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Resources which AREN'T focused on losing weight


Kes

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I really want to get more into strength-training and weight-lifting, but it seems like all the resources out there which are written for women are focused on losing weight.  I don't want to lose weight (if anything I want to gain, as I normally hover around the low end of average or upper end of underweight for BMI), so I am incredibly aggravated by most of the stuff out there which is written for the female physique.  A lot of the progressions I've been trying to follow were designed for male bodies and I feel like they're overtaxing some upper body muscles without demanding enough out of other areas (core, legs, etc); I can't figure out where I am half the time in a progression, weights additions and difficulty progressions are too hard sometimes and too easy other times, and some of the exercises just seem lopsided for lack of a better term.

 

I know that if I eat more high-calorie food I'll add weight, but I'm hoping for something a little more in-depth than that bare-bones advice (no pun intended).  Are there any strength-training resources out there which focus on typical female musculature which are solely focused on improved performance and strength, and which discuss diet only assuming that people want to primarily add muscle (and not remove fat)?

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www.blogilates.com

Bodyweight exercises

 

Okay, I kind of meant more along the lines of progressions of bodyweight exercises.  I already do things like squats, pull-ups, push-ups, etc., but I want to improve strength and not just keep working on increasing numbers.  Sorry, thought that was clearer.

 

I don't get why you gave me the blogilates link, to be honest.  It seems like it's mostly a 101 for pilates and is focused primarily on weight-loss and appearance-focused goals.  Is there something specific on there which you think relates to what I'm looking for?

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There's not a lot of great resources out there specifically for women, unfortunately. On the upside, most of the principles are the same--progressive overload is key, focus on big compound movements (which it sounds like you're doing), and eat to fuel muscle growth.

 

Stumptuous.com has some great articles that you might take a look at.

 

Honestly, the female section of the bodybuilding.com forum is really good for the kinds of questions you're asking. If you're looking for support here, check out the Warriors and the Powerlifting and Weightlifting sections.

 

A beginner program like Stronglifts or something similar will help you get a good base started.

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 Honestly, the female section of the bodybuilding.com forum is really good for the kinds of questions you're asking. If you're looking for support here, check out the Warriors and the Powerlifting and Weightlifting sections.

 

A beginner program like Stronglifts or something similar will help you get a good base started.

Yeah, this is what I was thinking.

 

As for Blogilates, I can't recommend anything ELSE enough. She's very focused on thinness ("Thigh Gap Workout" and the like) and doesn't do progressions, just a million reps of the same body weight exercises over and over.

 

I also really like the fitness/nutrition info on Greatist, but I'm not sure if it'd be right for what you're looking for.

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Stumptuous.com has some great articles that you might take a look at.

 

Un-lurking to second Stumptuous. I've been reading that site on and off since I was a young and impressionable teenager. (I think I'm better off for it.)

 

Good luck!

 

edit: what a 'gross' number of posts :P
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Okay, I kind of meant more along the lines of progressions of bodyweight exercises. I already do things like squats, pull-ups, push-ups, etc., but I want to improve strength and not just keep working on increasing numbers. Sorry, thought that was clearer.

I don't get why you gave me the blogilates link, to be honest. It seems like it's mostly a 101 for pilates and is focused primarily on weight-loss and appearance-focused goals. Is there something specific on there which you think relates to what I'm looking for?

Sorry, she has nutritional recipes I thought you might be interested in.
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As far as lifting weights goes, if the progression (adding weight) is too fast for you, use smaller increments. Instead of adding 5 pounds, add 2.5, for example. Women can do the exact same exercise programs as men--we have the same muscles. When training varies, it is generally due to either sex tending to want a different look (e.g., more men than women want to build traps.) If you want a couple of programs that were written with women in mind, though, the books Strong Curves and New Rules of Lifting for Women might appeal to you.

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2016 goals: Hit goal weight. Build muscle.

2015 goals: Get stronger, stop loathing squats and get better at them - DONE!!!

2014 goal: Lose 52.5 lbs. - DONE!!! 12/13/14

 

MFP

 

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I don't think women really need to train differently from men.  Just like men, we need to cover all of the bases with leg, push, pull, core, hip hinge, etc. type exercises.  And where we are progressions-wise is where we are, regardless of whether we happen to be men or women.

 

You might find this site useful, as it has progressions for just about every type of bodyweight exercise:

http://www.startbodyweight.com/p/exercise-progressions_12.html  

Just figure out where you are, work up to whatever number of reps and sets fits your goal, and then move up to the next progression.  

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Bikini Body Workouts by Jen Ferrugia (it's about $30 for her ebook of workouts plus nutritional guide) is a pretty good guide IMO. I know it sounds very aesthetic-based, but it's not. All the workouts are basically strength training, and it's a schedule of several rotating workouts. It's technically a 12 week plan, I think, but one could easily use that for longer. It starts off with "at home" exercises that require almost no equipment (depending on your strength) and then the gym guide is using barbells. I can deadlift or squat a 45# bar, but not press, so I haven't tried any of those yet. Mostly you need access to dumbbells, which even $10/mo gyms have.

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Agreeing with others who say you just need to find progressions and not worry whether it is for females. A site I like for inspiration on becoming strong is http://www.girlsgonestrong.com/

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I second The New Rules of Lifting for Women.  I haven't actually used the program (yet), but I have the book and have read through it.  Seems to be a solid workout plan, with a minimal section on diet.

 

Even if pilates isn't your thing, there ARE a lot of tasty and healthy recipes on blogilates.

 

You may want to also check out breakingmuscle.com.  I think they've recently added a bunch of stuff on gaining muscle.  Not sure how gendered any of it is, though.

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Stumptuous looks excellent. Does anyone feel like they have an extra hump to overcome with strength training? I feel like I can train for months and not improve, especially compared to male comrades who seem to build up more strength more quickly.

Oh yeah, it takes me forever. And my husband does nothing forever and then can just crank out a set of 8 pushups. That's why I decided to have my superpower be consistency. I can't control how fast I build strength, but I can control how consistently I train. And eventually, my little steps are adding up.

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"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind' Luke 10; 27

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What I was talking about is tangentially discussed here: http://rebellion.nerdfitness.com/index.php?/topic/75813-pull-ups-and-long-head-of-the-triceps-sorenesslimitation/

 

When you're doing an exercise which uses multiple muscles, you can only either (1) go so far as the weakest necessary muscle for the movement, or (2) adjust the movement somehow.

 

We aren't smaller, weaker versions of males.  We have the same muscle locations, but not necessarily in the same size ratios or the exact same types.  This is why your typical, in-shape woman can crank out as many sit-ups or squats as an in-shape man, but will be very unlikely to be able to do as many pull-ups or push-ups.  To explain another way, our ratios of slow and fast twitch fibers are different than men's typical ratios for some muscles, and our upper bodies generally contain less muscle mass while we have more equivalent muscle mass in our lower bodies.

 

As another example, men are more likely to find pull-ups harder than chin-ups or find pull-ups and chin-ups to be of about equal difficulty, whereas women are more likely to find chin-ups easier than pull-ups - women don't usually activate our lats as much when doing pull-ups because our arm muscles tend to be stronger than our lats, and since we're using mostly arm and shoulder strength anyway the chin-ups (which are incorporating our biceps) are usually easier for us. This has implications for things like progression sequences - there's a popular body-weight routine out there (can't find the link now) which suggests people do diamond push-ups to failure, then Army push-ups to failure, then wide-spaced push-ups to failure.  The wide-spaced push-ups are supposed to be last because they allow more support from the pecs, which makes it easier for men to dole out more push-ups; but for women, in comparison to most men our pecs tend to be underdeveloped vis a vis our arm strength, so whereas for men this exercise is supposed to be easy as strong pecs support tired arms for women this exercise is more about tired arms being forced into action again to make up for weaker pecs.

 

Also, our lactate threshold is usually higher, so it means something different if we're training to muscle fatigue or muscle burn.

 

Finally, most likely due to estrogen levels, females tend to burn more lipids than carbohydrates during exertion, so our post-workout dietary needs may be different than what males require.

 

I admit to not being an expert in this, which is why I was hoping for more resources. We can use the same training regimens as males, sure, but I don't want to be straining some muscles out of ignorance because I'm overtaxing them while not really putting other muscles through their paces.  It's all well and good to say that these things need to be individually tailored, but that's hard if we don't acknowledge what our needs are.

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What I was talking about is tangentially discussed here: http://rebellion.nerdfitness.com/index.php?/topic/75813-pull-ups-and-long-head-of-the-triceps-sorenesslimitation/

When you're doing an exercise which uses multiple muscles, you can only either (1) go so far as the weakest necessary muscle for the movement, or (2) adjust the movement somehow.

We aren't smaller, weaker versions of males. We have the same muscle locations, but not necessarily in the same size ratios or the exact same types. This is why your typical, in-shape woman can crank out as many sit-ups or squats as an in-shape man, but will be very unlikely to be able to do as many pull-ups or push-ups. To explain another way, our ratios of slow and fast twitch fibers are different than men's typical ratios for some muscles, and our upper bodies generally contain less muscle mass while we have more equivalent muscle mass in our lower bodies.

As another example, men are more likely to find pull-ups harder than chin-ups or find pull-ups and chin-ups to be of about equal difficulty, whereas women are more likely to find chin-ups easier than pull-ups - women don't usually activate our lats as much when doing pull-ups because our arm muscles tend to be stronger than our lats, and since we're using mostly arm and shoulder strength anyway the chin-ups (which are incorporating our biceps) are usually easier for us. This has implications for things like progression sequences - there's a popular body-weight routine out there (can't find the link now) which suggests people do diamond push-ups to failure, then Army push-ups to failure, then wide-spaced push-ups to failure. The wide-spaced push-ups are supposed to be last because they allow more support from the pecs, which makes it easier for men to dole out more push-ups; but for women, in comparison to most men our pecs tend to be underdeveloped vis a vis our arm strength, so whereas for men this exercise is supposed to be easy as strong pecs support tired arms for women this exercise is more about tired arms being forced into action again to make up for weaker pecs.

Also, our lactate threshold is usually higher, so it means something different if we're training to muscle fatigue or muscle burn.

Finally, most likely due to estrogen levels, females tend to burn more lipids than carbohydrates during exertion, so our post-workout dietary needs may be different than what males require.

I admit to not being an expert in this, which is why I was hoping for more resources. We can use the same training regimens as males, sure, but I don't want to be straining some muscles out of ignorance because I'm overtaxing them while not really putting other muscles through their paces. It's all well and good to say that these things need to be individually tailored, but that's hard if we don't acknowledge what our needs are.

This is majoring in the minors. Fine if you want to do it but completely unnecessary.

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2016 goals: Hit goal weight. Build muscle.

2015 goals: Get stronger, stop loathing squats and get better at them - DONE!!!

2014 goal: Lose 52.5 lbs. - DONE!!! 12/13/14

 

MFP

 

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I don't understand what you mean here. Expand/explain?

 

Nothing that anybody discusses on these forums is really "necessary." 

 

 

I also think that you are really over-thinking everything.  Many people here have followed standard bodyweight progressions with few problems.  At least for my part, they seem to work just fine for me, and I haven't encountered any progressions in which I felt that things moved so quickly or abruptly as to cause injury.  The only real "female" modifications I've needed for anything is that progress might be a little slower for some things, partial plates (like 1 or 2 lb plates) are great for when you aren't ready to do a full weight increment, and you need to be mindful of getting enough protein.  

 

For the start bodyweight training progressions, I don't feel like I'm woefully behind on the upper body stuff.  Everything seems relatively balanced for me.  It's not hard for me to figure out where I should be in each chain, and then form my own program.  If someone were to try to make a "female" program, I doubt it would be any more effective for my individual physiology than any other program.

 

I think a lot of us are confused about what you're looking for.  If you were to elaborate on your training goals, I bet people would have much more useful advice.  Are you training to be better at some other fitness activity, like parkour, climbing, gymnastics, OCRs, 10Ks, or something like that?  Are you planning on lifting?  Are you a seasoned athlete or a noob?  

 

I'd love to help you, but I doubt you're going to find any "female specific" bodyweight programs that are any better than any other bodyweight programs.  

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I'm kind of confused why people are reading this thread in the first place if there's absolutely no need for something like "Women's Specific Training," which is what this sub-forum is called.

 

I admit to being a little pissed off, because people (men?) will go into nit-picky detail on all kinds of things regarding fitness and dietary issues, but if somebody points out that there are documented differences between male and female physiques and asks if there are resources which address that, all of a sudden it's about "individual needs" and "overthinking" and "minor issues." I'm glad you've never gotten injured or anything, but pretty much all the women I know who have spent any length of time seriously training in male-focused programs (athletes, vets, whatever) without taking sex differences into account at all end up with shoulder, elbow, and knee injuries. I'd rather not be among them long-term, have already had my fair share of pinched nerves and sprains and strains and injuries, and I'd like to see if modifications to training regimens can help things without having to pay a bunch of money to a sports medicine coach first (which is what most women seem to end up doing if they want to keep training without injury).

 

I'm a generalist, not an exercise noob, and don't have specific training goals I want to share on here.

 

Seems like there isn't anything out there akin to what I'm looking for, so thanks anybody who tried to respond.

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Women do not need female specific training programs. Might we want to focus on different things than men for aesthetic reasons (e.g., glutes vs traps for some--not all!)? Yes. But completely different programs? No. If a program calls for a lift that is difficult for me, I use lower weight and keep at it. If it calls for something I can't do (e.g., pullups) I find an alternative that works until I can (e.g., lat pulldowns, band assisted pullups, etc.) I don't say "I'm a girl, I can't do that" and that's it. Yes, my weight progressions are slower but that doesn't mean I need different programming. Worrying about wide grip pullup progressions and post workout lipid/carb burns leads to analysis paralysis. Pick a program and do it. If it's difficult, good. We grow stronger, mentally and physically, in tough times much more than in easy times.

2016 goals: Hit goal weight. Build muscle.

2015 goals: Get stronger, stop loathing squats and get better at them - DONE!!!

2014 goal: Lose 52.5 lbs. - DONE!!! 12/13/14

 

MFP

 

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I don't say "I'm a girl, I can't do that" and that's it.

 

 

Is that what you got out of what I'm saying?

 

No, it's more like, "I've plateaued in the upper 20s/lower 30s for push-ups, with most of the next progressions suggested putting strains on my rotator cuffs which are starting to hurt when I run, so I'd rather modify the progressions in some way that will continue to give me the core and tricep work that push-ups will without relying on my pecs for support, which is what most male-focused training regimes will do."

 

This is not "Wah, I can't do pull-ups."

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Is that what you got out of what I'm saying?

No, it's more like, "I've plateaued in the upper 20s/lower 30s for push-ups, with most of the next progressions suggested putting strains on my rotator cuffs which are starting to hurt when I run, so I'd rather modify the progressions in some way that will continue to give me the core and tricep work that push-ups will without relying on my pecs for support, which is what most male-focused training regimes will do."

This is not "Wah, I can't do pull-ups."

That's exactly what I got out of this thread. Next time detail your problem in the first post, not the second page.

2016 goals: Hit goal weight. Build muscle.

2015 goals: Get stronger, stop loathing squats and get better at them - DONE!!!

2014 goal: Lose 52.5 lbs. - DONE!!! 12/13/14

 

MFP

 

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That's exactly what I got out of this thread. Next time detail your problem in the first post, not the second page.

 

You're being unnecessarily snotty and rude. There was no reason to think that unless you were assuming that women posting on these forums were incompetent and incapable. I shouldn't have to write out specific training needs in order to find out if there's any information out there on general training resources specifically for women's bodies which aren't focused on losing weight, which is exactly what I asked after.

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