Gender Based Workouts?
There is no such thing as a female or male exercise. Stereotypes don’t belong in the gym, and everyone should be entitled to experience everything on the training floor. Coming from a background in strength and conditioning, where female athletes regularly have to train, I really don’t understand the reasoning behind people separating workouts based on gender. However, if I had no choice and had to say “what is the best workout routine for women”, I would have a few tidbits of information to give out.
In this case, I don’t have peer reviewed research to back my opinion up, but there is plenty of practical experience of working with clients to see what works and what doesn’t. Women can benefit more from a full body training program more so than the traditional body part split that predominates most public gyms. Let’s face it: most women who have tried to let her boyfriend or husband “train” them knows this: most hate training like a bodybuilder for the simple fact that it doesn’t really work for what woman want to do. Many women I’ve worked with also don’t like the “pump” (when a muscle swells with blood and actually looks larger) that occurs from training body parts in isolation. Lastly, women tend to train harder than men and usually have no problem falling in love with movements like squats and deadlifts.
Furthermore, most body part splits are not very metabolically taxing. What I mean by this is that a full body program will produce significant amounts of lactate; this in turn will promote hormones responsible for building muscle and burning significant amounts of body fat. Furthermore, full body training means more of a focus on compound movements; so an overhead press is going to do a lot more for total strength, bone structure, and connective tissue than a lateral raise ever would. I’ve had people ask me why there aren’t any “arm exercises for women” articles on my website and I reply that learning how to do a chin up would do more for their physique than any arm exercise.
A full body program will allow a woman to become a jack of all trades; she’ll be able to build a bit of muscle, lost body fat, and get a little stronger in the process. The following are some movements that women should make regular use of in their training:
Unless there is a specific goal at hand (increasing vertical jump, increasing a lift, etc) then the best workout for women can go one of two ways: circuit training or workouts with very short rest periods. A good circuit should involve several large compound movements, like alternating a squat with a chin up (leave the aerobics out of it). On the other hand, women seem to be able to tolerate short rest periods; more so than the fellas. So imagine doing 4-5 sets of leg presses with only 30 to 45 seconds of rest and you have yourself a pretty challenging workout.
Remember – there is no such thing as female or male exercise. Train smart, train hard, and you’ll get in great shape.