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    BklynGirl's Avatar
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    Strength building plan for women?

    Primal Fuel
    Hi everyone,

    I'm in decent shape but seem to have a hard time--harder than most women my age (20)--building muscle and making strength gains. I started really lifting (beyond the light dumbbells Shape Magazine was telling me to lift) about a year ago, and even though I'm proud of my progress, it isn't as much as I would like. I'm looking into getting the cheapest CrossFit membership available, which would mean going about once a week. Beyond that, does anyone have any suggestions for a strength training program I should follow? I've recently found Simple Fit and may try doing that, but I'd appreciate any other suggestions. Or, any female-specific tips for getting stronger? I should mention that at present I'm trying to lower my BF% a bit as well, so that may complicate things. Thanks!

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    workinprogress's Avatar
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    I'm personally fond of bodyweight exercises. You are your own gym and convict conditioning are both really good resources. Also look up Al Kavadlo – We're Working Out! | We're Working Out! for video tutorials and articles. I personally would think twice about Crossfit if you are only going to be able to go once a week. I would be concerned that the risk of injury is to high. Part of injury prevention would be getting your body used to the high level of work, and I'm not sure once a week is enough. But ultimately only you know what your body can handle.

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    Two GREAT books for bodyweight training. They are centered around combat athletes but benefit anyone. They are "Never Gymless" and "The Ultimate Guide to Warrior Fitness." Both are authored by Ross Enamit(?) and have a ton of great information and workout plans.

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    You don't really say what you are currently doing. What is your strength plan?

    If you want to lift weights, try Stronglifts, Starting Strength, or New Rules of Lifting for Women.

    My wife did Stronglifts 5x5 for a while with me, but got kinda frustrated with her lack of progress. She just couldn't do the +5lbs every time, and I didn't have the fractional plates yet. When she went back to school she started doing New Rules of Lifting for Women, but I'm not really sure how that is going. Other women around here are doing okay on Starting Strength from what I hear.

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    I've been doing P90X for more than a year now, and I too am happy with my progress, but wish it were better. My husband, though, says that he's never seen me have so much muscle. Having said that, I had a lot of progress years ago with Body for Life. It's a very simple program, maybe check that out? Forget about their diet though. And just make sure you're eating enough protein. I've been toying with the idea of joining my local crossfit gym too. If you do, let me know if you like it.

  6. #6
    Wanderlust's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfreaksho View Post
    You don't really say what you are currently doing. What is your strength plan?

    If you want to lift weights, try Stronglifts, Starting Strength, or New Rules of Lifting for Women.

    My wife did Stronglifts 5x5 for a while with me, but got kinda frustrated with her lack of progress. She just couldn't do the +5lbs every time, and I didn't have the fractional plates yet. When she went back to school she started doing New Rules of Lifting for Women, but I'm not really sure how that is going. Other women around here are doing okay on Starting Strength from what I hear.
    +1 for SS or NRLW, BTW for the female that lifts with me I'll have her alternate between 3x5 and 3x3 (per week). Seems to get her through the smaller weight plate jumps pretty well.
    "Go For Broke"
    Fat Kine-230/24% @ 6'2"
    Small Kine-168/9%
    Now- 200/8%
    Goal- 210/6%

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    I've had the best luck alternating programs every two to three months. I stick with low rep, heavy weights for a few months than switch to high rep, lighter weights. For me, Wendler's 5/3/1 program guarantees that I make sure, steady progress. I've done Crossfit and don't think that once a week is a great choice. Beyond that, clean eating and adequate protein should help.

    Good Luck.

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    I'm doing Starting Strength but this is how I do it.

    2x a week, not 3
    1.25, 2.5 or 5lbs a week added to the bar, not 5 or 10lbs.
    Upper body work-weights are 5 sets of 3. Lower body is 3 sets of 5.
    Workout A: Squat, bench, random shit
    Workout B: Squat, press, deadlift

    Eat for recovery. LOTS of meat, potatoes and veggies.
    Last edited by sbhikes; 02-09-2013 at 04:41 PM. Reason: added set/rep scheme
    Female, 5'3", 49, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135 (more or less).
    Starting squat: 45lbs. Highest squat: 167.5 x 2. Current Deadlift: 190 x 3

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    Thanks for the suggestions everyone! I like the idea of the bodyweight programs, and I'm thinking about You Are Your Own Gym or Al Kavadlo's book. I just downloaded the YAYOG app, and I'm excited to try it out. I had a free Crossfit intro class today at a box near me that opened not too long ago, and I emailed the director about taking the Fundamentals class (after which I would probably start going regularly). I would like to go more than once a week, but it's just too expensive. I am a college student and work at my school's gym, so I have a free membership there. My hope is that if I do decide to go only once a week, after I know what I'm doing I can do some of the WOD's at the gym.

    Someone asked what my current strength routine is. I lift three times a week, sometimes maybe four. I usually do squats or deadlifts rotated with an upper body and / or ab exercise, and then mix in some others at the end. Sometimes I'll pick four or five exercises (mostly full-body, some slower/harder and some quicker and more aerobically challenging) to make a circuit that I do somewhere between six and eight times. If the Olympic platforms are taken, I like to do an upper body routine in which I pick four or five exercises (push/pull) and do three or four sets of each alternated with jump squats or jumping lunges. I weigh 142 pounds, and I can currently squat 100, deadlift 130, and bench only about 50

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    PrimalCon New York
    same me, stick with low rep, heavy weights for a few months than switch to high rep,thanks for your sharing

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