Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

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Build it Big

Posted by terrepruitt on February 24, 2011

In Nia classes we have the opportunity to experience flexibility AND mobility AND agility AND strength AND stability. Depending on the starting point we can either be increasing or maintaining.   I also believe it is good for people to participate in a weight training program. I believe it is good to use weights to keep strength or build strength. I think having muscle strength in important. Most people do not have to concern themselves about getting big and bulking up. I have heard women say they don’t lift weights because they don’t want to do either of those things.

First of all, as a reminder, weights are not the only way to build strength, any type of resistance can work muscles. Depending on your starting point different things can be used, for example body weight alone without the use of weights is a great place to start. The use of resistance bands or tubing can be a great way to work muscles without having to deal with storing the weights. Working with weights (resistance) is a great way to stave off the aging process.

I think it might help people who are afraid of building big muscles to know how it happens. Basically if you want to build big muscles you have to work really, really, really hard at it. It doesn’t happen from going to the gym two or three times a week doing a few exercises at 8 repetitions each. Hypertrophy (muscles getting bigger) occurs when heavy weights are lifted in a specific way . . . more than the average person is going to lift (75% to 85% of what you can absolutely lift), more exercises than the average person takes time for, and with less rest time than most people take in the gym. It really takes work and concentration. It is very stressful on the body and people often don’t like to be sore. The type of lifting required to cause hypertrophy is not something the average woman is going to do. Doing 8 to 12 repetitions of a few exercise two or three times a week will enable your muscles to stay toned or it might even build some strength, but it will not make the muscles really big. If you want to increase your strength add more resistance or more reps.

What could actually happen if you start working with weights is the shape of the muscle might adjust and it you might think it is bigger because you actually start sensing it. I would recommend you measure your limbs with a flexible tape measure before you start a weight regimen. After a couple of weeks measure again, see if there is actually an increase in size. I’ll be waiting to hear . . . .

5 Responses to “Build it Big”

  1. niachick said

    Hi Terre! I love knowing that you’re a personal trainer AND a Nia teacher! I have little 2 lbs weights at home that I work with from time to time (I’m mostly interested in toning the triceps…at age 60 I notice that the triceps are less toned that my biceps). I also have a weight bar — something you blogged about in the past. I had one and didn’t know it until I saw your post!!! HAHAHA!!! So I’ve also been using that to do bicep curls and what I know as a “military press”…I think I can also use the bar as a french press for the biceps but I actually haven’t tried it yet. I have some issues with my neck and shoulders and have to be really careful when working with weights.

    That’s the beautiful thing about Nia and the 5 Sensations which you mentioned in this blog as well (thank you!). One of the things I usually incorporate into my floorplay sessions is “Plank Pose” which some folks call a “push up prep”. To me, plank pose to lower to the belly, to all 4’s to rolling back into a squat (repeating several times) is such a conditioning workout for my arms and actually whole body. Do you have any thoughts about plank or other yoga poses as strength training? I feel the body itself can be used for weight training.

    Love your blog as always. Thank you Terre!


    • The plank is awesome. It is a great all over body exercise. It can be done so many ways. Toe/ball of foot on earth with arms extended or on elbows. One can put their feet on something for a greater challenge.

      This is a great exercise to post about. I am making a note. As soon as my toe is better I shall do that. (It is getting there).

      I have my bar in my living room and I have not forgotten that I want to do more post about it. It can be used in soooo many ways!

      The body CAN be used for strength training, but for some people there might come a point where they will need more if they want to get stronger. To get stronger one has to use MORE resistance. So it really just depends on one’s goals.



  2. niachick said

    Oh, something else I wanted to mention. When I was 30, my girlfriend and I went into weight training. We got in to it to the point of considering entering amateur-level body building competitions. I have a photo in my FB folder somewhere of me when I was lean and mean. I’ll have to forward a copy to you via FB. It was alot of fun doing weight training. It changed the definition of my body tremendously. I went from being geeky skinny to being a hard-body, well-defined muscular chick. I loved it. But I ended up loving food more. I gave it up after a few years (never did the competitive circuit). Now I just love to dance!!!


    • See you just gave another reason as to why most people CANNOT bulk up (muscle big) from lifting weights . . . . in addition to really working at it very hard, one has to eat really lean and mean, and most people aren’t going to do that. One has to really purposefully want to get big muscles in order to get them. It just doesn’t happen from the “normal” / average workout.


  3. […] told my Nia Sister Jill that I wanted to post some exercises one can do with a weighted bar.  Her comment on my one of my last posts helped encourage me.  A couple of ways to use the weight bar is […]


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