Review: Strength Training for Women

Submitted: Sunday, Jan 29, 2012 at 16:20
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I was attractted to this book because I know i should do more core and strength work but i never know exactly what workouts to do. I'm not new to these sorts of workouts having paid for and followed previous PT programs, but I always forget what i should do, and get bored following the same programs. What I like about this book is that each workout has a photograph of a "normal" looking person doing the workout so its easy to follow. I also like that the majority of the book is the workouts themselves without too much sports science fluff to interrupt the flow of just getting it done, so its a practical book you use to actually follow as you do the workout - or copy out sections and build your own workout to target different muscle groups. It is MORE about strength so the exercises shown mostly use weights and gym machines, however there is a separate chapter just for bodyweight exercises and another chapter for hand-weights called "Home & Travel Routine". So, there are 6 chapters each dedicated to describing specific exercises for one particular muscle group (ie. Chest & Arms, Back & Arms, Arms, Shoulders, Legs, Lower Back & Abs), followed by a big section with various "routines: such as the Total Body Workout, Sports Strength Workout, Body Weight workout, and the Home/Travel workout. A very useful resources that i've already started using for my home workouts.
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Reply By: The Landy - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2012 at 12:05

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2012 at 12:05
Hi Michelle

I am a great fan of strength training, and have continued with my usual program right throughout the training program for the Coast to Coast. The benefits should never be underestimated.

For me it is a passion, and understand that it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I try to keep it simple, workouts as short as possible, and I stick to the plan day to day, month to month etc.

I follow a very basic, but effective 5x5 program and concentrate solely on the bigger basic compound lifts, no isolation exercises to speak of. The backbone of which are (deep) squats, dead-lift, bench-press, and shoulder press. I also do core stability, as it is essential to ensure good abdominal strength given it connects the upper and lower body. If you think of these exercises they are the very basic movements we perform in our daily life so there is a natural rhythm to this style of lifting.

I don't mess with the program (when you read it this point is made very well), and have used it as described for a number of years. It is great for building strength, and if you want to add muscle you can control that aspect through diet. Excess food + lifting = muscle gain. Alternatively, balance or reduce food to a deficit, follow the same program and you will gain strength and lean body fat (not suggesting you need that!). It is easily adapted to periodisation, build muscle in the off-season, and lean going into the season...

I also follow a push-up/pull-up regime on alternate days to weight training, and it is very effective at building strength and endurance. I’ll detail both programs further.

Equipment wise, I keep it very simple. My home gym (in the shed) comprises a C2 rowing machine, a Squat rack (covers all lifts I do) and a chin-up tower. I can disappear into the shed for about an hour of lifting and Led Zepplin (if it isn’t 5am).

And to comment on strength training for men versus women, I wouldn’t place too much distinction between gender, just do the basic lifts, and always use 'free' weights. Resist the temptation for machine assisted weights.

Armstrong Pull-up Program

Bill Starr - Glenn Pendlay 5x5





Cheers, Baz

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Follow Up By: TriathlonOz - Michelle - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2012 at 12:43

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2012 at 12:43
Wow Baz, thanks for sharing that. I've just spent about 10mins scanning the info on those two links and have downloaded the 5x5 for reference. I have always thought I'd like to move into doing some more weights but always worried how to schedule it into what already seems a full schedule with triathlon, work and family. We have just had some plans drawn up to add on a new room for a gym so perhaps I need to include a weights set too. What type would you recommend? A multi-pulley set?
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Follow Up By: The Landy - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2012 at 14:47

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2012 at 14:47
Hi Michelle

In terms of equipment; definitely ‘free’ weights only, no machines. Pulley assisted machines don’t tend to engage all the ‘stabilising’ muscles in the exercises. In fact I feel there is a greater risk of injury using pulley-machines than free weights.


But to qualify that comment, I would strongly recommend to anyone undertaking the type of endurance training you do, to have a C2 Concept rowing machine. With the AU$ at high levels the prices are around $1,500, and money well spent. I use mine (almost) daily, and is an invaluable training aid.

I use a squat rack, and Pull-up tower. Both of these are available from Work-out world stores, and I use the Avanti brand due to their sturdiness (I weigh in around 95 Kg).

Have a look at the link, I use the EXM Power Tower, and the Avanti X475 Bench Press & Squat Rack. But if you have the room to fit it, the Avanti EXM Power Cage does both functions. I just don’t have sufficient height in the shed for it!

Also, I‘ve posted a blog that contains a spreadsheet for the 5x5 strength program, and also for the Armstrong Pull-up program.

Good luck with it!!

Equipment

Cheers, Baz
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Follow Up By: TriathlonOz - Michelle - Wednesday, Feb 01, 2012 at 16:15

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2012 at 16:15
Interesting! I hadn't realised there could be any issue with pulley assisted weights. Great advice, I'm glad I had you to ask!
I knew you were going to recommend that damn C2 rower - ok ok, I"ll take a look!! No seriously, it does sound rather interesting... so much to learn, always something more.... LOL
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Follow Up By: The Landy - Thursday, Feb 02, 2012 at 05:23

Thursday, Feb 02, 2012 at 05:23
You'll thank yourself for it (C2) Take a look at the C2 website, it is stacked full of training information etc. A fantastic resource.

Good luck!

C2 website

Baz
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