Unfortunately, the weight room is still one place that gets overlooked in the preparation for the season. Not only is it beneficial for girls to strength train for athletics, but it can also instill the positive benefits of a physically active lifestyle. Here are five tips for the fairer gender:
1. Incorporate Bodyweight Exercises – Reduce the use of exercise machines in the routine and opt for calisthenics. Movements such as planks, squats, pushups, inverted rows, back raises, etc., can and should be used in the training program. Body control and coordination is a critical component of success in the weight room. Build up the ability to perform 1-5 sets of 10-20 reps per exercise.
2. Free-weights – Bodyweight training should make up the majority of the program but when relative strength and coordination have been developed, progressing to weighted movements is necessary. Goblet squats (hold a dumbbell with two hands at shoulder height), and trap-bar deadlifts are an efficient and effective way to strengthen the lower body. Perform these movements with 3-5 sets of 6-8 reps. With upper-body exercises, incorporate dumbbells, due to a traditional barbell being cumbersome and at times too heavy for current strength levels. Dumbbell overhead presses combined with single-arm rows for example, are a powerful combination. Perform 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps with upper-body exercises.
3. Bulking Up is a Myth – This is not necessarily a weight-room strategy, but at this point it should be addressed. The common myth is that strength training will make you big, bulky and look like a boy. This is simply not true. Due to hormonal, dietary and training requirements, the rate of building muscle is gradual and progressive. Maintaining and improving a healthy body composition is a benefit of strength and conditioning.
4. Fuel for Performance – A balanced training plan and a balanced eating plan go hand-in-hand. A healthy eating plan that balances the appropriate amount of protein, carbohydrates and fats will allow the body to recover and perform better.
5. Train Hard – Don’t hesitate to train with high intensity and effort. The body will respond to the demands that are placed on it. To get the most out of your efforts, have a thought out plan and train with others that are committed and focused on a similar goal.
Scott Doane Strength and Performance coach and owner of BeSTRONG Training Systems; a private training facility designed for enhancing your fitness and performance. He has trained a variety of athletes of all ages and levels ranging from middle-school to professional. Find him online at BeStrongTrainingSystems.com