Over the past few years I have trained multiple females in strength sports, physique and just to be awesome in the gym , below are a few tips that I believe are necessary for the female athlete looking to develop strength in the big 3 lifts.
Volume and Intensity are crucial for developing a big squat. Most males either respond to a high volume or high intensity style program. I think females respond better to both due to their recovery abilities.
Compared to men the typical female lifter doesn’t really go over the 95% effort mark when going for a 1 Rep Max. I find most females don’t grind reps out as often as men. Females tend to get the rep and make a PB look easy or simply fail at it. This allows females to train more frequently at high intensities and not worry about “overtraining” or burning out the CNS.
I also find females benefit to more exposure in performing the main three lifts heavy over men. A female could squat 3-4 weeks in a row at 90%+ where a typical man would probably peak after 2-3 weeks. Women need a heavy weight on their backs for psychological reasons. In my experience men are more inclined to remain un-phased by a heavy bar on their back, whereas women have mentally deterred themselves during a lift due to the fact they haven’t put a weight on their backs in a couple of weeks.
Therefore I like to use a conjugate style system for my raw female lifters combined with volume on both days along with accessory work. As they become more experienced this becomes less of an issue.
2# Bench Press
The key to a good bench press for the female lifter is strong triceps and good mobility. Women don’t posses the same chest muscles guys do and have to rely more on their triceps, shoulders and backs.
Developing a big arch via mobility work (back, ankles, hip flexors, shoulders) will decrease the work the chest has to do and put more load on the triceps and shoulders aka the stronger pressing muscles In females. The downside to this is females tend to be more open to shoulder injuries, prehab work and good accessory work is key here.
I use a slightly closer grip with my female lifters to isolate the triceps more. Elbow position along with wrist position and General setting up is very important.
Out of the 3 lifts I find the deadlift the closest between them in terms of how I program and train women and men. Over the last 6 months I have leaned towards the sumo style deadlift over the conventional style for women.
Sumo deadlifts only works if you don’t mess your hip positioning up and you know to how use the glutes and hips properly especially when locking out.
A lot of people I see performing the sumo set their hips way to high and end up in a stiff leg position with way too much posterior pelvic tilt to finish the lockout.
Women tend to be shorter and have smaller femurs than men. Performing the sumo style Deadlift allows them to use this to their advantage as it is a shorter distance for the bar to travel compared to using a conventional style.
This style is more balanced in terms of what muscles groups are being used at any one time.
Women generally don’t seem to be strong in any one particular area so a more balanced lifting style (done properly) seems to work better. The Conventional Deadlift has more hamstring and lower back emphasis and is slightly aimed towards a lifter having stronger hamstrings and back strength.
Interested in a training program? Click Here and enter your details.