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What Size Weights for Beginning Female Lifters?

author image Beth Rifkin
Based in San Francisco, Beth Rifkin has been writing health- and fitness-related articles since 2005. Her bylines include "Tennis Life," "Ms. Fitness," "Triathlon Magazine," "Inside Tennis," "American Fitness" and others. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Temple University.
What Size Weights for Beginning Female Lifters?
Choose form over weight levels. Photo Credit monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

Starting a weightlifting program can help you build lean muscle mass and improve your energy, endurance and bone density. The key to sticking with your workout plan longterm is to start off right, which means using weights that are appropriate for your fitness level.

The Perfect Weight

Perfecting your form should be your main focus when first starting a resistance training program. Use light weights, such as 3 to 5 lbs. to start as you practice the movements of common exercises, such as biceps curls, triceps kickbacks, chest press, rows, lateral raises, squats and lunges. Once you have the form down, use a weight level that will allow you to fatigue between eight and 12 repetitions, which means that you would not be able to perform another rep with proper form.

Get Stronger

Women have a greater tendency than men to stick to lower weights when working out; however, gradually raising your resistance level can help you progress and meet your fitness goals. As you become stronger, increase your weights by 2 to 2.5 lbs. at a time. Focus on your form as you increase the resistance -- slight modifications may be necessary to maintain proper body alignment. Aim for three sets per exercise, with eight to 12 reps per set.

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