With it being Mother’s Day weekend it only seems appropriate that we dedicate this post to to all the mom’s out there. And besides a dedication for all the great things mom’s do here are some things to keep in mind for training mom’s.
There are a few things that men have distinct advantages over women. And these are the things we want to prioritize in a workout geared specifically for women. Here are three areas for women to focus on to make better gains with their training.
1. Upper Body Training (over lower body)
Due to the additional testosterone guys produce compared to women, females are already at a disadvantage when it comes to strength training. This is compounded by the fact that more young guys are introduced to strength training than girls further widening this gap.
Women should focus therefore on strength training the upper body. In particular they would do well to add in more pulling exercises relative to pressing motions. For example, they could start with a pull up, followed by a push up and finish the set with a dumbbell row. Make sure the rep ranges are in the 5-10 rep range to stimulate a strength response. Typically women will select a weight that allows them to complete higher reps and compromises the stimulus for strength.
2. Glute Emphasis (over quad development)
When it is time to train the lower body more emphasis should be place on training the backside. This is important for a few reasons:
* For injury prevention the glutes and hamstrings will help stabilize the knee during stops and change of direction in sport. ACL injuries in young female athletes may happen when the quads fire preferentially to the glutes and hamstrings.
* For improved posture strengthening the glutes will result in a more neutrally aligned hip and pelvis. Weak glutes and anterior pelvic tilt may put some women at risk for low back pain.
* For better aesthetics there is nothing better than training and developing shapely glutes which will fill out any pair of jeans.
3. Power and Speed Development (over endurance and stamina)
Go to most gyms and you’ll see women tend to gravitate to classes, exercises and workouts that focus more on endurance and stamina. Picture spin classes, long metabolic circuits, step classes and lifting sessions with rep ranges numbering 15-20, or higher.
And guess what? These are things that women typically tend to do well. And so it makes sense that this is what they like to do. It comes more easily than training for speed and power. And they can crush their boyfriends and husbands when they do so.
Instead women should make sure to include some elements of speed and power in their training. This could be some short sprints, box jumps, hurdles, plyos, med ball throws or Olympic lifting.
Start slowly and groove excellent technique before adding volume and additional load.
Bonus Training Suggestions for Moms
Here are a couple more things to keep in mind that will apply to most moms and help you do a better job of training them.
4. Address the Strong/Dumb – Weak/Smart Upper Condition
If you notice a new mom with a baby in her arms she typically will carry the baby in one arm, usually her non-dominant arm. This keeps the dominant arm free to write things down, to answer and dial the phone, unlock the car and many other dexterity-requiring tasks.
So we can see how one arm gets strong from holding the baby all the time but dumb in that it doesn’t have to do many of the tasks as the other arm. And the dominant arm can get weak from not holding the baby but is proficient in doing all the tasks a free hand is needed.
Be aware of this disparity if a new mom says one side feels fatigued all the time or if there is a big difference in L/R upper body strength.
5. Time Efficient Workouts
One of the things to know about moms is that they are busy. Not only that but when they aren’t doing things for their kids they may be up during the night with kids that don’t settle or that may be sick.
In order to not overload them may sure that training sessions are as efficient as possible. Select exercises that use an alternating upper-lower emphasis to allow more work in less time. When on the ground for foam rolling and corrective exercises combine as many that can be done in a similar position to facilitate efficient changes. Keep the focus on speed and power development and save the energy system training for later in the week if enough sessions are achieved.
Make sure to pass these tips along to your mom this Mother’s Day. In addition to the other gifts you surprise her with you can help with some tips to get in better shape and address the things that are typically challenges for most women.