The excellent thing about deadlifts? They offer significant advantages, including joint-reinforcing and muscle-building, and there are multiple ways to perform them. For example, Kate Upton’s long-standing coach, Ben Bruno, recently shared videos of the model and actress demonstrating two variations of deadlifts using heavy weights in a recent Instagram post.
The videos display Upton engaging in trap bar deadlifts (which Bruno refers to as one of his preferred exercises in the caption of his post). These are performed with a tool known as — you guessed it — a trap bar. Trap bars generally possess a hexagonal form that allows you to stand inside it, as the bar envelops your lower body. It also offers two handles for you to grasp.
In the first variation, Upton executes conventional trap bar deadlifts by standing with feet slightly wider than the width of her hips, and with the trap bar placed on the ground. She bends her hips and knees to seize the bar, maintaining a flat back, before extending her legs and thrusting her hips forward to stand upright. Then, she reverses the motion by bending her hips again and lowering the weights back to the ground.
In the second video, Upton performs trap bar deadlifts with a staggered stance, which are employed “to prioritize one leg at a time,” as stated by Bruno in his caption. For this exercise, Upton positions her left leg slightly in front of her right leg. Then, she follows the same procedure of bending her hips and knees to lift the trap bar and place it back down with each repetition.
If you’re interested in attempting these variations during your next workout but find heavy weights daunting, you’re not alone. According to Bruno’s post, Upton didn’t fearlessly dive into the realm of heavy lifting either. “@kateupton has made remarkable progress in the gym. She used to be very hesitant about lifting heavy weights, but now she’s the one requesting to increase the weight,” writes Bruno in his caption. “Strength training works wonders for the body and mind. I love witnessing the transformation,” he adds.
Resistance training can define your muscles, burn considerable calories, and feel quite empowering, as Shape previously reported. The benefits extend beyond the surface as well: Weightlifting can enhance performance, prevent injuries, improve flexibility, and even boost cardiovascular health. And to address the question, no, lifting heavy weights won’t cause excessive muscle growth if that’s not your fitness objective.
“Many women express concern about lifting heavy weights in the gym: They don’t want to appear bulky or harm themselves,” says Mallory Fox, M.S., D.H.S.c., a NASM-certified master trainer who holds NASM specializations in corrective exercise and performance enhancement.
It’s challenging to develop muscle size, she clarifies. “It requires time, regularity, appropriate nourishment, and programming to enhance muscle hypertrophy (also known as the size of the muscle fibers).” So, unless you’re working towards that specific objective, you don’t have to be concerned about unintentionally bulking by adding weights into your routine.
In fact, lifting heavier weights can actually aid in injury prevention and burn more calories post-workout and while you’re at rest, she adds. “Resilient muscle tissue tends to occupy less space in the body,” she explains. “Lifting heavy weights can also boost body confidence and endurance — both inside and outside of the gym.”
Although intense weightlifting may seem daunting at first, you can look to Upton as an example of how you might surprise yourself with what you’re capable of in the gym, particularly if you have an encouraging trainer to help you safely advance your routine.
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