Going to the gym is one important part of being an athlete as building muscle and lifting your heart rate up helps you to get fitter and perform better when playing.
For years there has been stigma and questions about whether women can weight lift. Women argue that weight lifting make women large and bulky like men. But, in fact weight lifting does the complete opposite! Especially when partnered with high amounts of cardio (which is easily done when playing on a Rugby team). Lifting weights uses more of your body, therefore works multiple parts at once and also needs more energy so your body burns more to help lift.
Weight lifting can be so varied and depending on the type of body you want/need can mean that you can vary your weight lifting sessions. Supersets are a great way to use weights and stay lean, this is because you are doing 2 different types of exercises one after the other with weights and no rest. By doing this, your body is not resting for long periods of time between different exercises and therefore you do not ‘bulk’ due to not lifting heavy and resting. Instead you are working fast pace, and can also incorporate cardio with weights which means your heart rate is up and you are using more parts of your body at one time.
Another reason why supersets are good for not ‘bulking’ is because you cant lift with heavy weights (one of the reasons why women fear weight lifting). Therefore you use lower weight and work harder as there are no long rests. Which means your body gets tired quicker and is also more intense on your muscles.
In the picture above, I am standing in front of a smith machine (which I use when training legs). You can use this machine to superset as well as normal weight lift because you can do variation of different exercises. As well as this, using a Smith Machine is great when starting back in the gym after having an injury. This is because having assistance when performing the major lifting moves, gives you extra support in case you are struggling. Also, it makes easing into exercise better and doesn’t cause re-injury.
An example of a superset you can do on a smith machine is:
Lunges followed by one leg deadlift- 1 set of 12 lunges on each leg, then 1 set of 12 dead lifts on each leg. Overall, 5 sets of 12 on each leg for both exercises. This can be fast pace, and although you are assisted by using the smith machine, you will still sweat and raise your heart rate. Which helps you to build muscle and still get a lean body.
As well as building muscle, you want to make sure that you keep up cardio as you need to be able to shift all the muscle you are building when running on a pitch. Therefore cardio in the gym can be beneficial after weight lifting. For example, sprinting for 1-2 minutes and resting for 30 seconds- 1 minute, and repeating this 10-15 times.