T Nation

Training Log for My Girlfriend


#1

So my girlfriend wants to get into weight training and improve her physique all around and has turned to me for help. She's always wanted to get into it but has never had anybody really that she knew or trusted enough to teach her the movements. She has gone to the gym on and off and has been the typical cardio and machines girl because she didn't know what else to do which resulted in her losing interest.

She seems excited to jump in so I figured I'd create a log for her because of the fact that she is a rank beginner and I am new to having to train one. I've always been a pretty good coach and programmer and far better at helping people make significant progress then getting myself there so I am not TOO concerned.

However, it doesn't hurt to have one of these to help us both keep track, to see what is working for her and what isn't, and help me plan out to do next..


#2

If I didn’t keep a log, *I’d forget everything I did within 24 hours. Only reason I keep one. And ironically, this doesn’t feel as nerdy as keeping a personal log in a notebook…

If it wasn’t for a boyfriend long ago, I would have never gotten into lifting. So best of luck to you and her, and hopefully she can take over the log soon!

*typo edit


#3

[quote]Cherrybomb wrote:
If I didn’t keep a log, *I’d forget everything I did within 24 hours. Only reason I keep one. And ironically, this doesn’t feel as nerdy as keeping a personal log in a notebook…

If it wasn’t for a boyfriend long ago, I would have never gotten into lifting. So best of luck to you and her, and hopefully she can take over the log soon!

*typo edit[/quote]

She ended up having to wait a week because shes incredibly sick at the moment but posts will be coming soon. But thank you for the well wishes! I will pass it along to her and try to talk her into taking the log over herself!


#4

So today was the big day. Her first leg workout and of course it was legs! lol it was a little intense not going to lie; but I wanted to have the bar set high to both make the following workouts seem easier but also know what kind of intensity she should use.

I am using a Meadows style of training for several reasons. 1. I am personally a big fan of this style. 2. To help her learn to feel her muscles work 3. It’s much easier on the joints and she had some back and knee issues

So here we go:

Legs - 9 sets

A. Lying Leg Curls
Did a few warm up sets then:
2 x 25 reps with a 25 lb plate

-2 total work sets

B. Bulgarian Split Squats
Bw x 8
8 lbs x 8
15 lbs x 8
bw isotension hold at the bottom end of the movement x 10 sec/leg, 5 sec/leg, 5 sec/leg (her ankle was starting to bother her, so rather than add weight to continue the training effect, I just had her do this)

-3 total work sets

C. Bodyweight Box Squats - 2 sets of 10. It was supposed to be KB squats. But I brought a box in at parallel so she could learn the movement pattern. I held her hands on the entire set so she wouldn’t have to worry about balance, she had been staying too upright because of it and her knees were traveling to far forward and in. After a few tweaks she had perfect squat technique! Just gotta ingrain that pattern now and transition it into loaded movements.

  • 2 total work sets.

D. Leg Press
set 1:

  • 10 deadstop reps from pins, wider stance, knees traveling out
  • 10 calf raises
  • 10 deadstop reps from pins, wider stance, knees traveling out
  • 10 calf raises
  • 10 pumping reps from, wider stance, knees traveling out
  • 10 calf raises

Set 2:

  • 10 pumping reps, frog stance, knees traveling out
  • 10 calf raises
  • 10 pumping reps, feet close together/pretty much touching, legs almost touching also
  • 10 calf raises
  • 10 deadstop reps from pins, wider stance, knees traveling out
  • 10 calf raises

2 total sets

She trained like a warrior! She may have been feeling it and a little broken down by the end; but at the end of the day she gutted every set out and hit what she needed to. Regardless of the weight!


#5

I am very interested to hear how bad her DOMS is today (and tomorrow).


#6

[quote]EyeDentist wrote:
I am very interested to hear how bad her DOMS is today (and tomorrow).[/quote]

She texted me this “my legs fucking hurt,” lol. She said on the sore scale she is about an 8 out of 10.


#7

Day three will probably be the most painful for her. She has something to hold on to when she sits down on the toilet at home, right? Nothing makes me hate being a woman more than having to sit on the pot every time when my legs hurt after the first leg day following an extended break in lifting. Assure her it is normal for the pain to stick around up to 5 days for the first leg day, and to not be discouraged.


#8

How goes her training? Or did she break up with you because of the DOMS? ;^)


#9

[quote]Cherrybomb wrote:
Day three will probably be the most painful for her. She has something to hold on to when she sits down on the toilet at home, right? Nothing makes me hate being a woman more than having to sit on the pot every time when my legs hurt after the first leg day following an extended break in lifting. Assure her it is normal for the pain to stick around up to 5 days for the first leg day, and to not be discouraged.[/quote]

Hahaha sorry I had been super busy last week so I didn’t get a chance to respond, but I shared the message and you are like her new favorite person for the comment lol. She doesn’t have anything to hold onto but luckily her soreness went down to a 2 out of 10 by the third day, and non-existent by the 4th day!


#10

[quote]EyeDentist wrote:
How goes her training? Or did she break up with you because of the DOMS? ;^)[/quote]

LMAO probably the best comment I’ve read on here in awhile. No she didnt break up with me, but I don’t think she realized thats an option yet haha, but I had been super busy last week so I’ll throw up her training a little later today. I’ll admit I am pretty impressed with her recovery abilities, her soreness has been lasting no longer than 2-3 days. I wish mine only lasted that long when I first got into lifting lol. We were able to hit chest/shoulders and back, but had to skip arms because of some schedule issues.


#11

Ok so here we go…

Chest - 12 sets/ Shoulders - 8 sets

A. D Roy Raise
A few warm up sets with 2 and 5 lbs
10 lbs x 10,8, 6 (1 sec hard squeeze)
10 x 5 - 5 sec iso hold - 4 - 4 sec iso - 3 - 3 sec iso - 2 - 2 sec iso - 1 - 1 sec iso

  • she started losing the ability to feel her pecs on the last set so I decided to do one more activation exercise

B. Squeeze Press - 8’s x 8

C. Incline DB Press
10’s x 6 reverse twist press (reverse grip at the bottom, pronating to normal grip at the top and squeezing)
15’s x 6 reverse twist press
20’s x 6 reverse twist press
25s x 8, 8 normal dumbbell press

D. Bench Press
Touching the chest, stopping at 3/4 lockout
15 lb bar x 15, 15

  • kept these light so we could focus on technique.

E. Gironda DB Swings
Started out as normal lateral Raises but she wasn’t able to feel the muscle working, so I switched to the Gironda Swings
5 lbs x 10, 10, 10

F. Spider Crawls with Blue band - 3 x up and down the wall 3 times

G. Bent Over Rear Delt Hang and Swings
10’s x 30, 30

  • Tried a few different rear delt exercises and she couldn’t feel any of them doing the job, so I had her give these a shot and they worked perfectly.

I didn’t necessarily want her doing the hang and swings or the squeeze presses but since we were working muscles that she had no mind muscle connection with I decided it was more important for her to learn how to feel them rather than worry about using techniques that could be saved for later to fix plateauing. I will say, despite as green as she is when it comes to lifting she sure does pick up form and cueing FAST. Her bench technique was looking fantastic after only 2 sets, she learned in 5 minutes what it took me years to be able to do! Granted it is only light way but still; she seems to be a very quick learner when it comes to getting all the muscles to work together to do what needs to happen in exercises.


#12

That’s awesome that you made this thread for her! I have some suggestions based on how I have been training some beginners:

  1. IMO, teaching a beginner how to do pushups correctly is better than having them start off with bench. My approach is to use incline pushups with a height that suits their current strength level. If they can do 10 pushups at that height, their incline pushup set/rep scheme starts at 5-10 sets of 5. Each session they do more sets until they get up to about 10-20 sets and then we reset by starting back at 5-10 sets of 6. Or lower the height. ALWAYS focus on having the shoulders down and chest up. Vary the grip from time to time.

  2. I think it’s beneficial to add wide grip and close grip pulls every session. ALWAYS focus on having the shoulders down and chest up when completing the rep.

  3. Make sure that her hip strength never lags behind her leg strength. She can do single leg knee raises with a dumbbell or band on her feet if her hip flexors are weak. A great training tool that has worked is using front loaded seated good mornings. The knees should be in front of the ankles to shorten the hamstrings so that the hips can be emphasized - like the bottom of a squat. Hold the dumbbell in front and lean forward while keeping the chest up, shoulders down, lats tight, abs braced and hips tight. The last rep can be held for time. I like having people finish off with these. It has been the most valuable movement for teaching them to squat. A harder variation is to lean forward, pause momentarily, squat up about an inch above the box and hold for time. This teaches them to hold a strong position at the bottom of a squat. Also, widening the stance can help to focus on the adductors which is another common weakness.

  4. The very beginning of her training career is the best time to teach her how to brace her abs. Leg and knee raises should be a staple.

I hope any of this is useful. I’ll definitely be following this thread.


#13

[quote]lift206 wrote:
That’s awesome that you made this thread for her! I have some suggestions based on how I have been training some beginners:

  1. IMO, teaching a beginner how to do pushups correctly is better than having them start off with bench. My approach is to use incline pushups with a height that suits their current strength level. If they can do 10 pushups at that height, their incline pushup set/rep scheme starts at 5-10 sets of 5. Each session they do more sets until they get up to about 10-20 sets and then we reset by starting back at 5-10 sets of 6. Or lower the height. ALWAYS focus on having the shoulders down and chest up. Vary the grip from time to time.

  2. I think it’s beneficial to add wide grip and close grip pulls every session. ALWAYS focus on having the shoulders down and chest up when completing the rep.

  3. Make sure that her hip strength never lags behind her leg strength. She can do single leg knee raises with a dumbbell or band on her feet if her hip flexors are weak. A great training tool that has worked is using front loaded seated good mornings. The knees should be in front of the ankles to shorten the hamstrings so that the hips can be emphasized - like the bottom of a squat. Hold the dumbbell in front and lean forward while keeping the chest up, shoulders down, lats tight, abs braced and hips tight. The last rep can be held for time. I like having people finish off with these. It has been the most valuable movement for teaching them to squat. A harder variation is to lean forward, pause momentarily, squat up about an inch above the box and hold for time. This teaches them to hold a strong position at the bottom of a squat. Also, widening the stance can help to focus on the adductors which is another common weakness.

  4. The very beginning of her training career is the best time to teach her how to brace her abs. Leg and knee raises should be a staple.

I hope any of this is useful. I’ll definitely be following this thread.[/quote]

Thanks man! I figured it would be useful.

  1. I’ll be honest, the only reason I didn’t start teaching her the push up first is simply because of the fact that I am way better at knowing how to bench then I am at knowing how to do a push up. It sounds ass backwards but it’s just how it is right now; I was always obsessed with the bench and neglected learning how to do bodyweight movements. Having to teach her is really making me better as a lifter and coach in all honesty; its forcing me to look up things I have forgotten or have ignorance on. Once I learn how to do a push ups I’ll get her doing those.

  2. Really good point! I have been varying angles but it completely slipped my mind that I should vary grips too.

  3. This actually may come in very clutch. I have been having trouble trying to find a way to train her lower back, hams, hips, and glutes because of a lower back issue she has. She completely blew out her knee when she was 16 and as a result she walked screwed up for along time which caused muscles to tighten up and shift her spine into a scoliosis type situation. Basically any kind of basic spinal loading that involves bending over has been a no go but the seated goodmorning makes sense that it would be a way around that issue. While her squat form is pretty damn good for just starting; it’s only bodyweight. So any kind of way to transfer that into a loaded movement will be a welcome addition.

  4. 100% agree on this. I wish I knew how to brace properly when i first started lifting; I’d probably be miles down the road from where I am now with half the injuries. I’ve been having her practice diaphragmatic breathing; bracing/set up drills; and unilateral work. As she gets I am going to insert some actual direct core training. Whats your opinion on core training? Train the abs directly by bending of the core (ie: leg raises, knee raises, weight cable rope crunches, ect.) vs. not allowing the core to bend? (ie planks, ab weel, “stir the pots,” ect). I usually think both has their place but this whole tender lowerback has me a little nervous with things that bend at the waist and where she does anything except focusing on keeping that bracing.

Your tips have definitely helped, if you have anymore keep them coming!

Side note: I have been talking her about the idea of her coming on here and starting her own log or updating this one herself. She said she wants to wait until she understands everything better and is in more of a groove with training but she definitely is interested in the idea!

And sorry for the lack of training and postings; I’ve had some diabetic issues the past 5 days. She hasn’t trained since her back workout because we’ve both been dealing with the fall out of that. Since I seizured the other day from a low blood sugar the other day she hasn’t really let me do much and only managed to sneak away and train once myself. Things will pick back up on friday!


#14

When first starting off with body weight exercises and even light weight work, I have people touch their bodies while performing the movements so they get positive feedback that they’re firing the muscles or that it’s as tight as possible - goblet squats and seated good mornings included. They’re feeling their hip flexors, adductors, abductors, abs, lats, chest, etc. They no longer have to do it when they show consistent technique and can remain tight and stable throughout the repetition. If a muscle is not firing hard enough, we use isolation work. My goal when starting off is for them to learn how to use as many muscle groups as possible before progressing in weight and to learn what stability feels like. I believe this provides the best carryover for strength in general and it’s much easier to make progress down the road.

For core work, I do beltless and belted work and do leg raises for direct work. I like leg raises because it allows me to work my hip flexors too. Ab wheels can also accomplish this. I prefer to do them with my back flat and rigid.

For teaching someone to use their core, I normally have them doing a circuit that includes hollow holds. They lay on the ground and I go through a drill of teaching them how to tuck their chin by having them push their hands up against their chin and resisting movement (I throw this in just because), then have them hold a stomach vacuum for time, then take a deep breath and do a hollow hold. If teaching them to isolate hip muscles then I have them do glute bridges and side lying clamshells in this circuit. They are encouraged to poke their obliques and all around to ensure it is as tight as possible. Providing positive feedback in real time is one of the advantages of coaching someone in person, but showing someone how they can get feedback without one is almost as valuable.


#15

Saturday

Legs - 8 sets

A. Lying Leg curls
25 x 10 (warm up)
35 x 2 (too heavy)
30 x 8, 8, 8

B. Banded Leg Press with doubled reds
1 PPS x 8
1 x 45 lb, 1 x 25 lb PPS x 8
2 PPS x 8, 8, 8

C. Reverse Band Hack Squats with doubled reds

  • I reverse banded these to play it safe since she’s had a history of knee problems and hack squats always irritate mine
    1 x 25 lb PPS x 12 (paused each rep briefly at the bottom
    empty machine x 25 (heels elevated)

This week was a solid leg workout for her. Not much to say really other than she loves training legs and will gut out whatever the exercise is. I decided to start a banded leg press cycle for her despite the idea that it may be too soon for such an intense method to be used. However, I want to use this on her to teach her how to explode through a rep in a safe way.


#16

Tuesday

Back - 10 sets

A. Standing 1-Arm Low Pulley Cable Rows (pulling to belly button)

  • Squeezing hard at the top
    20 lbs x 10, 10, 10

B. Bent-over 2-arm DB Rows

  • Squeezing hard at the top
    10’s x 8
    15’s x 8
    20’s x 8
    Added Straps
    25’s x 8

C. Meadows Pullovers

  • Standard meadows pullovers with head hanging off the bench, feet hooked underneath, and only lifting to forehead level
    10 x 12, 12

D. 1-Arm Barbell Rows
45 lb bar x 8
Added Straps
45 lb bar x 22 (challenge set - she really pushed here and grinded these out)

I must say I was really impressed with her performance this workout to say the least. She felt every exercise where she was supposed to and executed each exercise with perfect form and required minimal coaching or cueing to do so. She is certainly a fast learner.


#17

Oddly enough she didn’t experience a lick of soreness from the leg day. I guess its time to up the volume a little…


#18

Boy what a week…

My girlfriend has been getting slammed with health issues and has been floored for most of the week? The first day she was able to get out of bed was Sunday and you know what she said when she woke up? Give me something that’s hell hard for cardio.

And I did as she wished…

Abs Shredder with a twist

A1. Crunches
Set 1: Max quality reps in 60 seconds (2 sec up, 2 sec hold, 2 sec neg.)
Set 2: 20 seconds work rest 10 seconds, 30 seconds work (2 sec up, 2 sec hold, 2 sec neg)
Set 3: Crunch Isotension Hold - 20 sec isohold, rest 10 sec, 30 second hold

A2. Sled Forward Drag
Set 1: Standard Dragging and purposely dragging slow with 25 lbs (40 yards)
Set 2: Dragging with Straps on elbows and arms and held in front similar to a most muscular pose with 50 lbs (30 yards)
Set 3: Dragging with Straps on elbows and arms and held in front similar to a most muscular pose with 50 lbs (30 yards)

A3. 6-inches
Set 1: 60 seconds
Set 2: 30 seconds work, 10 seconds rest, 20 seconds work
Set 3: 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest, 30 seconds work

A4. Sled Dragging
Set 1: Sled Dragging Walking backwards in quarter squat position 50 lbs (40 yards)
Set 2: Dragging with Straps on elbows and arms and held in front similar to a most muscular pose with 50 lbs (30 yards)
Set 3: Dragging with Straps on elbows and arms and held in front similar to a most muscular pose with 50 lbs (30 yards)

No rest between exercises or rounds.

Rested 90 seconds when complete

B1. Dead Bugs

  • 3 reps per side in 30 seconds
  • Rested 15 seconds
  • 2 more reps in 15 seconds

B2. Bear Crawl sled drags with 25 lbs

  • Max Distance in 2 minutes
  • She made it 20 yards, went to turn around and go for more; but failed

B3. JL Holdsworth Planks
10 seconds work, rested 5 seconds, 15 seconds work

She was exhausted by the time this was all said and done.


#19

The first few weeks of her training I let her still eat what she wanted so she wouldn’t go from 0-100 over night and have time to get used to training so hard without being miserable; but that ended yesterday. I finally set up and implemented a diet for her to follow.

The calories will seem low for a noobie lifter but her main focus is losing fat at the moment and this is just the starting plan. If it ends up being too low I will adjust the calories up.

Fishoil - 4g Daily (Whenever)

Prior to meal 1
1 tablespoon real lemon juice in warm water

Meal 1
2 whole eggs
1/2 cup eggwhites
1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
At least 1/2 cup spinach
6000 IU of vitamin D

–255 Calories // 7g Fat // 2g Carbs // 24g Protein

Meal 2
1 scoop whey
1 tablespoon almond butter

–215 Calories // 10g Fat // 6.5g Carbs // 27g Protein

Meal 3
2 oz grassfed ground beef
At least 1/2 cup green beans or broccoli

–106 Calories // 4.5g Fat // 0g Carbs // 14.5g Protein

Meal 4
1 scoop whey

120 calories // 2g Fat // 3g Carbs // 24g Protein

Meal 5 (Preworkout)
2 oz chicken
1/2 cup gluten free protein plus pasta
1/2 cup alfredo sauce
1/2 cup raspberries

–307.5 Calories // 9.5g Fat // 28g Carbs // 23g Protein

Intraworkout
1/2 scoops branced cyclic dextrin, whey hydro, and creatine monohydrate supplement
3 scoops amino acid and casein hydro supplement

– 140 Calories // 0g Fat // 20g Carbs // 15.5g Protein

Meal 6 (Postworkout)
2 oz chicken breast
2 slices ego’s french toast
1/4 cup maple syrup

– 386.5 Calories // 6g Fat // 58g Carbs // 23.5g Protein

//// TOTALS ////

// 1570 Calories //// 53g Fat //// 117.5g Carbs //// 151.5g Protein //