Sunday, April 6, 2008
Today I happened upon a post on a weight loss forum regarding "pink dumbbells." The woman was questioning whether she was welcome on that forum because of the staunch beliefs of some of the members regarding weight training and ongoing, sarcastic comments about using pink dumbbells.
I can't speak specifically to the tone of that forum because I'd never visited there before and only read that particular thread, which I found totally by chance. And, although I certainly don't like people feeling demeaned in online forums, I have to say "Yea!" that more women are getting the message about how to get the best results from their strength training routines.
That being said, I was concerned that some of my readers may also be confused about the whole "No pink dumbbells" theme of this blog so I decided to explain the training philosophy a little more in depth.
When people refer to "pink dumbbells", it's not about the actual color of a dumbbell; it's more of a shorthand way of referring to light, non-challenging weight. In fact, the original poster was partially upset because, at her gym, the pink dumbbells were 10 pounds and she felt that she was being ridiculed even though she was using a weight that was challenging for her. (As the replies came in, she realized that was not the case.)
Although I've never been in a gym with 10-pound pink dumbbells (it's usually the 2 or 3 lb. home weights that are pink), let me say again that it's not about the actual color. It's not even about the actual weight you use; it's about the workload on your muscles.
It's all relative. A 5-pound weight may be enough resistance for a beginner or on certain exercises. The point is to challenge your muscles with a resistance that you can only perform 6-10 times. Contrary to the "light weight, high reps to tone" myth, doing 25 reps using 3 pounds is not an effective or efficient way to achieve the body you want.
When you can do 10 reps with good form, increase the weight slightly at the next workout (this is where Plate Mates come in super handy if you use metal dumbbells). As long as you can perform at least 6 reps with the higher weight while using correct form, you're good. Then, just continue to increase your reps as you're able until you reach 10. Once you can do 10 reps, repeat the process. For best fat loss and strength results, you should always be striving to increase your reps or your resistance (always with good form, of course).
So, as long as the weights you use challenge your muscles, don't worry about what color they are. (The 1-pound dumbbells at Body & Soul are blue.)
If you're seriously interested in dropping body fat, getting fit and reshaping your body check out The New Rules of Lifting for Women: Lift Like a Man, Look Like a Goddess book or Craig Ballantyne's TurbulenceTraining program.