Lifting Weights for Building Curves: A Guide


Building nice curves (aka muscle!) is definitely a challenge, especially if you’re woman! Weight lifting is pretty much the only way to build lean, sexy curves! But are you doing the right things in the gym to put on weight?

Below is my 5 step guide on lifting weights for building curves.  This is specially for those of you who are hitting the gym on the regular, lifting weights, may even have a solid weight training program but are not seeing results.

Now, if you are looking to build more muscle but are NOT currently lifting weights, your very first step (before step one!) is to start lifting weights. Get a gym memberships or join some classes! Progressive weight lifting is the ONLY way to build lean mass!

If you currently are going to the the gym but doing mostly cardio based workouts or just working out with your own body weight continue reading! Quick tip: you need to start incorporating heavier weights and a more robust, progressive weight training routine.


Step One: Start with a Plan


Your first step is to grab a weight training program that you can adhere to! One that fits your goals! (like my online/mobile program that comes with a muscle building nutrition plan). Make sure to pick out a plan that is progressive and targets your goals. Know that NOT all programs are built the same and meant for everyone!

A plan is very necessary if you are serious about your goals! I would also suggest taking a minute to reflect on your goals. How much weight do you wanna gain? Is there a number? Perhaps your goal is to compete? Or to build bigger glutes? Your exercise plan should compliment your goals!

Step Two: Consistency

Your second step is to schedule your workouts and BE CONSISTENT. Often times we start a program but do not adhere to it! Let me tell ya, there is no FAST TRACK to building lean tissue. Consistency is even more important for you hard gainers who naturally have a faster metabolism. You need to be in the gym between 3 to 6 days a week to see results for a period of at least 3 months! For some of you it may take a while longer to put on lean mass. Why?  Because as women we just do not have the hormones to put on muscle easily (aka testosterone) so it will take us a lot longer and more consistency to see results.

Step Three: Mastering Exercises

The third step is to master exercises and what I refer to as the FLEX. If you are new to weight training, ensure that you know what exercises stimulate which muscle group. Learn to perform exercises correctly by hiring a coach or purchasing a program that comes with instructional videos (like my online program!) This also avoids the chance of you injuring yourself!

Know that weight training has a very large learning curve! Be patient, it make take a few sets and lots of practice to master an exercise. The old saying of “practice makes perfect” is very true when it comes to working out. If you are unsure of how to perform an exercises or what exercise to do to target which muscle group, make sure to reach out to certified fitness professional.

I’m all about Pilates as part of a balanced fitness program❤️ It teaches proper breathing, and helps strengthen and cinch your core. For my naturally thick legs, I also focus on Pilates movements to create the ‘look’ of longer, leaner legs. Understanding training along with the knowledge of how different movements will change your shape is the key to my Hourglass Shaping repertoire behind @trainwithlyzabeth & @hourglassworkout😉 Knowledge is power… Don’t just train blindly, learn and understand what and why you are doing each move. Learn the names of your muscles and what they do… You don’t need to understand it all right away, but know that the more you understand, the better your transformation will be🙌 Happy training everyone 😘😘 – #trainwithlyzabeth #hourglasseorkout #pilates #yogs#lululemon #nike #personaltrainer #latina #fitness

A video posted by Lyzabeth Lopez (@lyzabethlopez) on

Master the flex:

Ensure that you are flexing while performing exercises! The mind body connection is REAL! It may take a few sets to really connect with your muscle. Again, ask a certified professional or use a program with instructions that guides you on how to flex your muscles while exercising. This is a SUPER important part of weightlifting. There is no point of working out if you are not performing exercises correctly and flexing appropriately. A good rule is to use what I call the 2-3 tempo. This mean to take 2 seconds in the concentric (lifting) portion and take 3 seconds to lower the weights. You wanna lift weights with CONTROL not just throw weights with momentum.

Know your rep ranges:

Scientifically speaking, rep ranges from 8 to 12 are optimal for weight gain, while a low rep range builds strength. High rep ranges (think 15 to 30 reps per set) build endurance. This does not mean all your workouts should be in the 8 to 12 rep range. Rather ensure to incorporate all these rep ranges into your workouts. It’s important to train at all these rep ranges as muscle endurance and strength are EQUALLY important as aesthetics and size. Note that use appropriately, low and high rep ranges can also aid in building mass!

Step Four: Progressing Your Workouts (aka periodization)

weight-girls-memeOne you have mastered most of the exercises, its important to progress them! In exercise science we refer to this as periodization. It’s essentially taking your workouts and making them more challenging little by little to give your body new stimulation to grow! I cannot emphasize how important and crucial this single step is for weight gain!

Simply put, if you are looking to put on weight, you cannot keep lifting the same weights, at the same reps, sets and tempo! You have to challenge your body using different methods like supersets and by lifting heavier! The body will adapts to new stimulation and load. Thus, if you are looking to build nice, lean curves you need to ensure that you are both lifting heavier and giving your body new challenges. This may be in the form of adding more reps, sets, slowing down tempo, adding supersets… there are many great ways to challenge your body!

Aim to challenge your body and lift a little heavier every other week to see results! A good rule of thumb is to lift 5% heavier on each exercise once you can comfortably complete 10 to 15 reps. For example if you are performing a deadlift with 40 lbs barbell, next week aim for a 50lbs one! 5% increase in weights means about 5lbs for smaller muscle groups (think biceps, triceps, shoulders, calves) and about 15 to 90 lbs on larger muscle groups. Larger muscles can handle a larger jump in weights as they are, well larger! Our legs and back are our two largest muscle groups, so those are the two in which you can easily up your weights with!

But will lifting heavy make me BULKY? NO! In fact studies have shown that women get leaner (aka lose body fat) when they lift heavy! One study showed that women improve their body composition dramatically when they are staying in the 8 to 12 rep range! (also case in point, I lift pretty heavy when working out year round!) 

As mentioned before,we ladies just do not have the hormones to put on large amount of muscle so we just do not get BIG and BULKY from lifting heavier.

Step Five: Nutrition

Know that ALL the above steps have to accompanied with good nutrition! Fuel your muscles for growth! Muscle cannot recover and grow without adequate amounts of protein, good carbs and fats. The average female needs about 100 to 150 grams of protein to MAINTAIN their muscle mass. Yup, that means to grow you need even more protein than that! Make sure to each lots of good, healthy food,. Invest in a structured meal plan (like my muscle building one) to ensure you are eating the right foods for your goals and hitting your macros.

I recommend tracking your food using an app like fitness plan or keeping a food journal. Based on experience, most women often are not eating adequate amounts ofprotein (and sometimes just not eating enough all together!).  The only way to ensure you are eating enough for growth is to track your food and adjust your macros and calories accordingly.

I hope this guide helps you in your journey to building curves! Feel free to drop me a comment below! Happy training!

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