T Nation

Woman's Program

I have a women friend that is 5’6 and 135lbs. She had asked me what kind of weight training program she should be on. And I really had no idea. Now, she obviously does not want to be a bodybuilder but wants a nicer looking physique. Could someone please lead me in the direction of a program that would be good for her.

No, I do not have pictures. My apologies.

Well, luckily for you, the human body responds to training pretty much the same way regardless of gender. There are a few small differences, Thib’s wrote a good article about training women a while back, I’m sure you can find it if you search. In general, she should squat, bench, and deadlift, while eating a healthy diet and adding mobility work and cardio as appropriated.

Find a beginner’s program that fits her goals and put her on it. She’s a woman, not some alien. You could also try asking over in the Muscle Sorority forum, they know a thing or two about training females.

I would suggest to guide her to the www.figureathlete.com site. They have some great programs and articles. I just recently got on a new program to increase my deadlift by Rachel Cosgrove. Also like ninjaboy pointed out visit the Sorority or Powerful woman threads.

If I were going to write a program for a girl wanting a shaplier physique, it would look like this, and I’d couple it with a diet high in protein and avoiding simple carbs:

A - Chest/shoulders/arms
Seated DB press 3x10
Lateral raise 3x12
Incline DB bench 3x10
Cable pushdowns 3x12
Hammer curls 3x10

B - Back/thighs
Squats 3x10
Leg extensions 3x12
Romanian deadlifts 3x10
Lying leg curls 3x10
Lat pulldowns 3x10
DB rows 3x10

Alternating days for 3 or 4 lifting days a week, doing abs and calves after cardio on off days.

I have put my female friend on Starting Strength

[quote]echelon101 wrote:
I have put my female friend on Starting Strength[/quote]


that or a the “BIG split”

day 1

vertical pull
horizontal press

Day 2

horizontal pull
vertical press

This helps accommodate the lack of work capacity in most beginners and beginner females.

there is obviously a better method of coaching a brand new athlete but it would obviously require more close coaching and training progression (ie. bodyweight movement and mobility -> same movement patterns with bars -> progressive loading with bars -> advanced bar lifts -> unique training methods [ie kettle bells etc]).

but for simplicity i like starting strength or something equally as basic and effective.


However I have just come across a marginally informative article by EC from a while ago called Smart from the Start.

It implies that if you are starting from ground zero that rather than lifting heavy imediately that you;

a. start with uni-lateral movement (split stuff, lunges, one limb). to build up motor patterns, ie assume by that he means getting the body to lift correctly :S.

b. do external core training to make sure it is strong enough to take large loads

c.do some bodyweight exercises, which will help develop connective tissue.

d.avoid low reps, the main crux, is that

"…beginners should be encouraged to train at eight reps and above as a means of improving connective tissue strength to prepare the joints for subsequent high force (e.g. heavy lifting)… These “traditional hypertrophy” loading parameters will still allow for increases in maximal strength via neural improvements, but without the potential tissue problems that arise when you expose unprepared tendons and ligaments to heavy loading.

Following 6-8 weeks of introductory loading in the 8-15 rep range, novice trainees can begin to look to heavier loading as long as technique is on the money."

This article was found here

I think EC is right. The only reason I am finding SS relatively simple to execute is that when I started rowing I was put, although wrongly, on to a 4x6 split using maybe 80% of my max. Whereas a SS program uses 90% of your assumed dynamic max, ie the program assumes that your is constantly changing linearly.

I think that a compromise is that since SS operates a warm up schedule of 2x5,1x5,1x3,1x2 then 3x5 that I will just have do reps on 1x2 of 3x6-8 till a point is reached where she is ready to go heavy, ie good mobility and core.

I am waiting on a response from the figureathlete forum about bouncing straight into SS.

I’d agree with starting strength. She’ll see results fast and her ass will tighten up which is a great motivator for women.

Remember about this as well. If she doesn’t want to tell you try and guess.

Trying to guess a woman’s period is pretty damn offensive, don’t do that.

My period doesn’t have any affect on my training, that doesn’t apply to everyone. Overthinking every little detail is a great way to completely turn off a beginner.

Well I linked her the article and said she could tell me if she wants. However she is a really good friend so it may not work for someone who you do not know.

my girl did SS for about 12 weeks and progressed massively while keeping her amazing looking body.

now shes doing and upper/lower split with a bodyweight day in the middle of the week.

guessing a girls period? wtf? that’s retarded. who cares?

Well it seems that during their cycle their performance can vary.

Obiviously it did not make a difference when training your gf so I will probably just leave it.