sets per muscle group is variable; general rule is that the more muscles worked in a given exercise, the more sets for that muscle group.

This means that on leg day, do a lot of squats, leg presses and weighted lunges, but fewer leg extensions and leg curls. Do only a FEW sets of inner and outer thigh routines.

To burn the most fat, women should do heavy strength training and follow these guidelines, but ease gradually into this type of strength training to avoid injury or excessive soreness.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 

 

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Top image: Freepik.com, prostooleh