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Fun with women

Spaß mit Frauen

I am one of those people who likes to have fun and enjoy a good time.

People who know me will find this hard to believe as it seems like I spend so much time on bodybuilding forums, writing articles and books and training other athletes that I couldn't have a life of my own.

I agree in that I may not have a lot of free time, but I couldn't live without my daily dose of humor. And I've found a brand new way to amuse myself at the gym. I refer to this activity as humiliating macho wannabes. Every gym and weight room on earth seems to be populated with a few macho wannabes who think of themselves as the living incarnation of tough guys from some movie (even though there's plenty of visual evidence to the contrary). You know who I'm talking about: guys who play the tough guy at the gym, which is especially the case when there are no "real" bodybuilders or strength athletes around to embarrass them.

They literally lie in wait for beginners and act superior and condescending towards them. In short, I can't stand these guys.

But I love putting these douchebags in their place. I'm not talking about outweighing them by a million pounds at this point. They know I'm stronger than them. No, I'm talking about a real lesson in humiliation: I have one of my figure skaters training at the same time as these guys.

One of these girls is just 16 years old. She is a competitive level figure skater and not what you would call a physical muscle monster. However, this girl has a special her spare time she competes in Olympic weightlifting. As a result, she can use weights in the deadlift and clean and jerk that most of these macho guys can barely handle in the deadlift, and she can move the same weight in the power snatch that these guys bench press. And their deadlift...well, let's just say that these macho guys would probably have to add up their weight on bench press and squat to match their weights on deadlift.

I'm telling you, seeing the looks on these guys' faces when that 155 centimeter short girl literally rams them into the ground in the gym is worth more than winning the lottery. Honestly, this is what I would call a gigantic, hard psychological erection! And you know what makes it even worse for these douchebags? This girl looks very feminine and is extremely pretty. If she was some kind of 110 kilo hermaphrodite, then the humiliated former machos could at least make jokes about her to regain a small remnant of their masculinity (it's funny how insecure guys always use the most insignificant detail to put you down in the hope of regaining the upper hand). But no, we're talking about a pretty, feminine and shapely girl who has them beat by a mile

In the words of many popular sports reporters, "Ouch, that hurt!"

Clearly this girl has great potential combined with a good sporting background. So her performance is understandable. But there is a lesson to be learned here...women can become strong, muscular and fit while remaining very attractive and feminine. Women shouldn't be afraid to move heavy weights and use typical (mislabeled) macho/male exercises like deadlifts, squats, deadlifts, deadlifts, snatches, etc.

In this article (yes, after all the digression, there will actually be another article) I will explain why women are often afraid of what I call serious strength training and why they shouldn't be. I'll also explain the slight differences in planning training programs for male and female athletes. I'm not the biggest fan of feminist extremism - you know, the type of person who claims that men and women are equal in everything. This is simply not true. Men and women have different strengths and weaknesses, as well as different needs. Your training programs should reflect this.

Why women are afraid of moving heavy weights

Since the dawn of time, muscular male bodies and strength have been seen as such a close association that many women believe that if they get stronger, they would build a bulky, masculine body. Those of us who are a little more enlightened know that an increase in strength can be linked to both neural and muscular factors. In other words, this means that if a woman builds a lot of strength, it doesn't mean she has to look like Jay Cutler with boobs. Here's why: First of all, women have much lower testosterone levels than men.

In fact, they only have 10% of the testosterone that men have. Since testosterone is known to increase protein synthesis and muscle size, it should be obvious that women are much less likely to build muscles as huge as their male counterparts if they engage in intense strength training. I firmly believe that the neural factors of strength production are significantly less developed in female beginners than in male beginners. This is perhaps because boys are traditionally more active than girls. As a result, women will be able to improve this function to a greater extent than men.

This is not to say that women can't build a muscular body. Look at pictures of Patricia Smith and you will see a muscular woman who still has a very feminine figure. And the world of sport is full of such examples. Women can build muscle through training, but not to the same degree as their male counterparts. Their potential for strength improvement, on the other hand, is similar or higher than men's, mainly due to the fact that their starting point is lower than that of men. Strength coach Jennifer Blomquist agrees that women can sometimes build strength faster than men:

"I've found that to be the case - especially when women have gotten past their 'I don't want to get muscular' and finally give it their all.

It is obvious that most men find it difficult to build 7 to 12 kilos of muscle within a year (in my opinion, such an increase in muscle mass will lead to significant visible changes). Therefore, women should not worry about turning into the Incredible Hulk in a very short space of time! I would say that a woman could build 3 to 5 kilos of quality muscle mass in a year (once she's past the beginner level), which will give her a nice toned body.

And to quote Patricia Smith:

"I firmly believe that most women would look better with an extra 2.5 to 5 kilos of lean body mass anyway. And the current trend of looking too skinny needs to end anyway."

Jennifer Blomquist goes in the same direction when she talks about women's fear of becoming too muscular:

"I've always told my clients that they're not going to wake up one morning and scream 'Oh my God, I overdid it at the gym yesterday and now I'm bulky and out of shape!!!'"

Another fear of women (and their stupid trainers) is that they might hurt themselves. I don't know why, but most people seem to think that women are more prone to injury than men. There is no scientific data to suggest that women are generally more prone to weight training related injuries. We need to dispel this myth that women are delicate and fragile!

However, we have seen an increase in ALC (anterior cruciate ligament) injuries in female athletes in recent years. This could indicate that women are more susceptible to such injuries (due to the configuration of their hips and legs) or that women are more active today and therefore the risk of injury increases. This is another reason to do strength training. Strengthening the leg muscles - especially the vastus medialis - will improve knee stability and therefore reduce the risk of sports injuries to the knees.

Why women should do strength training

Women can benefit enormously from strength training. The benefits that such training can bring to them include the following:

  1. A reduced risk of osteoporosis in later years: The mechanical stress placed on the body structure during strength training (especially exercises performed from the floor) will help increase bone density and prevent calcium loss, as well as increased bone fragility in later years.
  2. Reduced risk of sports injuries: While women are not more prone than men to injuries associated with strength training, it is true that women who exercise are often more prone to injury than their male counterparts. This is likely due to the fact that men traditionally do more serious strength training during the off-season than women, which can help reduce the risk of injury. A woman who exercises a lot will have a lower risk of injury if she is serious about training in the weight room.
  3. Changes in body composition: With proper strength training, a woman will gain more lean body mass and lose fat mass. In addition, serious strength training during a calorie-restricted diet will prevent loss of muscle mass and also counteract the infamous yo-yo effect, which results in gaining back all the weight lost - and more.
  4. More strength for the demands of daily life or sporting activities: When a woman builds strength in the muscles she needs for daily life tasks, she will only need to expend a smaller proportional amount of available strength for these activities and will be able to perform these tasks more efficiently and with less resulting fatigue as a result.
  5. Better self-esteem: An increase in strength will increase self-confidence and self-esteem and make a woman feel sexier.

How women should train


How women traditionally train

How men should train

How women should train

Load (intensity)


(40 - 65%)

Moderate to heavy

(75 - 100%)

Slightly lighter than men

(70 - 95%)


Super slow eccentric,

Slow concentric

Slow eccentric,

fast concentric

Slow eccentric,

fast concentric

Reps per set


(12 - 20)

Low to moderate

(1 - 10)

Slightly more than men

(3 - 12)

Sets per exercise


(1 - 2)


(3 - 5)

Slightly more than men

(4 - 6)

Exercises per unit


(5 - 6)


(3 - 5)


(3 - 5)

Types of exercises

Light isolation exercises

Emphasis on multi-joint exercises with a few isolation exercises

Emphasis on multi-joint exercises with a few isolation exercises


2 - 3 times per week

3 - 5 times per week

3 - 5 times per week

Type of training plan

Repetition of the same program over and over again

Periodized with loading and unloading phases

Periodized with loading and unloading phases

The table above gives a good overview for planning training programs for women. You need to understand that women can move relatively heavy weights, that they can handle a higher volume of work than previously believed (they actually have a higher tolerance for volume than most men) and that they should focus on multi-joint exercises.

Basically, women should train almost exactly the same as men, although there are a few minimal differences:

  1. Slightly more repetitions per set: women do not have the ability to recruit as many motor units as men. Therefore, they need 1 to 2 more repetitions to fully stimulate their muscles. When it comes to training for strength, a man should use between 1 and 5 repetitions, while a woman will benefit more from 3 to 6 repetitions. When it comes to training for muscle gains, men will benefit from performing 5 to 10 repetitions, while women should stick to 7 to 12 repetitions.
  2. Slightly more sets per exercise: The reason for this is the same as point 1, most women will need to perform 1 to 2 more sets per exercise to achieve the same level of muscle stimulation as a man due to their lower activation of motor units.
  3. Slightly less intensity: This is not to say that women are not as strong as men. But since they need a few more reps per set and a few more sets, the relative intensity needs to be reduced slightly to allow for proper progression.

Good exercises

Since women have lower neural efficiency to begin with, I recommend using exercises that intensely challenge the nervous system. Complex exercises such as power deadlifts from hanging position/blocks from/to the floor, power snatches from hanging position/blocks from/to the floor, lunges, deadlifts, squats and standing shoulder press with leg swing (push press) are all very good choices.

I believe that the Olympic weightlifting exercises have two major advantages for women:

  1. These are not exercises where you feel a localized pump. As a result, women will not get the impression that they are building mass. Obviously this is a subjective and psychological benefit, but if it keeps them interested in working out, then it's a good thing.
  2. These exercises boost self-confidence and self-esteem more than any other exercise. There is nothing more satisfying than picking a weight up off the floor and moving it up over your head in a powerful and fluid motion.

Jennifer Blomquist told me the following:

When I started training with the Olympic weightlifting exercises, I experienced a sense of joy and motivation about my training that I had never known before and within a short period of time my body looked better than ever, felt better than ever and was stronger than ever!

Women also benefit from ballistic training such as throwing medicine balls from different positions and jumping exercises. They should also include exercises for problem areas such as triceps, gluteus, leg flexors, vastus medialis and abdominals in their training program.


There is a French movie called "L'homme parfait est une femme comme les autres" (The perfect man is a woman like any other). We could use the same title for this article: The perfect woman is a guy like any other, which means that when it comes to training, both genders can and should train the same way aside from minor modifications.

Don't kid yourself, those workout videos of Hollywood stars have got to go.

by Christian Thibaudeau | 03/28/03

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