Lisa Weis Talks About Bone Strength Training

Presenter: Katherine Lodge
Guest: Lisa Weis
Guest Bio: She is the Head Coach at Barbelles, which is an exclusive facility that caters for women in their 40’s to 70’s with some specific needs. Lisa has a professional background that includes 18 years of experience in the human movement field. She is also an accredited Aston Kinetic practitioner, and she has a level 2 coaching for the Australian Weightlifting Federation and currently holds the Queensland and Oceania records for the 40-to-45 years age group in Olympic weightlifting.


Health Professional Radio – Bone Strength Training

Katherine Lodge: Thanks for listening to Health Professional Radio. Today, we have with us Lisa Weis. She is the Head Coach at Barbelles, which is an exclusive facility that caters for women in their 40s to 70s with some specific needs. Lisa has a professional background that includes 18 years of experience in the human movement field. She is also an accredited Aston Kinetic practitioner, and she has a level 2 coaching for the Australian Weightlifting Federation and currently holds the Queensland and Oceania records for the 40-to-45 years age group in Olympic weightlifting. Wow! Thank you for joining us today, Lisa!

Lisa Weis: Thank you for having me.

[crosstalk, laughter]

Katherine: It is very impressive! Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got involved, and now you’re a record holder in weightlifting?

Lisa Weis: Actually, you know what – when you come to a Masters Olympic weightlifting, when mum and dad came and saw me once – when mum and dad walked into the stadium to watch the girls lift, they doubled the crowd. [laughs]

Katherine: [laughs] Yeah.

Lisa Weis: So, about eight years ago, I was playing golf with a lady, and she knew I was weightlifting. She had osteoporosis and she asked if she could come over and I could show her a few things for some weight-bearing. So she came over and I just showed her a few things, and she got all emotional about it, and I thought, “If I could actually use my human movement background and my Olympic weightlifting knowledge, what I’ve learned, say, in the last eight years, I could actually start teaching women in their 40s to 70s…”

‘Cause I realised that there’s not really that much – actually, there’s nothing out there, for the woman who hates the gym, especially with things like osteo or MS or some autoimmune disease, that caters for that type of lady. So [indecipherable 02:13], about 12 months ago, I had women lining up at my bin [sp]. I used to just train women under the house in a big double garage. Once again, no equipment, just a barbell and some weights and a rack, and a chin-up bar, and I just moved into commercial premises about 12 months ago, and it’s been really successful.

Katherine: And you got a core group of women now, and it’s a women’s-only facility, is that correct?

Lisa Weis: Sorry, what was that? I’ve got a core group of women?

Katherine: Yeah, you have a group of women, your regulars now and …

Lisa Weis: Oh, yes!

Katherine: … it’s a facility for women only.

Lisa Weis: It’s women only. I have about a hundred women there now, and it’s a group class environment, and they come at a structured time. The classes are supervised or coached the whole time, either by myself or my other coach, Tanya Harding, who has also a lot of experience in the 40 to 70-year-old, and is also an ex-Olympian. So you are coached by women who have a lot of experience and knowledge, and we’re not the 19-year-old personal trainer, so to speak.

Katherine: Right. And how did you get involved in weightlifting yourself?

Lisa Weis: I played hockey. I’ve always been involved in sport, and I was playing hockey one night and I did my ACL, so I had a total knee reconstruction, and realised that my hockey days were coming to an end.

Katherine: Right.

Lisa Weis: Because the last thing I really needed to do was to go through another one of those. It was horrific. My surgeon said that I should really start to strengthen the backs of my legs, my hamstrings, and my glutes. So I just sort of started one day, and I just started in my garage and I taught myself for a while, and then I got a coach on board, Damon Kelly. I did human movement many, many, many years ago at uni, that’s when it was called human movement – it’s called exercise science now.

And I’ve always been in sport, and I’ve loved sport, and I really fell in love with the Olympic weightlifting, due to the, the technical side of things.

Katherine: Yup. Very interesting. And you, as you mentioned before, you have a lot of experience with the human movement field and you are also accredited in the Aston Kinetic. Can you tell us about that?

Lisa Weis: Yes, we did Aston Kinetic. Judith Aston is a famous American, she was a ballet dancer, and she trained under a lady called Ida Rolf, and she is quite famous herself. The technique is called Rolfing and it’s sort of like Pilates but another version of Pilates. Rolfing is more about massage and that, but I went on a two-week postural course with Judith Aston.

She comes out to Australia once a year. I thought there was something missing in my arsenal with respect to teaching women in their 40s, 50s and 60s, and that was with the movements that we do down at Barbelles, a lot of it has to do with correct posture. I learned things like being of equal lengths forward and backward when we’re moving.

And I took Judith’s ideas of being of equal lengths and having perfect posture, and I’ve applied that to our methods of lifting down there, and it just gives the ladies another spin on how our bodies move through space and how we can safely do that, because certainly when we start adding weight, like 20 kilos, 40, 60, some girls have got 80 kilos on the bar down there – you want to be sure that you have perfect posture.

Katherine: Right.

Lisa Weis: That’s Judith Aston, and she just called it Aston Kinetics, and it’s a six-day course, and it was probably one of the best courses I’ve been on with respect to … not even having anything to do with strength and conditioning.

Katherine: Yes.

Lisa Weis: And I think it’s added another sort of string to my bow.

Katherine: Yeah, yeah. And about people, say they’re interested in some strength training and coming down to Barbelles and lifting some weights, I think there are some people, especially maybe 40-plus, that are predisposed to osteoporosis, maybe they have had some previous injuries, perhaps a fall or fracture — can they still do strength training?

Lisa Weis: Absolutely. I mean, they don’t turn up with a fracture in the back and … probably one of the worse clients that I have down there at the moment, she has negative 5 osteo. That doesn’t mean much to you, but it’s getting up there to being very fragile and brittle. Still, we take it very easy with them, and we ease them into the movement, so they’re not lifting 60 kilos on the first day.

But Hillary, who I actually met at a Healthy Bones forum, she’s in her 60s and she has this osteo and she only weighs about 50 kilos, but she’s very impressed that she can lift 45 kilos off the floor, which is pretty good for a 60-year-old lady who only weighs 50 kilos. It just goes to prove, if we can teach women the very basics first, and then week by the week, as the central nervous system, our brains and our muscles start to pick up on these movements, only then do we add the weight. I can guarantee Hillary is building bones just by the pure fact that she’s picking 45 kilos off the floor.

Katherine: Yeah, yeah, what about … I was just going to ask about women who are intimidated by going to the gym, and they have this idea in their head, what weightlifting is all about, [indecipherable 08:44] What advise can you give to these women?

Lisa Weis: One of the myths out there that needs to be blown away is that… Okay –Hillary is lifting 45 kilos off the floor, and Hillary still looks the same, you know what I mean? She doesn’t look like a body builder and she certainly doesn’t look like an Olympic weightlifter. Training twice a week, you are not going to look like either of these two types of images that we have in our mind about women and weights.

The only thing that I will say is you­ do tone up, I mean, you have to, because you need muscle to lift that. But you don’t look muscle-ly. Does that make sense?

Katherine: Yeah.

Lisa Weis: I mean, don’t get me wrong. We don’t do any bicep curls down there or any of that body-building stuff, but the girls are so impressed with the biceps that they end up with, and they say goodbye to the tuck-shop lady arms, and they’re all … It’s funny, the 66-year-old girls down there showing each other’s guns off, and they can’t believe it … we don’t do any bicep curl work. So one of the myths there is that you’re gonna look huge lifting weights, and it’s the complete opposite. It truly is. You’re just gonna look like you, but you’re definitely gonna look toned.

Katherine: A toned version of you.

Lisa Weis: Sorry? Yeah, a toned version of you. And to be honest with you, to look like a body-builder, like those muscle-ly girls, you have to starve yourself to death. And they don’t look like that all year round, trust me.

Katherine: Yeah, yeah.

Lisa Weis: You know, they have a photo shoot or they have a competition, maybe once or twice a year like most of us, and they starve themselves to death to look like that.

Katherine: Right.


Lisa Weis: Industry secret. [indecipherable 10:48] body building, but anyways.

Katherine: And so people, they can see results within about four weeks, is that right?

Lisa Weis: You will feel different within four weeks. You start to become more aware of your body. Like you actually understand where your hips are, where your shoulders are, you actually start to stand straighter because you have me in your head saying, “Can you please get your shoulders back, your elbows forward, your ears over your shoulders instead of your ears being in front.” I think ladies become more aware of their surroundings.

Even when they’re sitting in a chair, they feel guilty now for slumping. Within that four weeks, you’ll definitely notice the difference within yourself. You feel a lot more straighter and a lot more stronger. Walking seems to become easier, hanging the washing seems to become a lot more easier. I say around about the 8 to 10, maybe 12-week mark, you’ll definitely notice muscle tone.

Katherine: Sounds good.

Lisa Weis: Definitely.

Katherine: Thank you so much for your time today, Lisa.

Lisa Weis: Thank you. Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it. I’ve enjoyed talking to you.

Katherine: For those of you that would like to learn more, you can go to Thanks for your time, Lisa.

Lisa Weis: Thanks again.

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