I am no stranger to working with female athletes and by now I would hope many of our loyal blog readers know that I am a big advocate for changes in how we approach training and caring for our female athletes. Check out one of my older posts regarding training the female athlete here.
If you are a female athlete of any age, your training regimen should not be scary. It should be something that makes you feel strong and resilient. It does not have to be “different” or “less” than what “that man” does next to you in the gym!
Just a reminder, we are not fragile. We should not exercise differently or be treated differently by exercise professionals due to the preconceived notions and faux facts that have developed over time. Women are resilient, our bones are strong, our ligaments are strong, and our hips are certainly not a detriment to our sporting performance.
I think most people know that I am a fan of heavy resistance training, especially for the female athlete! The purpose of this blog is to provide several exercise ideas that I feel every female athlete should master to not only get stronger and build resilience but to also perform better! These are simple basics, but they can help drive future training programs! So, let us dive in.
Five Exercises for Better, Faster, Stronger Females
Squat: The squat is one of the most versatile exercises we can program as there are many ways to modify it to achieve any goal you may have. Want to help your quads and core learn how to accept load and generate power? Squat away my friends! I recommend starting by finding your proper squat stance and progressing from there! Make sure you add some weight into the equation too! There is certainly nothing wrong with mastering all forms of the squat (front, high-bar back, low-bar back, goblet, split, etc.) to help you on your path to sporting excellence.
Deadlift: My favorite lift of all time is the deadlift. Whether performing a Conventional Deadlift or Romanian Deadlift (RDL) they just make me feel powerful. Why do I like this exercise? When performing a Conventional Deadlift, you will fire almost every muscle in your body. For a Romanian Deadlift, you will utilize the posterior chain (gluteals, hamstrings, lower back musculature, etc.) which are true power generators! The deadlift should never be left out of the equation. It is also a great tool to help rehabilitate lower back pain 😊.
Weighted Carry (Farmer’s, Suitcase, Overhead, etc.) : Have you ever wondered why a farmer seems to have superhuman strength? Well, let’s chat carries. A weighted carry is an awesome tool to help develop strength. It is also a workout that requires multi-muscle activation to perform! Fire up the core, legs, shoulders, forearms, etc., simply by carrying something heavy. My go to choices for carries often lie between the farmers carry (bilateral), suitcase carry (unilateral), and overhead carry (unilateral or bilateral). Heck, if you want to get crazy you can even combine an overhead carry with a suitcase carry or wait for it…. carry and lunge, squat, you name it! Carries are versatile and help to mimic functional activities in everyday life. Get carrying, ladies!
Lunge Matrix: If there is a single exercise that I am not a fan of, but I know is important, it is a lunge. Lunges, especially multi-directional lunges, are a great dynamic strengthening exercise that can help progress many aspects of sport and daily function. The lunge matrix I speak of, includes a forward lunge, sideways lunge, backwards lunge, and a curtsy lunge. When performed correctly, lunges not only assist in strengthening of the lower extremity, but also help with core stability, balance, and generalized function. Over time, they can be progressed to include power movements, but for now, just start lunging for your own good!
Push-Up: Females hate push-ups. It is a known fact. However, push-ups are an amazing exercise to incorporate into the workout routine of a female athlete. If there is one thing that I have noted amongst female athletes in the past several years is their lack of upper body strength and control. Push-ups are a great starting point when working on building strength and stabilization in the upper body and core musculature. The nice part about push-ups is they can be modified to become easier or harder by decreasing the angle at which they are performed (wall push up, counter push up, bar push up, floor push up, negative push-ups, etc.). So, get pushing and get stronger!
This five-exercise list is not all-encompassing, It does not include all exercises myself or any other physio or sports performance coach would prescribe in a training regime. However, if you are an athlete, parent, or coach looking to help female athletes progress their athletic performance, I recommend starting with the exercises above!
Here is to the future, where we will lead the creation of resilient, strong, and fearless female athletes. Get loading, ladies!
If you have any questions regarding the material read in this blog, please don’t hesitate to reach out!