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Help Training My Girlfriend

Here’s the deal, I just started helping my girlfriend get into the gym and need some advice on how to help her best.

She is 5’9" and probably 30-40 lbs overweight. She has a training age of 0, she didn’t do any sports in high school (she’s a freshman in college), though she danced from age 5-17 on very regular basis (daily for 3+ hours). Anyway I’m starting with a full body workout 3x a week and energy system stuff 2-3x but I’m running into problems with lower body exercises.

Problem 1: She has bad knees (poor patellar tracking and a bit of medio-lateral instability) and bad hips (diagnosis of 4 years ago is chronic tendonitis in the hips, her hips are very weak and very tender to even light pressure (probably 5% of the force I could apply if I pushed)).

This ruled out squats (I was going to do bodyweight squats with a women’s basketball or soccer ball between the knees to help activate the VMO and maybe reduce some of the patellar tracking problems) as she experienced hip and knee pain,

Lunges are also out(she has to support herself on the lead leg to keep from collapsing), 8 inch step ups were alright but she complained of knee pain, we did achieve some success with the leg press though, so if all else fails we can use that. Any ideas?

Problem 2: as a long term dancer she is extremely flexible, particularly the hamstrings, so does anyone have suggestions of some ham stuff I could do? I was gonna do SDLs or RDLs (my gym doesn’t allow deads, but you can usually sneak those or their variations in) but she said she didn’t feel anything at all and her grip/arm strength doesn’t allow her to hold a whole lot of weight (cap of prolly 50 lbs). Our gym doesn’t have the ability to do GHRs and poor cuffs for cable hip extension (never, ever stay put). Any suggestions here?

Thank you very much from the both of us.


Man id normally say trien her like any one you know man girl boy etc she needas tro train hard naiol the basics and keep advancing. Thats the gest of it.

I personally am NOt comforatbel saying what she can cant should shopuldnt dop as far as lower body and laoding the spine/hips. if I were you id talk to her physician and a physical therapist about her exact prob and what she can do.In the l;ong run weight training could halep strenghten the bones etc but you prob have to takle it SLOW


Leg Ext.'s
Leg Curls
…should be all you need for legs.

I would just stick to some basics;

Keep rest periods short, 60s or less, and superset with antagonistic muscle groups.

Train full body workouts everyother day or 3X/week.

Diet is the most important thing. I’d suggest low carb, 50g or less of clean carbs(no sugar) on weekdays and then more carbs or even “anything goes” on weekends. 1g protein/lb BW (my girlfriend couldn’t believe that one). and low fat, staying away from saturates.

I agree about sticking to the basics and that was my general plan, it may be tough to meet diet guidelines as we live in a residence hall at our college and available food is sub-par for me (a person who constantly strives to make healthy food choices), for a person with a lower level of knowlege it’d be very tough.

Anyway, I was avoiding leg extensions based on this article: http://www.T-Nation.com/findArticle.do?article=06-170-training
and her current patellofemoral pain. I’ll do the leg curls but I much prefer hip dominant ham work.

Thanks for the help :).