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  1. #1
    negf03 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Real Women Train With Heavy Weights!

    If you enjoyed my article on the DD website (Train Like a Man-Especially if You’re a Woman: A Kettlebell Training article from Dragon Door Publications), you might enjoy my latest rant on women and strength training:

    Optimum Performance Training Institute: Real Women Lift Weights-Heavy Weights

    In case you haven't noticed, I am determined to convince girls to get strong!

    Power to the Comrades Ladies!!!
    Neghar Fonooni, RKC II, NASM, ACE, FMS
    [URL="www.neghar.blogspot.com"]my blog[/URL]
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  2. #2
    AndrewR is offline Senior Member
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    Neghar, I use examples like you, Andrea Chang and Asha Wagner all the time for my female clients. The funny thing is that the heavier they lift the better shape they get in. Who'd have thought?

    Loved your articles BTW.

  3. #3
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    Neghar, most of my students are female, and nobody underestimates themselves like women when it comes to strength. I've currently got three women in my classing swinging the 48 after only five weeks of weekly classes. Three of them are bottoms up pressing the 16 now.

    and when they showed up at class the first time, they had each ignored my pre-class advice and purchased adorable 10lb kettlebells for themselves.

    My favorite moment in all of training might be when I see a woman who starts to take pride in being strong and chasing strength.

    Great articles.

    Josh

  4. #4
    Lizanneh is offline Member
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    Default

    Excellent article! It can be so difficult to convince women that lifting weights will make them look good and not bulky and man-like. But a few need no such convincing. LOVE your picture in the article.
    Liz Muirhead, HKC
    [URL="http://twitter.com/lizanneh"]@Lizanneh[/URL]
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  5. #5
    Avenue is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewR View Post
    Neghar, I use examples like you, Andrea Chang and Asha Wagner all the time for my female clients. The funny thing is that the heavier they lift the better shape they get in. Who'd have thought?

    Loved your articles BTW.
    Agreed, real inspiration to be sure. I've forwarded this to my sister, whom I've been trying to convince for ages now.

  6. #6
    carlobee is offline Senior Member
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    Default

    this is great! Thanks for sharing.


  7. #7
    Andrea DuCane RKC is offline Senior Member
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    Default

    One thing to add, real women train for strength smartly.
    Take your time, you have to build up slowly and consistently otherwise,
    you could get injured. Connective tissue does not build up as fast as muscle.
    Some women are built with muscle and strength and strong joints like awesome Asha! Some
    women are not, they have looser ligaments, joints and connective tissue in general.
    Those women need to take their time with consistent, progressive training.

    The key is getting them to train for success slowly, knowing when to lay off and when to push hard.

    One more thing, not all women want to be like a man. Graceful, fluid strength is feminine and I for one believe a women can be strong and feminine. We don't have to look, move and act like men to be strong)

  8. #8
    Matthew Green UK is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrea DuCane RKC View Post
    One thing to add, real women train for strength smartly.
    Take your time, you have to build up slowly and consistently otherwise,
    you could get injured. Connective tissue does not build up as fast as muscle.
    Some women are built with muscle and strength and strong joints like awesome Asha! Some
    women are not, they have looser ligaments, joints and connective tissue in general.
    Those women need to take their time with consistent, progressive training.

    The key is getting them to train for success slowly, knowing when to lay off and when to push hard.

    One more thing, not all women want to be like a man. Graceful, fluid strength is feminine and I for one believe a women can be strong and feminine. We don't have to look, move and act like men to be strong)
    Nicely put!

  9. #9
    negf03 is offline Senior Member
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    Default

    Very good points, Andrea! (Of course )

    That's why I was sure to say "progressively increased resistance" so ladies wouldn't think they should go into the gym tomorrow and dead lift their body weight!

    I highly agree that we are strong and graceful. Somehow, watching a strong woman move efficiently is much more visually pleasing than most men-no offense guys .

    I think for me the most important piece to remember is to train with the intention of becoming strong, especially because of it's mental and psychological implications. I certainly don't want to be manly, but I sure do want to explore my potential while continuing to act like a lady .
    Neghar Fonooni, RKC II, NASM, ACE, FMS
    [URL="www.neghar.blogspot.com"]my blog[/URL]
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  10. #10
    mc
    mc is offline Senior Member
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    Default a bit of a rif on a theme

    this article really got me thinking about the assertion "real women lift heavy weights"

    hmm. what does that mean? here it means "pick up something that you can't lift more than 10 times with perfect form" for "gaining physical strength "

    hmm.

    while lifting heavy has many benefits, and plainly it's very meaningful to lots of gals (i have my kj autographed beast in my office; my TSC 2nd place UK cert on my wall), and that's great, there are a few assertions in this post i'd like to engage that may offer some practice-oriented alternatives.

    just by way of context, let me say that i too have certainly encouraged women (and men) to consider lifting heavy for body comp goals, asserting this is more likely to be more effective for those goals than low effort cardio. I was wrong. and on a number of levels.

    First, attitude: After working with a lot of folks, pushing "lifting heavy" is largely a turn off on the one hand, can be experienced as disrespectful, and is vague in the extreme. what does "lift heavy" mean? Do 1 rep maxes every time one goes into the gym? alway push to even the ten rep max?

    second: It seems the idea of "lifting heavy" is somehow seen to be "good" and light is "bad" or useless. lift heavy may really be actually a kind of stand in, it seems, for intent - and the rkc is surely a school of strength, but strength is practice first - load, incidental. To clarify what i'm trying to say, in a school of strength, strength is about focus, tension, practice - load is a consequence of practice.

    let me break this down a bit.

    Sissie Weights I think when pavel has talked about "sissie weights" and pink dumbbells these are describing weights that can be *easily* thrown around without focus on technique - they are therfore in that context not useful to the practice of strength. As the popularity of convict conditioning has shown, however, one doesn't need anything beyond the self for strength development.

    Suddenly with a heavy weight, one generally is more focused, true, but that doesn't mean one is any better at moving the load - or any more ready to do it.

    So what is the goal? if it is specifically to lift something heavy, once in awhile, on demand, then "lifting heavy" also not essential for strength. I'll come onto that in a sec.

    To Lift heavy One does not need to Lift Heavy But it's also important to get, i think, that not everyone's goal is to lift a heavy thing, nor, i have learned, does it need to be, and second, to repeat myself, it's not entirely necessary to lift heavy in order to lift a heavy thing.

    If you read the interview i did with asha, you'll not that she trained mainly with a 12kg kb to do the 24kg pistol. Right now, she's said in posts she's exploring what can be done with the 16 to get the 32 happening for the press. That's effectively *light* weight, gtg'ing it, to do a unique, and otherwise unpracticed lift. If we focus on the beast challenge result - the single rep max - and miss her path to getting there, we miss the practice of strength. Asha's latest challenge was a fifty storey run up stairs in full firefighting gear. You know to what she attributes her success? VWC and VPP - way way submaximal work.

    Likewise, I've been writing a lot about really light weight for heavy results, with more focus on repping form rather than foregrounding load, coming back to the notion of lots of volume for the perfect rep. I lift relatively heavy (still sub max) once a week for any particular move i'm training right now (as per instructions from Dan John). In those posts you'll see references to powerlifter and yoga master Fawn Friday's use of high volume, lower volume work approaches to get her single Big Lifts too.

    MAss Another point in the article is about mass.
    sure testosterone is a part of the picture, but it's pretty important to get that it's not the key ingredient, or all mean guys would be ripped. Women achieve mass the same way men do: lots of volume at particular loads to stimulate hypertrophy (check anything by Kraemer on this point. ); they also eat to support it. Take a look at rkc II Claire Booth, competetive natural body builder, for an example of the WORK for herself and the BB'ers she trains, to get mass. Remember too few competetive bb'ers are natural.

    So, as with men, if you don't work it, you don't get it. Most of us do not work at that kind of volume for that kind of hypertrophy, or eat for it either. But also take a look at Tracy Rif's arms to see hypertrophy from swing volume big time. That's not cuz she was trying: that's a side effect of the kind of volume she does (and that seems to be required for hypertrophy). IF a gal is doing that kind of volume/intensity, that's the adaptation.

    Also, while there was some debate about this, when speaking with three dozen gals on a health and fitness forum, none of them were concerned about bulking up. so this seems to be a lack of knowledge thing for some gals coming into fitness. So this seems to be an eaasily and quickly dispelled myth for most gals who get into training.

    tone - i've also heard that there's no such thing, but
    actually there is and it can be taken two ways: first it's tonus. it's the passive semi contraction that muscles generally hold - unless you're asleep, then it sorta relaxes. More muscle fiber compacted from working muscle, more tonus? dunno. But muscle toning, as ya likely know, is simply a colloquial term for leaning out and muscling up.

    strength = increasing resistance.
    That's not quite the formula you'd see in siff or kraemer or Zatsiorsky. getting stronger requires increased demand for adaptation. One can increase the demand for adaptation by changing one of a number of variables including resistance. but volume, recovery, intensity, occlusion, asphyxia even, are all components that can be tweaked for strength, too.

    as for why someone would ever use a five pound weight?
    let's try fear as a good one. fear sets up a threat response that also sets up a greater potential for injury. pushing someone beyond what their comfort zone is when they're not ready, and see how much they learn to hate and fear working out with you. i know; i've been there, on both sides of my less intelligent self.

    And while deadlifting one's bodyweight may be important for some of us, it's not essential for people to still be healthy, active and strong. bodyweight exercises themselves show that there's many ways to be challenged to be strong without touching external resistance, and able to tax only % of one's own weight.

    as an aside: with respect to resistance training for women, we may consider benefits to bone mineral density - an issue for women in particular - resistance training has been shown to help with bone mineral density loss, but not "heavy" and likewise but stop and start exercises like soccer and racquet ball are just as good, it seems. The best resistance training? dynamic. so swings/snatches ought to be super. Doesn't have to be particularly heavy; seems it has to induce change of stop/start adaptation.

    Other non-heavy actions we know are also great for strength: rowing is a huge benefit for strength/power/endurance - likewise as said swinging and snatching, which does not have to be done with a heavy weight to be effective; forces are generated and managed in other ways.

    Gaining Physical Strength
    in sum the article posits physical strength is important. Super. Agreed. But in my own practice and working with others, i've had to come down of the assertion i've seen so many places that "lifting heavy" is key - whether for body comp or anything else.

    The practice of strength is important; a particular load i'm finding is just an effect of practice. For context: consider that pavels RTK program uses 20 rep sets of deadlifts after always submaximal ladders of 15 - 30 reps. so again, to be strong, requires practicing strength, which doesn't equate to having to lift heavy - much or even often.

    Likewise,
    Take a look at the interview with andrea du cane, and tell me this gal is not strong.
    as for the "something you can't pick up more than 10 times"

    I think i get the spirit of the article: there's a myth that women are as afraid of lifting something heavy as they are of bulking up. in my experience working with women of all ages most have neither issue. What both genders lack is knowledge of how strength is a practice, and how to practice it.

    The best thing is your pal asked you to help her. Smart to get an RKC.

    again, these are just my reflections within my own practice with myself and the folks with whom i've been working.

    best
    mc
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