T Nation

Please Give Me a Hand with Wife's Routine


#1

Hi there, just wondering if someone could look over the routine I have for my wife.
I’ve been training for many years following the 5x5 workout with heavy weights. Have also done a lot of running and marathon training prior to this. My wife has asked me to design her a fitness and weight loss program and to be honest I have struggled!
Although I know quite a bit about bodybuilding, designing a program for her has been a challenge, I’m just not familiar enough with training for her goals and worry about doing the wrong thing!
Below is what she is currently doing but she is becoming disheartened with not seeing results (her goal is weight loss and toning although I would not describe her as drastically overweight).
All her training is done at home and she commits to three days per week.

Monday:
Warmup
HIIT routine consisting of:
Kettlebell swings - 6kg x5 10kg x5 16kg x5
Barbell clean and press 15kg x5
Repeated 10 times

20 mins exercise bike, steady pace.
Sometimes abs work if she isn’t too tired

Wednesday:

warmup
30 min exercise bike. Interval training
Abs work

Friday:
As for Monday

If anyone has suggestions of how to improve this they would greatly received. Be as critical as you like! Like I say I am an enthusiast when it comes to my own training but am really worried about designing a plan that might not get her the results she wants or worse injure her or put her off training! I’ve never had to deal with weight loss as in addition training I’m a commercial fisherman and my job keeps my weight down!
Many thanks guys and girls


#2

From training with different women, I’ve learned their muscles often respond a bit differently to lifting than men’s, especially when their goal is fat loss. I empathize with your dilemma.

The first question is, what is her skill level with basic movement patterns - squats, lunges, shoulder pressing, etc.?

The second question is, what equipment do you have available?


#3

Hi, She’s been training the basics for a while. I’m quite strict with good form and have been able to give her some tips so I would say reasonably comfortable with the basic movements.

We have an exercise bike, pairs of kettlebells - 6kg, 10kg, 16kg and 24kg, My own weights - barbells, EZ bar, tricep bar, couple of barbells, dumbells, and plates of all sizes! Decline abs bench.
That’s about it for kit.


#4

You have everything you need then! I’ll reply more when I’m not busy, but as a broad overview, I’ve found women’s musculature responds very well to supersets and more supersets. Compound movent plus bodyweight movements, followed by a couple dumbbell supersets or giant sets, then finished with bike sprint intervals. For instance. More later!


#5

ha ha all the gear no idea sometimes! Introducing supersets sounds like a good idea, I’ve mainly focused on the HIIT stuff with her up to now, but I’m finding that it has its limitations past a certain point. Changing thing up with supersets and compound stuff would certainly be something different and might re-kindle her enthusiasm. Many thanks


#6

Consider getting her a reputable, qualified online coach for her next birthday/other special occasion.

You want to be her husband, not her trainer.


#7

I’ve been thinking about routines for you to have your wife try, and I’m finding I hit one sticking point - I’ve no idea what types of exercises she likes or dislikes, so I don’t know what to use for the bulk of her lifts. We stay motivated when we enjoy the exercises we’re doing.

That said, because she’s perhaps new to lifting, she might be open to trying different lifts and styles of programs. Here are a few workouts she can do to get an idea:

Warm up each day - 5 minutes easy biking, then using 2.5 pound plates or similar dumbbells, 12 reps each of curls, shoulder press, lateral raise, triceps extensions.

Workout 1 (traditional full body workout)
Deadlifts, warm up then 4x6, 90 seconds rest between work sets
Supersets: incline dumbbell press and dumbbell rows, 4x10, 60 seconds rest between each exercise
Supersets: walking lunges, decline crunches, bodyweight calf raises, 3x15, 45 seconds rest between exercises (add weight to each exercise, whether holding a plate or dumbbells or a bar on shoulders, when all 3 sets are of 15 reps)
Bike at a steady pace for 15 minutes.
The exercise set/rep scheme came from a workout plan here that I’ve found quite effective. I’ll link it for you.

Workout 2 (supersets galore, metabolic blast)
Thrusters and burpees, 4x15, 30-45 seconds rest between sets
Kettlebell swings and flutter kicks, 4x20 (swings) 4x lots (work up to 50+ flutters), 30-45 seconds rest between sets
Dumbbell curls and triceps extensions or skull crushers, 3x10, 30-45 seconds rest between sets
Sprint interval biking: easy pedal for 3 minutes, then as fast as possible sprint pedal for 30 seconds, repeat pattern for 15 total minutes on the bike.

Workout 3 (upper-lower supersets)
3 rounds of 10 barbell/dumbbell rows and 15 goblet squats
3 rounds of 10 flat bench dumbbell press and 15 kettlebell swings
3 rounds of 10 walking lunges and 15 decline crunches
Superset rear delt raises, lateral raises, reverse EZ bar curls, 3x15
No rest between upper and lower exercises, 60 seconds rest between rounds

Workout 4
Superset standing broad jumps and band pull-aparts, 4x4 (jumps) 4x12 (bands)
Clean and press, 4x5, 90+ seconds rest between sets
Squats, warm up then 3x10, 60-75 seconds rest between sets
Superset flat dumbbell press and barbell rows, 3x8, 60 seconds rest between sets
5 rounds of: bike 2 minutes, pause it and do 10 each v-ups, bodyweight reverse lunges, bodyweight calf raises.

These are just a few suggestions. The last biking workout can be a standalone workout. I saw a local trainer who’s a marathon runner doing something similar with clients on a stepmill. The bike workout could easily become full-body:
5 rounds of - 2 minutes bike, 10 goblet squats, 10 v-ups, 10 dumbbell rows/arm, 10 shoulder presses

Modify any/all according to need/interest. I’m happy to think up a few more workouts, if these don’t appeal to her. In fact, I meant to ask - do you have space for weighted carries like farmer walks? If so, that’s a great addition, and I can immediately think of another workout that I’ve used with great success.


#8

Thanks so much for this, absolutely brilliant. I’m going to run some of these ideas by her and see how she responds and will modify as needed. In answer to your query about her likes/dislikes she is open to trying most exercise options. She has been taking an interest in fitness for the past 18 months but before that did not focus on it much so is happy to try new things.
We have a bit of space so farmers walks are an option, I certainly work them into my own routine with good results. Thanks so much again for taking the time to send a plan over. Will let you know how we get on.


#9

My pleasure! Good luck; hopefully some of the ideas appeal to her.

A farmer walks-based workout:

Warm up then 2-5 rounds, depending on fitness and energy level:
10/15 paces with the dumbbells (step with right foot, step with left foot is one pace)
5 deadlifts with the dumbbells
10/15 paces
5 front squats (or goblet squats if two bells are too heavy)
10/15 paces
15 ab reps (v-ups, flutter kicks, crunches)
10/15 paces
5 Romanian deadlifts
10/15 paces
10 burpees
Rest 90-120 seconds, repeat

Notes - do the number of paces that your space allows. Change the exercises as needed. I added two non-kettlebell-holding movements to give a more complete workout and to give her grip a break. I’ve found alternating farmer walks with light weight, compound movements ramps up the heart rate, kicks up the metabolism, and greatly increases endurance.