Today I would like to post an exclusive guest post by Anna Dornier from Path to Fat Loss. Anna was recently certified as a Russian Kettlebell Instructor by Pavel Tsatsouline himself. This is like the Navy Seals of personal training, in my opinion. Not easy at all! This certainly peaked my interest. Kettlebell workouts are tough, but getting certified at Pavel’s school is a whole different deal. In this guest post, Anna is going to address whether a woman should train like a man. So many people have various opinions on this, that I predict some serious discussions in the comment section. Bring it on!
[I think most women want to be fit while still looking feminine. The argument is on what type of training to achieve that look.]
Should Women Do the Same Type of Workouts as Men?
-by Anna Dornier RKC; NASM, CPT
Let me start out by defining how men typically train. Most men tend to train their chest and biceps (I call these the mirror-muscles) and then maybe perform a couple of deadlifts and a set of squats. In other words, a typical male workout is usually not well rounded in terms of exercise choices.
Most men who go to the gym come in pairs.
You can usually find them near the weight machines. They watch football games or sports news during their “rest periods” while their buddy is doing his set. They talk for a little bit and then they do a couple more sets. I see this to be a typical male workout because this is what I see in the gym. So, if this is what we’re talking about then, my answer is a big NO.
I’m not saying that this is true for all men.
Times are changing and there’s definitely improvement in how men train especially if you are an avid reader of Rusty’s blog. If there is one lesson that I would take from men’s training, it would be to lift heavy. More importantly, the point is to lift heavy with free weights. Yes ladies, you won’t get big and bulky when you do this. We’re going for the dancer-type look – long, lean, strong, and effortless with all the curves in the right places. Just tune in to any dancing program to have an idea of what I’m talking about here.
The question should be, “should women train like real men?”
In this definition, real men are big, strong, and flexible. They perform more well-rounded routines that target other muscle groups besides the mirror-muscles. Then, my answer would be yes.
Should you do a workout that was originally designed for a real man? 150% Yes! I like the saying, “Lift like a [real] man, feel like a goddess.”
So, how should women train then?
For beginners, I would suggest going for higher repetitions with lighter weights. By light, I mean to have a weight that you can lift for about 15 repetitions and still have a challenging workout or set. It may take a few sets to determine that weight especially if this is your first time training with free weights. Lifting 10 lb dumbbells would be a good start but I suggest that you increase the weight right away if you feel that the weight is too light and you’re not working hard enough.
As you get accustomed to working with free weights and building up your strength…
I would suggest going for lower repetitions with heavier weights. I like to stay in the 5-8 repetition range and perform 3-4 sets of each exercise. When you stay within this rep range, you will find that you will be able to lift heavier and increase your strength without sacrificing form. Moving forward, you will want to increase the weight in each exercise every week so that you are continuously challenging your body and stimulating your muscle fibers to grow.
The goal is to train for strength.
With strength comes muscle-building and with muscles comes a nice, sexy physique that you can be proud of. Think Jessica Biel.
Now we head over to which exercises to perform. Total body exercises will give you more bang for your buck (or in this case time). They are efficient because they recruit a lot of muscle groups in one exercise so you end up burning more calories in one workout in a shorter amount of time.
Most people will see a huge benefit by just doing the basic exercises…
…like squats, deadlifts, lunges, presses, and planks or any other core exercises. You would also benefit from back exercises such as rows and lateral pull downs because most women (or just people in general) tend to slouch. So, activating your back muscles will fix that. Last but not the least, get proficient at performing all challenging bodyweight exercises such as pulls ups, chin ups, and all varieties of pushups, etc. This will increase your strength relative to your bodyweight which in my book is the true test of strength.
Have fun and add some variety to your training.
OK, you may have noticed that most of the strength training workouts that I recommend are very regimented with reps and sets but, I also like to have fun and keep things fresh. I do this by playing around with my “cardio” routines.
Like most women, I have been guilty of doing steady state cardio for ridiculous amounts of time at some point in my training.
But, as soon as I learned that HIITs and Tabatas are the way to go, I immediately took advantage of all the choices that I have when I do them. For intervals, you can use all sorts of equipments or modalities such as kettlebells, medicine balls, jump ropes, salsa dancing, pole dancing (you read that right), and even your own bodyweight!
To give you an example here is a kettlebell interval workout that I love to do either at the end of my strength training or on my off days:
- 5 Double Swings
- 5 Double Squats
- 5 Double Cleans
- 5 Double Push Presses
This workout is done ladder style. For instance, after the first set, rest for 30 seconds. Then, perform 4 repetitions of each exercise for the second set, rest for 30 seconds. Perform 3 repetitions for the next set and so on. You can increase the intensity by using heavier kettlebells or reducing your rest time. You can also make this workout longer by starting with 10 repetitions and going down from there.
To review, I give you these 5 rules:
- Stick to perfecting the basic exercises
- Lift heavy free weights and lift heavier each week
- Make your cardio intervals fun and challenging
- Focus on training for strength and everything else will fall into place
- Train hard but always, always have fun!
That’s it! If you follow these simple rules, I guarantee that you will become a lean, mean, and strong goddess in no time. Forget about the late night ab equipment informercials and supposedly slimming diet pills. These 5 rules are way superior to any of those products combined and will get you closer to your goal faster than you’ve ever imagined.
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Note: You can visit Anna’s blog by going to www.PathtoFatLoss.com.
If you have a bit of spare time make sure and read her post about becoming a certified kettlebell instructor (RKC) with Pavel Tstasouline and his instructors.
It sounds absolutely brutal (torn up hands, coughing up a lung, etc.) My RKC Experience