We will eliminate all of that and get right down to “keeping it real,” if I may use only one catch phrase for real life results. There will be gym/fitness club exercises here, but also something someone can do at home with a minimum of equipment and done in ways that are not taught in normal classes or fitness settings.
We will be talking about strength training, FOR A REAL WOMAN!
First, before you stop reading here, yes, I know this is usually treated as a masculine subject with strength and, no, you don’t want to look like one. But first thing, a woman does not have the make up inside to look “manly” or as big as a man.
In fact, to get that kind of size requires heavy steroid use.
But there are many examples of women who are strong, capable and still remain very feminine. Many who may read this and who have grown up farming or playing sports will agree.
But a few other examples quickly, first…
A friend from England once told me while working in Finland farming, one of the jobs was loading and unloading grain sacks in excess of 175 lbs. each. A fair job for a strong male, no doubt, and hard work! Now the big shock was he told me that the best worker was THE MOTHER who was a middle aged woman at that!
There is an Icelandic legend of a father who, to test potential husbands for his daughter, would use a giant 400 + lbs. yard stone. The men had to not only lift this, but carry it around the sheep pen in the yard! This test was not demonstrated by the father to the suitors but by THE DAUGHTER HERSELF! Only when someone was stronger than the daughter and thus able to protect her, were they a fit suitor.
Lots of examples of stronger women celebrities, too, from Linda Hamilton in her role in “Terminator 2” to Demi Moore’s “G.I. Jane”, Cory Everson in the action film, “Double Impact” as the villianess Cara and Hilary Swank as a female boxer in “Million Dollar Baby” .
I think, though, the best explanation I’ve heard for female strength training rationale is to think about how much an average toddler weighs and if you’re a mother, you’re familiar with that 20 – 40 lbs. of a child. Also, the average sized purse which is carried all day on a daily basis is somewhere in the 10 lbs. range, yes? So much for the 2 ½ lbs. hand weights!
No need or excuses for them, now! Think about how much easier your daily tasks would be with the added strength. Think of what adding 10lbs of muscle and losing 10lbs of fat would do- Those thighs looking sexier, that ass rounder, with no loose skin on those arms.
No need to go out in fear of not being able to defend yourself, or looking like an easy target! Wouldn’t you prefer to know you look sexually attractive?
Now, before we get into the exercises and routines and the how to’s and why’s I want to discuss what you’ll be using as part of your training to condition yourself. If you have access to a gym facility or a home gym weight set already great! However, this is not mandatory at all. A few of these exercises and drills are done with no added weights at all and can be done daily or as little as twice per week for benefit in your own home.
Other things you’ll learn about are sandbox sand bags or ice salt bags which can be purchased at a local hardware store very inexpensively. A water filter bottle filled which you may already have, towels and paper for scrunching for hand health and medium weighted rocks and stones you may already have in your garden or can find lying around nearby.
Many deadlift, squat, row, press variations can come from using these odd objects and are more challenging than a bar or machine because of their misshaped nature.
Most of the exercises, deadlifts, (1 arm curl & press, object carry, pullovers, zercher squats, grip training, chin ups, dips) you should use will use many body parts together and in many cases the whole body in 1 exercise. Why? Simply put, the more muscles you use, the harder the body works and then it must use more energy (calories, fat) to do this.
For example: Just as swimming or cross country skiing is harder than walking. For cardiovascular/aerobic training are the Eliptical machines which combine a stepper and a rowing movement with the arms and back in one exercise for the same reason! These can be found in many gyms and health clubs.
STRENGTH TEST, WHAT’S A GOOD WEIGHT TO USE?
OK, so where do we start? How heavy? How much should you do? The oldest way to answer this and basic for gym training for most lifts is either start with half your bodyweight x 1 rep, rest 2 minutes and add 5 – 10 lbs. and repeat til fatigued. Another milder way is to start lighter as the empty weight bar and do the suggested repetitions, learn the exercise form by doing this and increase the resistance as you are more able.
Sets and reps can be anywhere from 1 – 3 per set for tendon strength up to 40 for muscular endurance and conditioning work outs.
Carrying exercises can be done for one time as far as you can or laps back and forth over a predetermined distance as many as you can with a short rest between in a 10 – 20 minute time limit.