OPINION – During my time as a strength and conditioning coach, I’ve witnessed an enormous extreme in the differences between what concerns men have in regards to fitness and the concerns with which women face. Men, always want bigger arms (in particular bigger biceps), bigger chest, and better abs. Never a mention of getting some legs to match that big upper body. Women, invariably wish to have better legs, better arms (most often this refers to the back of the arms, the triceps), better/more defined butts, better backs (or as some women refer to as “back fat”) ,and of course better abs. To achieve these goals most people decide to “spot training.”
The most interesting component of this observation is not that men and women differ, that’s been the apparent for thousands of years. More than that, the parts of their bodies they feel need the most attention. The same parts that most consider recipes of attraction to parties that may find them attractive. Understand?
I have long been reluctant to espouse “spot training.” Most particular as it relates to the average lifter. You’d be better served doing functional movements or multiple movements in one exercise. A Goblet Squat for example, will target your gluteus, hamstrings, quadriceps, biceps, forearms,and your abdominal muscles. Where as “spot training” is simply centering on a specific muscle group when training, like bicep curls. If you’re not a bodybuilder or fitness model, you’re wasting your time spot training. You can develop great looking biceps without ever touching a barbell or dumbbell to perform bicep curls.
So lets address the concerns that women have. This week is solely dedicated to the interest of women. However, the workout provided this time around is not itself, as oxymoronic as that sounds. Basically, if you men want to address other areas of your body aside from your arms and chest… Have at it. A significant factor in my choice to focus on women is to dispel the notion that using weights (which is woman talk for dumbbells, barbells and kettle bells) will make you “bulky.” This is only true if your training program is designed to do so.
And finally, the workout. The exercises in this week’s routine were chosen to address the areas of the body that interest women most. However, instead of spot training to target these areas, the exercises will be a mix of traditional movements like the dead lift and multiple movements in one exercise like walking squats. As always, remember to stretch and warm up before performing any exercise program, take breaks as needed and drink plenty of to keep hydrated.
1. Dump Squats
10-15 reps 4-6 sets
This is one of my favorite movements. You will need a dumbbell to perform this exercise so start with something manageable. Begin with your legs in a stance as if you’re preparing for a squat then hold the dumbbell with both hands on the bell (the bell is portions of the dumbbell that has a corresponding side) leaving the dumbbell between your legs. Next, go into a squat by bending at the knees while keeping your chest up, heels and toes firmly on the floor. At this point the dumbbell should still be between your legs and near the floor. Reverse that motion by driving your heels in the floor while still maintaining contact on the floor with your toes. Your goal when performing any squat is to attempt to get your butt as close to below parallel as possible.
10- 15 reps 4-6 sets
This exercise starts with you laying down on the floor. Kick your feet back with heels and toes remaining on the floor. Your heels,knees and butt should form a triangle at this point. By driving your heels in the ground, push your hips towards the sky, squeeze your gluteus and keep your abdominal muscles tight. Return to the previous position.
3. Renegade row (aka push up row)
8-16 reps 4-6 sets
Drop down to a push up position. From there do a push up, after returning to the top of the push up pull one of the dumbbells towards your body in a rowing manner. Repeat these motions alternating each row after performing the push up. If you unable to complete a full push up, you can modify this exercise by placing your knees on the floor more support.
4. Lateral walks with resistance
8-20 reps (steps in each direction) 4-6 sets
For this movement all you’ll need is a resistance band. Place the band on the floor beneath your feet with your feet hip width apart. Take a wide step in either direction dragging the opposite foot back to hip width.
5. Kettle bell swing
10-15 reps 4-6 set
Begin with your feet about shoulder width apart in a squatted position with the kettle bell in both hands and between your legs. Keep your head up and your back flat. Next, stand up quickly and swing the kettle bell up, push your hips forward while tighten your gluteus and abdominal muscles. At this point the kettle bell should be parallel to the floor. Let the kettle bell swing downward while bending at the knees and returning to the squatted position.
6. Front plank raises
10-25 reps 4-6 sets
Front plank raises begin with your body in a beginner stage of planks, forearms and knees on the floor, chest out and back flat. From here, bring your knees off the floor leaving you in a position with your forearms and toes now the floor. Reverse that motion back to the floor.
By Bryan Washington