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Old 10-20-2011, 09:13 AM   #1
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Default Training For Women - Advice Needed!

Hi all,

In addition to training two blokes twice a week, I'm now also training my partner. She is using the same Steve Reeve's Classic template I've adapted for Ryan and Jared, and she's now performed it 3 times.

I've noticed that she is having real difficulty in some areas, like bench and OHpress, where she is actually moving less weight now that she did in her first session last week.

Progress is evident in other places, such as pinwheels (she repped 5 kg DBs for 8, then 10, and now 12 reps in the 1st set) and seated row... but in general that progress seems slower and more difficult to achieve.

My main concerns are
1 Bench press. The first time she did it, she performed 5 reps @ 30 kgs, then same @ 26 kgs, and 8 reps @ 20. Now she can't do more than 3 reps @ 30 in the first set, maybe 5 reps @ 20 kgs in the 2nd and by the 3rd set she's just repping the bar 8-10 times. I've reduced the amount of weight I am asking her to bench on the last two occasions, and now am hoping to build it back up slowly. But can anyone explain why her strength has decreased?

2 Training for progression. How slow should I take it? Is there anything I should know? And can anyone offer any general advice? I am not exactly a professional trainer to begin with, and I don't know if there are particular differences between training a female for progression and training a male the same way.

Thanks.
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Axle clean-press: 100 kgs (220 lbs)
Bench press: 135 kgs (298 lbs) - 1st PL meet 16th October 2011
Deadlift w/Barbell: 180 kgs (397 lbs)
Deadlift w/Hexbar: 225 kgs (496 lbs)
Farmers walk: 240 kgs (530 lbs), 50 feet
Front squat: 100 kgs (220 lbs)
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Strict OHP: 85 kgs (187 lbs) 3 reps
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Old 10-20-2011, 09:28 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abaddon View Post
But can anyone explain why her strength has decreased?
Strength decrease is probably due to exhaustion, since this is all new to her, and maybe DOMs is inhibiting her a little bit. Get her to eat a little more than normal, and remind her that adequate calories and rest are important.

Quote:
2 Training for progression. How slow should I take it? Is there anything I should know? And can anyone offer any general advice? I am not exactly a professional trainer to begin with, and I don't know if there are particular differences between training a female for progression and training a male the same way.
Progression for women is generally a lot slower than men. I would focus less on a set linear style of progression and focus on completing more reps than the previous week or session. The main thing to note about her progression is going to be just like a man's; is the form failing, progression in weight should not continue. If the form is falling apart in the later sets and/or higher reps, then she is not ready to add more weight. If she can just manage the sets and reps, then you need to focus on adding just a little bit more volume, whether that be sets or reps or both before increasing the weight.

Form is more important than anything. It doesn't matter how much weight you can lift if you cannot lift it correctly. In my experiences with my wife, it normally takes her about 2-3 weeks to add 5-10lbs. But it is highly dependant on the lift. From my experiences, OHP and bench are certainly not strong exercises for most women.
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Old 10-20-2011, 09:32 AM   #3
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Is this girl naturally skinny?
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Old 10-20-2011, 09:39 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadow View Post
Is this girl naturally skinny?
No, she is african-american, and so is traditionally built.
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MY LOG

PERSONAL RECORDS
Axle clean-press: 100 kgs (220 lbs)
Bench press: 135 kgs (298 lbs) - 1st PL meet 16th October 2011
Deadlift w/Barbell: 180 kgs (397 lbs)
Deadlift w/Hexbar: 225 kgs (496 lbs)
Farmers walk: 240 kgs (530 lbs), 50 feet
Front squat: 100 kgs (220 lbs)
Log clean-press: 100 kgs (220 lbs)
Strict OHP: 85 kgs (187 lbs) 3 reps
Tyre flip: 260 kgs (573 lbs), 100 feet
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Old 10-20-2011, 09:47 AM   #5
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I find that strengthening the triceps is very relative for progression on pressing movements for most women. A little bit of added focus can make a pretty significant difference IMO. Another thing to note is joint health; specifically wrists, elbows and shoulders. They seem to be a common problem area, in my experiences, and this holds significantly more common on naturally skinny women.

Just something to keep an eye on. Make sure all the movements are clean, wrists aren't rolled back on bench or pressing, elbows follow proper lines, etc..
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Old 10-20-2011, 09:50 AM   #6
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She needs to take some time and build slowly into weight. Right now everything feels shaky for her, and she needs to be allowed some time to adapt to the movements using a moderate weight, and to slowly condition herself to the demands of the program.

After this point then she can slowly add weight or reps.

It is better to start with a moderate weight and add a rep than to push her close to failure on every set right now. Give her some time to build confidence, and allow time for neuromuscular adaptation.

Initial strength gains, from my understanding, come from neuromuscular adaptation and not from any muscle building that is taking place.
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Old 10-20-2011, 10:35 AM   #7
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You might already know this but I found alot of good information at Elitefts under Strong(her) about women strength training and nutrition. I also am about to start training a female friend of mine and have found it really helpful.
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Old 10-20-2011, 12:15 PM   #8
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I'm not sure if you've seen this but it is an important aspect to consider:

http://muscleandbrawn.com/forums/gen...ing-heavy.html



I have read that females, generally, tend to have about 75% of the lower body strength of a man and 50% of the upper body strength of a man; that could, of course, relate to those that don't lift and train and progress, since we know that some female powerlifters are stronger than the average Joe etc.

With really lightweight females, BW of 125 lb (for example) a barbell alone (44 lb) is a good percentage of bodyweight being moved, and since most females are supposed to have lower bodyweights than their male counterparts, it's something to take in to consideration.

Increases in weightloads moved are a lot smaller incrementally; when I do deadlifts, and have done my warm-up, if I put 10kg increments on, I find it a struggle (I really notice that leap), whereas if I put 5kg increments on the bar and do less reps but more sets, I can get to the higher numbers that I want to reach without having felt like I just took a leap over a massive Gorge. When I hit my topmost lift, I then tend to add even smaller increments to the bar.



The info may be of some use, or give food for thought.
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Old 10-20-2011, 01:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Strength decrease is probably due to exhaustion, since this is all new to her, and maybe DOMs is inhibiting her a little bit. Get her to eat a little more than normal, and remind her that adequate calories and rest are important.



Progression for women is generally a lot slower than men. I would focus less on a set linear style of progression and focus on completing more reps than the previous week or session. The main thing to note about her progression is going to be just like a man's; is the form failing, progression in weight should not continue. If the form is falling apart in the later sets and/or higher reps, then she is not ready to add more weight. If she can just manage the sets and reps, then you need to focus on adding just a little bit more volume, whether that be sets or reps or both before increasing the weight.

Form is more important than anything. It doesn't matter how much weight you can lift if you cannot lift it correctly. In my experiences with my wife, it normally takes her about 2-3 weeks to add 5-10lbs. But it is highly dependant on the lift. From my experiences, OHP and bench are certainly not strong exercises for most women.
^^This. Keep in mind that in general, a women's strength is in her lower body. We're typically much weaker in the upper body, which is why guys can usually out-bench even the strongest woman. Try moving her more toward incline presses; she will be building the upper pecs more (and that's what chicks want, so our breasts will appear larger and we'll improve our cleavage) and I know for myself, I hate traditional bench presses because it's hard on my elbows which could cause some loss of strength/motivation.

I find with myself that I might lift heavy for a couple weeks, then the following week I'm struggling just to make my reps with the same weight and I'm always like . DOMS and general muscle fatigue can cause this, as well as I'm sure our normal hormonal fluctuations during the course of a month. Also make sure her diet is in check. You can't put that much new strain on a body and not fuel it correctly as the body will obviously not cooperate for very long.

Theoretically speaking, though, you shouldn't expect to train a woman any differently than a man.
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Old 10-20-2011, 01:58 PM   #10
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Now that you've brought that up Virago, I vaguely remember reading something about the menstrual cycle and training, and I remember it being pretty damn interesting. I think it actually had something to do with joints... I'll have to see if I can dig it up. I don't remember too much about it, but I do remember stumbling across it when I was doing serious research way back when. It may not have been joints, but I'll look into it.
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