Wednesday 130508

Five rounds for time of:
15 Ring rows
15 Bench press (135#/95#)
15 Back squats (135#/95#)

Post times to comments and BTWB.

Trina, finishing her burpees. The weights wait ominously.

 

Strength Training For Women ~ Luke Palmisano

Over the past few decades, the participation of women in sports has proliferated greatly. With this, the instance of injury has increase, along with the need for physical preparation. As women’s sports have progressed, just like with any sport, the athlete’s have gradually gotten bigger, stronger, and faster, while continually pushing the limits of the human body. Again, the need for physical preparation continues along the same curve. Additionally, the concept of women in athletics has changed. More and more women are being given opportunities to meet their optimal physical development. 

The most common need faced by the female athlete is the need for upper body strength and development. In many sports, including CrossFit, this is a determining factor in what limits women. Of course, the requirements of different sports creates a curve in needed upper body strength. Two extremes could be an endurance runner on the one end, with a shot put thrower on the other. Because women have smaller muscle fibers than men, and fewer of them, all available muscle fibers must be developed and activated to assist muscle development. So, the rep scheme should run the proverbial gamut: 1RM’s, 3RM’s, 5RM’s, not to mention hypertrophy sets, with rep schemes in the 10-15 range, as well as max-rep sets that may go beyond this. This all must be integrated. Additionally, total body power output may need to be addressed in the female athlete. The needs for this athletic development have been scene in sports from tennis to basketball. And, of course, CrossFit. When it comes to upper body exercises, women have, on the average, greater potential for growth and development, due to lack of training. Like I said, this is on the average (pretty sure some women reading this could bench press me if they wanted to). 

All in all, there are many benefits for women in pursuing a athletic or fitness program. Enhanced bone development, stronger connective tissues, increased functional strength (for sport and for life), increased lean body mass, decreased nonfunctional body fat, higher metabolic rate, higher self-esteem and confidence, and improved physical performance are all things you can look forward to.

Finally, it’s important to address a few myths that are out there about female strength training. The first is that strength training causes women to become larger and heavier. Strength training results in reduced body fat and increased lean weight. Women who are genetically pre-disposed for muscle growth, who take part in high intensity training are the ones who see significant muscle growth. The second myth is that women should use different training methods than men. Women are no more likely to be injured while lifting weights than men are. The benefits derived from functional movements are not biased based on sex, either. They are constant. The final myth is that women should avoid high-intensity or high load training. The benefits derived from intense training are not biased, either. They are constant. Women will receive benefits from them the same as men.

The information for this post was heavily referenced from the book Science and Practice of Strength Training, by Vladimir Zatsiorsky and William J. Kraemer.  

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