T Nation

Optimal Training for Females

#1

I am a 20 year old female. 5’6 145lbs. I started consistently training 4 months ago. I am starting to see changes in physique. I would like to learn about optimal training methods for woman. I have been finding that the internet lacks information on training for woman. Does anyone have any advice on how I should be training? I want to stay lean but defined and strong. I do not want to gain much size.

#2

How are you currently training?

#3

Go to the gym 6 times a week. Split workouts back, chest, biceps, triceps, shoulders, legs. Always start with 10-15 minutes of cardio. Don’t always workout same groups on the same days every week. Usually spend about an hour in the gym.

#4

That worked well for my girlfriend. She had already had a background, learning how to squat, overhead press, etc. and had an idea of what weight she could handle. It’s hard to do that program if you don’t have a good handle on form and how much weight you can lift.

Right now she (I’m just using her as an example since I’m not a woman) isn’t super consistent, at least in the sense of a weekly schedule, since she has a lot going on, but she will typically just follow a 5/3/1 progression on her squat, deadlift, and either bench press or overhead press, pick one movement to do afterwards (ex: situps after lower body lifts, chinups after upper body lifts), then does conditioning at the end. She’s progressively getting stronger, but also just staying in good shape, which is her main goal. That’s what the conditioning is for.

Read this too:


I’d say don’t do 10-15 minutes of cardio at the beginning of your workout. For a lean and strong body, this probably isn’t helping too much. Pick a few lifts to get strong at, and do hard(er) conditioning after lifting. Go for a walk or a bike ride on your off days.

#5

Hardbody training is a good one.

If you do decide to run that program, leave the cardio, follow the prescribed movements to the T, and get your diet under control. That program will burn you out if you don’t eat accordingly for it.

I wouldn’t worry about that. Most of the “size” women are afraid of gaining is the typical broad shoulders, and extremely defined upper bodies like that of a cross fitter or an elite Powerlifter. A lot of them are cycling the magic skittles anyways, so There’s really nothing to worry about. Just train for strength and keep conditioning to or or two days a week. Your unique frame, and shape will show itself with continued training and proper diet.