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Weight Lifting Workout for Women Athletes

Bodybuilding February 16, 2016

weight training women

While this weight lifting program for women has been adapted slightly, it’s a tough workout that will require you to stay focused through your entire time in the gym. It’s not for the weak of heart or weak-willed. You can find those workouts on the magazine rack in your grocery store.

Make sure you keep your workout pace up, lift efficiently, and do all of the core strengthening work prescribed. If you can, find a like-minded workout partner who’s intrigued by the concept of getting a body that looks like one a top athlete or dancer would have and doesn’t mind working hard.

The core strengthening workout is a bonus. Do it correctly and you’ll find you no longer have “chub rub,” but you do have honest-to-goodness buns of steel.

This is a three-day weight lifting workout that should be changed up every three weeks. See this article on periodization for more details. You’ll also want to add at least two to three days of cardio work, which also can be done after lifting.

Finally, make sure to warm up properly before weigh lifting and stretch afterward … both will accelerate your results.

It’s All About Attitude, Baby

This weight workout should take a solid hour and you’re going to have to work hard at it to get it done. You’ll be sweaty, trembling and – guaranteed – pumped to get back at it.

Your goal is to take from 60-90 seconds between sets, and you can rest longer between different lifts. Do all the sets for a particular exercise before moving to another. Lifting pace should be 1-2-3-1. So, for the bench, take three counts to lower the weight to your chest and one count to raise it. Do all exercises that way.

You’ll start seeing strength results in the third week, and you’ll want to adjust your weights accordingly.

Testing Day

Find the correct weight to use by testing your one-rep maximum (1RM). Start with the bench press. Warm up and then load the bar with a weight you can press between 2 and 5 reps (you’ll have to experiment a bit at first). If you press, say, 100 pounds one time, that would be your 1RM. But what if you did it three times? Use this chart to calculate your 1RM. In this case, 3 reps at 100 pounds is a 1RM of 108 pounds.

You’ll use 80% of 108 in the bench, or .8 x 108 = 86.4 pounds. Round it to the nearest 5 pounds, or 85 pounds. Once you have your weights set, it’s easy. Do the same for all of your lifts in the workout and you’re ready to get started.

Some of these lifts may be unfamiliar; see videos of most of them here.

The Workout

Day 1

  • Parallel Squats: 12 reps at 50% 1RM; 8 reps at 65% 1RM; 4 sets of 8 at 80% 1RM (Note: See How to Squat)
  • Bench Press: 8×65%; 4x6x80%
  • Power Clean: 8×50%; 5x5x80%
  • Seated Dumbbel Press: 3x8x80%
  • Dumbbell Curl: 2x12x75%
  • Cable Triceps Pushdown: 2x15x75%
  • Wide-grip Pulldown: 2x12x75%
  • Core: 8 Turkish Get Ups

Day 2

  • Front Squats: 15×50%; 4x12x70%
  • Bob Squats: 2 sets of 30 reps, (bodyweight)
  • Incline Bench: 12×65%; 4x8x75%
  • Dumbbell Two-way Shoulder (Lateral raise and bent raise): 2x10x75%
  • Upright row: 2x12x75%
  • Barbell Curl/Upright row: 2x10x75%
  • Tricep Extension/Press: 2x10x75
  • Core: Red Bellies 2×15; Reverse Hypers 2×15; Hip Dips 2×15 (each side); All Fours 2×15; Monsters 2×10

Day 3

  • Clean and Press: 8×50; 5x5x80% of Standing Press 1RM
  • Overhead Squats: 2x12xbar
  • DB Bench Press: 10×65%; 4x8x75%
  • Lying Reverse Fly: 2x20x5/10 pounds
  • Lying Front Raise: 2x20x5 pounds
  • Batwings: 2×10 (2-sec pause)
  • Recline Pull Ups: 2×10
  • French Curl: 2x12x75%
  • Chin/Pull Ups: 2×5
  • Core: (Do one set of each exercise, then start again 4x through) 30-sec Superman; 5 Spider Push Ups; 5 Rollouts; 30-sec side plank; 15 medicine ball sit ups

During the first week or two of this weight workout, you’ll want to make sure you’re tweaking the weights. Your goal should be to use enough weight that you don’t quite manage all the reps on the final sets. When you can do them all, ad about 5 percent more weight.

Work hard and you’ll see results. Good luck!

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