Women and Strength training - Part 2

Women and Strength training – Part 2

Following on from the previous post here are some guidelines to kick start your training for strength.
Let’s get one thing straight from the start. There are no Womans exercises and Mens exercises. The presumption that women should be performing different movements or training with ultra light weights (i.e. the pink and baby blue 1kg dumbbells in the dusty corner of most gyms) is completely unfounded.
Something that gets me really uptight is hearing people refer to pushups as ‘mens pushups’ and some other pointless variation as ‘womens pushups’.

Antomically there is nothing that stops a woman from performing a pushup, although generally speaking a lower starting muscle mass and being taught a ‘womans pushup’ (a quick way to trash your shoulders and get nowhere fast) making initial progress slower. A mature Female client of Fitness Wild who could perform up to 50 perfect consecutive pushups was always delighted in showing the new male recruits who was boss.

With that being said there are some subtle differences which can improve the way woman train. If the loads you are using as a woman are very low to start with, the metabolic effect won’t be great enough even though technically you are performing a maximal lift. If you compare someone who can lift 100kg in a backsquat with someone maxing with just 30kg. The metabolic response won’t be the same. So while you’re building your strength up here are some guides to improving your results.

Greater muscular endurance. Women tend to be able to recover fast after near maximal lifts than men. To take advantage of this, reducing the rest period between sets will help with hypertrophy (gaining muscle mass). Also your added efficiency will allow you to get more work done overall.
Tempo and sets. With the shorter rest period more sets can be added and to overcome the initial lower starting strength. An increase in time under tension should be introduced. Keeping the muscle loaded for longer will increase its response for development.
Reduce the load. If you’re following a strength training program reducing the percentages will take advantage of the greater muscular endurance. This is not to say don’t go heavy but spending more time developing in the medium to heavy range will produce better results.
Go big. Using full body movements like deadlifts, squat and military press will have a better response to fat loss and increased athletic performance than isolations. With a lower testosterone count larger movements still won’t produce large increases in testosterone which is need for recovery and repair of the muscle tissue, but instead elevate growth hormone (GH) which is great for burning fat and helps in developing muscle. The heavier loads help to increase bone density so reduce the risk of osteoporosis. All in all a smarter way to train.