StrongMa’am (AKA Chris talks about weights not making women bulky)

I have occasionally bragged that in my gym no other trainers general female clients are stronger than mine, with several female competitive power-lifters  being the athletic exception rather than the rule.  I swear it sometimes seems that that there are trainers against the idea of women lifting things that are relatively, or absolutely heavy compared to what they weigh.  Granted, not everyone needs to lift heavy and not all goals require the use of weights, but strength does cover quite a bit of bases both short and long-term.


Abbye “Pudgy” Stockton was a classic StrongMa’am that was anything but pudgy or bulky.

My current clients programming largely contain these exercises:                                                 Basic Barbell: Press, Chest Press, Squat, Row and Deadlift variations.                                         Kettlebell: Swings, Squats,Get Up and Press. Single and Doubles                                             Olympic Lifts: Clean, Push Press, Clean and Jerk                                                                         Sandbag: Lunge variations, Clean, Press, Loaded carry, Squat variations                                     Bodyweight: Suspension Trainer, Original Strength resets, Strength Movements (Air Squat, Pull-Up, Bodyweight Row, Chin Up, Push Up.                                                                       Movement: Marching/Walking/Jogging/Sprinting and Loaded Carry                                             Accessory Lifts: Usually Cable or Dumbbell, a machine if needed.                                               Programs are designed per client according to skill and goal, but this is the Lions and Lioness share of what my programs comprise.

Sheri Kaminski, SFG, NSCA CPT.  My StrongFirst Coach and personal friend.

Programming wise, some variable (weight/rep count/volume/set density) is continually adjusted to provide progressive resistance and continual performance improvement.             I honestly train my women nearly the same as I train my men. They are a different sex, not a different species and we are dealing with the application of external force and resistance to create internal and external change.

All clients (male and female) start with mobility and then progress to foundation strength. Beyond those two everything else can be improved (speed,endurance,hypertrophy etc)

Based purely on personal experience, the differences I’ve noted between training Strong females and males:                                                                                                                           – They pick up the hinge pattern (Deadlift/Kettlebell swing et al) much faster than many males.                                                                                                                                                 – Their 5RM (Maximum weight they can move 5 times) is proportionately higher to their 1RM compared to men. Men could be a difference of 20-30lbs (9-14kg), women can often be much closer, as little as 10lbs (4.5kg) or less.                                                                                             – Based on early observations, females pick up on the Turkish Get Up much faster, including those without any previous form of athletic training.                                                                    – The Pull-Up, Push Up and the Deadlift seem to very liberating and confidence building exercises.                                                                                                                                           – Left to their own devices many women will underestimate what they can actually lift, which runs counter to the men that attempt weights above their strength and skill level. Fact: Some male trainers underestimate what the older or smaller female can lift as well.                    –  In terms of Strength development, they’re generally more patient.                                             – They dig it when they can see and feel their muscles, even if they didn’t think they would in the first place                                                                                                                                 – Initial programming seems to favor more pulling movements than pushing movements, based on personal observation I’d say roughly 3 pulling movement to 1 pushing movement.

My highly unscientific strength goals for healthy women under 50 years young.                    Ability to perform push ups                                                                                                             Ability to perform a static hang for 30 secs                                                                                     Bench Press 75% of their weight for 1 rep                                                                                       Press 50% of their body-weight for 5 reps                                                                                       Deadlift their body-weight for 5 reps, and 1 rep at 150% body-weight                                         Squat 75% of their body-weight for 5 reps.                                                                                     Ability to complete 100 1 Hand Swings in under 5 minutes, take a 1 minute break and then complete 10 Turkish Get Ups in under 10 minutes starting at 12kg and working to 16kg.

Among my professional network, over 50% of my colleagues are female and among them area high number of accomplished  power lifters, StrongFirst Coaches, Personal Trainers, Kettlebell Sport athletes, CrossFit competitors/coaches, Martial Art instructors and Triathletes.                                                                                                                                 StrongMa’ams are everywhere, and they are awesome.



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