T Nation

Program for My Girlfriend


#1

My girlfriend wants to start working out, specifically she is interested in starting lifting. I have ordered a small rack and olympic dumbbell handles and have an old olympic barbell and some weight plates already. I am turning the small shed into a gym and surprising her.

She won't train at a gym and is shy, she is insecure about her body. She has a really feminine face and hips but has enormous calves, a super thick developed upper back and big quads and glutes. All her female relatives have the same thing. I have big legs but her calves dwarf mine. She seems very genetically gifted. For example she beat my brother in an arm wrestle (he is in the forces and has lifted for over a decade.

She has never exercised in her life, no sports background or anything.

She was messing around on my dip bars a couple months ago and with a 10kg assistance band supporting her she knocked out around 15 full ROM dips a couple of times in a row and having never squatted before knocked out 20 ATG squats holding a 50lb Kettlebell like it was nothing.

She has talked about be doing her a program using just the barbell and weight plates, she does not know I am putting together a home gym for her which will arrive on tuesday.

I want some advice regarding programming. She has basically said she won't go to a gym or a trainer and wants me to give her a routine and train her. Problem is I am a beginner. I only recently started a routine at the gym, doing GSLP, a linear program. I have spent a month or so learning to squat and do all the basic exercises and feel confident in teaching her how to do the lifts, but I feel out of place offering someone else advice on programming.

I really liked Jim's articles about training and saw he was training his son in one of his videos, I was hoping Jim, or any experienced lifters could offer some advice on how to train a woman.

Do I get her to do a linear program? Would 5/3/1 be a good choice?

She basically wants to get healthy, lose a bit of bodyfat and grow an even bigger booty. I think she also just wants to use lifting as a vehicle for self improvement and to gain some confidence.

Any help would be great.


#2

I started our 14yo daughter on the 5/3/1 for Beginners program outlined in the 5/3/1 Second Edition, 3 days a week. She started this four weeks ago.

The first thing that happened after her first week of not wanting to do it was her confidence shot up on her squats. The first day of 5/3/1 squats, 70 pounds was too much and by the last rep of the last set, she was didn’t want to anymore and she was done.

The second week of the cycle on the Monday, “daddy, can we see how much I can squat?” and she increased her squat 5lbs a time (her idea) for three reps until I stopped her at 125lbs so she wouldn’t fatigue too much (admittedly a bad move on my part) and she started looking forward to the workouts (are we working our today?!). That same week on the Friday (where squat for the day is 3X5), she went up from 125 to 180lbs again 5lbs at a time.

Likewise I have her doing back hyperextensions as assistance work. First week, 1 set of 10 was a struggle, last week she did 1 set of 30 faster and with better form that the 1 set of 10 from the first week.

Her confidence hasn’t increased as much in the other lifts, but they have gone up: front press went up 10 pounds (50 to 60) bench press 20 (80 to 100) and deadlifts with a trap bar went up 10 (100 to 110).


#3

[quote]ScotCook wrote:
I started our 14yo daughter on the 5/3/1 for Beginners program outlined in the 5/3/1 Second Edition, 3 days a week. She started this four weeks ago.

The first thing that happened after her first week of not wanting to do it was her confidence shot up on her squats. The first day of 5/3/1 squats, 70 pounds was too much and by the last rep of the last set, she was didn’t want to anymore and she was done.

The second week of the cycle on the Monday, “daddy, can we see how much I can squat?” and she increased her squat 5lbs a time (her idea) for three reps until I stopped her at 125lbs so she wouldn’t fatigue too much (admittedly a bad move on my part) and she started looking forward to the workouts (are we working our today?!). That same week on the Friday (where squat for the day is 3X5), she went up from 125 to 180lbs again 5lbs at a time.

Likewise I have her doing back hyperextensions as assistance work. First week, 1 set of 10 was a struggle, last week she did 1 set of 30 faster and with better form that the 1 set of 10 from the first week.

Her confidence hasn’t increased as much in the other lifts, but they have gone up: front press went up 10 pounds (50 to 60) bench press 20 (80 to 100) and deadlifts with a trap bar went up 10 (100 to 110).[/quote]

That is awesome, kudos on being a great dad. Thanks for the insight.


#4

biggest problem i have found with women and lifting is not the program,but with the myths surrounding women and lifting
training at home has alot of advantages,very few disadvantages


#5

I feel sorry for your brother. Jesus.

My best advice is to find someone to help her out that is qualified. She needs a well rounded TRAINING program, not just lifting. Just like I don’t give “what’s the injury” advice (because I’m no expert), if you don’t feel qualified to help then don’t. Training friends/spouses/girlfriends can be tricky and if you don’t have the right “mesh” for coaching it will be an uphill battle for both of you.

With my wife, I give advice when asked but keep my mouth shut. That’s my general rule in life, too.


#6

[quote]Jim Wendler wrote:
I feel sorry for your brother. Jesus.

My best advice is to find someone to help her out that is qualified. She needs a well rounded TRAINING program, not just lifting. Just like I don’t give “what’s the injury” advice (because I’m no expert), if you don’t feel qualified to help then don’t. Training friends/spouses/girlfriends can be tricky and if you don’t have the right “mesh” for coaching it will be an uphill battle for both of you.

With my wife, I give advice when asked but keep my mouth shut. That’s my general rule in life, too.[/quote]

So was everyone else. He was sure to remind everyone how much he benches the following weeks to come, which only made us more eager to tease. I didn’t lay it on him too bad because I was pretty sure she could smash me in an arm wrestle too :slight_smile:

You are a smart man Jim, thanks for the help.