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bassi5

Do men and women need different workouts?

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I got a book, Strong Curves: A Woman's Guide to Building a Better Butt and Body by Bret Contreras and Kellie Davis. I showed it to my significant other, who told me, essentially, that it was a shitty book and a marketing ploy for women. He complained that the book has pages and pages of tiny variations of obscure exercises. He said:

you need bench press, squat, deadlift, and pull-ups, and maybe military press. That's all the core exercises you need for men OR women

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1) Bret Contreras is a highly respected & experienced trainer, with good academic credentials behind him. Strong Curves is an AWESOME book, and their beginner stuff is very well balanced and approachable - for men OR women. Keep with it! If you want to see some reviews of the book from other respected trainers, there are plenty out there.

 

2) Women tend to develop upper body strength slower than men, and they will max out at lower weight for upper body work. Overall strength is also generally lower in ratio to total bodyweight because women need to carry more essential fat. Finally, women often can tolerate slightly higher volume than men, and tend to recover a bit faster than men - ie. you can do slightly more reps per set, and might need less time between sets.

 

3) Women are more prone to valgus collapse (ie. knees bending in) due to pelvic shape - extra glute work helps to keep your joints happy & healthy! Also, women tend to have different aesthetic goals with their weight lifting than men - and therefore may choose to emphasise work for different body parts, while maintaining whole body balance. That's a totally legitimate reason for exercise selection to be different.

 

4) The exercises your SO suggested are pretty technical movements, and can be quite challenging and unapproachable for some beginners. You are better off to start with exercises that you enjoy, that you can do safely, and that you can consistently add more weight to. If you want to explore those as options, they're definitely productive movements - but they are NOT the only ones out there. Bench, Squat, and Deadlift are the classic powerlifting moves - hence their popularity. But unless you're planning to compete as a powerlifter, there's no especial need to focus on them.

 

5) Sometimes it's important to try the 'obscure variations' in order to ensure that you're working the appropriate target muscle. This is especially true of some beginners, due to the fact that you may still be developing good mind-muscle connections and addressing any imbalances.

 

6) Your SO is missing a few planes of movement to have a 'complete' list of 'necessary' moves. Those would include (but aren't limited to):

Pull Vertical (eg. pull up/chin up)

Push Vertical (eg. push/military press, handstands)

Pull Horizontal ( eg. inverted rows, DB rows)

Push Horizontal (eg. push ups, bench press)

Knee Dominant (eg. squat, split squat, lunges)

Hip Dominant (eg. hip thrust, glute bridge, deadlift)

Core (eg. planks, walk outs, bird dogs, pallof press)

others like to also include Weighted Carry (eg. farmer's walk, suitcase or waiter's walk)

and even more like Rotational/Diagonal, Anti-Rotation/Flexion/Extension, etc.

 

 

IMO, you have some great starter routines with Strong Curves, and you should see decent progress if you follow that programming. Thank your SO for being interested & supportive in your attempts to improve your strength & health. But (unless he's a physio or certified personal trainer), tell him that you're going to stick with info provided by professionals. ;) In addition, you can suggest to him that men also benefit from adding some glute-specific work in the weight room for both aesthetics and athletics.

 

Welcome to the 'boards, looking forward to seeing you around!

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9 hours ago, bassi5 said:

I got a book, Strong Curves: A Woman's Guide to Building a Better Butt and Body by Bret Contreras and Kellie Davis. I showed it to my significant other, who told me, essentially, that it was a shitty book and a marketing ploy for women. He complained that the book has pages and pages of tiny variations of obscure exercises. He said:

you need bench press, squat, deadlift, and pull-ups, and maybe military press. That's all the core exercises you need for men OR women


It depends what your goal is: overall strength/muscle or targeted glute growth. I'm pretty sure Contreras's book is for women who are aiming specifically at glute hypertrophy, in which case it would make sense to have a few different glute exercises. I'm not sure why you need a huge variety of exercises for the glutes instead of, say, two (maybe one to target the glute max, another for the glute medius?). But I don't know enough about bodybuilding to say for sure.

The powerlifting moves (bench, overhead press, squat, and deadlift) are excellent for building overall strength. They're compound, easy to load up as you progress, and they cover four important movement types: hip hinge, squat, and vertical and horizontal press. If your goal were overall strength and muscle, you could definitely start with those four exercises plus a horizontal and vertical pull, and only add more variety as you identify weak areas, imbalances, or muscles you'd like to grow. And yeah, deadlifts and squats will work your core. ETA oh, you meant core as in foundational. Gotcha. 

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1 hour ago, Harriet said:

I'm pretty sure Contreras's book is for women who are aiming specifically at glute hypertrophy

It also goes over the basics of programing and whole body workouts. The beginner plan, for example, is definitely not glute exclusive:

Screenshot_2019-08-03-16-05-22.thumb.jpg.eb3b2fb505510a1b539485e3833bbedc.jpg

Screenshot_2019-08-03-16-05-38.thumb.jpg.b7daa2146a6bde4af37166ae483c5638.jpgScreenshot_2019-08-03-16-06-06.thumb.jpg.d6a35147c1b8c3f578ff758ecc159f1a.jpg

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21 hours ago, Defining said:

It also goes over the basics of programing and whole body workouts. The beginner plan, for example, is definitely not glute exclusive:


Fair enough. It's even got a barbell press! It still has more exercises and variations that I would personally desire, unless I understood the reason for each of them. And I don't see a barbell back squat or deadlift. But everyone has different preferences and it does include squat and hip hinge exercises, so wouldn't say it looked bad or ridiculous or anything. 

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1 hour ago, Harriet said:

And I don't see a barbell back squat or deadlift.

I don't do either of these, but I still hit the same muscles with other exercises. Different exercise choices based on different goals and preferences! ;) 

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I think yes! For example my wife workouts: 6 days a week and hit each muscle group at least twice a week. That includes an hour of core/ab specific exercises twice a week along with another muscle group/body part on those days. I've been questioning how useful this really is because I am fully aware that "abs are made in the kitchen" and I'm starting to wonder if it is a giant waste of time. She want to cut down from 6 days to 5 days and "ab days" are currently on the chopping block. She could throw in a couple ab exercises at the end of each workout vs a specified "ab day" because the 6 days a week is starting to get in the way of her schooling and social life and this would allow me to consolidate her gym schedule into 5 days. She read this article  https://workoutme.com/ab-workouts-for-women-at-home 

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Hey @MarkCuq, another thought would be that your wife may not want to be doing so much ab volume because (ironically), it's likely to cause hypertrophy of those muscles. And while a bit of muscle gain is great for overall strength, most women don't actually want to get thicker around the middle. ;) If she's interested in continuing a bit of core stuff on the side, maybe stomach vacuums could be a good accessory?

 

I'm not a trainer or expert though, I just read too much on the internet, so feel free to ignore me. :P

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