Skip to content

How you can help your girlfriend get in shape and start training with weights

Wie Du Deiner Freundin helfen kannst, in Form zu kommen und mit einem Training mit Gewichten zu beginnen

Every man would love to have a sexy, confident woman on his arm who is in good shape. If you want to help your girlfriend or wife change her body but don't know where to start, look no further.

Step one is to know what you're dealing with. Nearly every workout guide for women published in the mainstream media has women doing massive amounts of cardio with maximum weight cuffs on their joints to "tone and sculpt" their bodies.

This can lead to considerable conflict with your girlfriend, especially if you want to introduce her to the squat rack from day one and start increasing the weight. Since we are dealing with women, let's start with the "emotional" considerations.

1 - Create a plan and support her

Good support is a mixture of practical and emotional support. Initially, your friend may find it difficult to commit to weight training and make it a regular habit, so you should set her up for long-term success by helping her take care of her practical considerations.

She will need a plan that covers not only the execution of the actual workouts, but also the scheduling of her workouts into her daily routine and financial matters. Your support should be as intuitive as possible and reduce the number of possible excuses.

The beauty of this is that by doing this, you are making her feel that she is important to you and making her understand the positive impact taking care of her body and looking after it will have on her.

What you should do:

  • Sit down with her and work with her to find a time to exercise. Schedule the workout accordingly and treat time as sacred. Time is the most common excuse - don't let her use it.
  • Pay her for a gym membership, a new workout bag or a gift certificate for workout clothes. This is part of the investment - and investments strengthen bonds.
  • Go to the gym with her and work out together or recommend ways for her to find a workout buddy. This is especially important in the beginning when she doesn't know what to do yet.
  • You shouldn't tell her to work out but then not help her create a plan.
  • Leave her alone to figure out how to do her exercises and how to structure her workouts.
  • Getting impatient with what she doesn't know. Teach her everything she needs to know.

What you shouldn't do:

The goal is to make this a lifestyle change. The gym is already a part of your life - you have a gym bag, you invest time and you reap the benefits.

Make it a part of your life too. Having someone to support us in what we do gives us all a sense of warmth - and makes you look like a big, strong knight in shining armor.

2 - Give her external motivation so she can build her internal motivation

There are two types of motivation you need to consider. Controlled or external motivation comes from external sources. This type of motivation is best to start the process and get it going.

Autonomous or internal motivation comes from personal conviction - it's that "I'm doing it for me" kind of motivation. This is the kind of motivation we aim for in the long term, but it takes time to develop.

The best way is to contribute when she makes progress, to give her something to work towards by using 'reward strategies'

Rewards in this context doesn't necessarily mean something you buy her - it can also be things like telling her how great she will look or how envious her friends will be

Not everyone can be motivated in exactly the same way, but we're not that different from each other.

So what exactly motivates a woman?

  • If you think she's hot and desirable.
  • Avoiding the shame (regardless of whether this is actually true) of an obviously unhealthy and unattractive body.
  • The drive and inner strength that comes from looking and feeling good. Everything seems easier and more "possible" when you believe you look good.
  • Ego Involvement. If she sees other women like her making it and looking good, why not her?
  • "I'm doing it for me." Reminders of how much you love her attitude when she looks and feels good, how hot her body can be and a little "do it for me" strategy can do wonders.

The mere fact that she works out (regardless of the amount of exercise she actually does) will have an impact on her self-confidence about her appearance and this link has been well proven by scientific research. With increased self-confidence comes a whole load of other good 'side effects'. But to reap these benefits, she needs to start exercising first.

What you should do:

  • Remind her that it feels great to have successfully completed an exercise session. Praise her for following through with her workouts and doing what she set out to do.
  • Help her set numerical goals like doing squats with her body weight or performing a pull-up.
  • Be a partner. She's not alone, you're doing this together.

What you shouldn't do:

  • Comparing her to someone else. Stay away from comparisons, which even applies to "positive comparisons.
  • Constantly commenting on other women's bodies - even if you do so with good motivational intentions.
  • Talking about what she used to look like. Focus on where she's going and what she's doing now.

3 - Emphasize a workout with weights

This will bring huge overall benefits, especially if she is thin but still flabby (buzzword skinny fat). Getting women to train correctly with weights while ignoring all the misinformation is a big step. So now she's set her schedule and you've convinced her not to be afraid of the weights - but what's next?

What you should do:

  • Make sure your gym has the right equipment for a workout with weights or invest in equipment for home use. Women don't need anything special. Barbells and dumbbells are all that's needed.
  • Teach her the correct way to perform squats, deadlifts and bench presses. Show her how to perform the supporting exercises.
  • Give her a program to follow (like the programs below). Explain to her why training with weights is beneficial for her. Sculpting her body (what she would call toning) with weights will do more for her than hours of cardio.

Depending on how well you can satisfy her concerns, you may want to get her to do some research. Women who work out with weights, think about their diet and are consistent have the best body composition. Many women will be shocked to hear this.

Remember that the average woman thinks that hours of boot camp workouts, hours on the treadmill and circuit training on machines with high reps is the way to go.

What you shouldn't do:

  • Leaving them standing helplessly near the dumbbells with vague instructions. Not knowing how to do something properly and the fear of looking like a beginner will dampen or completely kill their enthusiasm to start exercising.
  • Confusing her with too many ideas about advanced training techniques. She needs to familiarize herself with and internalize the basics first: big multi-joint exercises, progressive overload, and consistency.
  • Showing her pictures of super hot "normal" girls looking good and working out hard.

All women can start with the basic multi-joint exercises (or lighter variations of these) and work their way up from there. In the beginning, it's important to make sure to get enough time under tension to recruit more muscle fibers and practice the exercises to internalize the motor movement patterns.

Sticking with the big multi-joint exercises and incorporating some additional supportive training in conjunction with a few HIIT circuits or sprints into the training plan will yield the best results. Build your strength base first to get your neuromuscular system up to speed and stimulate growth before you start complicated programs or training cycles and splits.

Before we get to the programs, you should give her some basic knowledge. This may sound like information that everyone knows, but many women are complete novices when it comes to the rules and norms of the weight room.

Teach her the following:

  • How much the different bars weigh, and how to calculate the weight (i.e. you include the weight of the bar in the total weight)
  • What sets and repetitions mean.
  • How to load barbells and machines correctly and easily with weights.
  • What the different bars are called (e.g. barbell, SZ bar, trap bar, etc.)
  • What basic terminology such as incline bench, reverse incline bench, overhand grip and underhand grip, etc. means.
  • That strength goals are used as a way to determine progress rather than next day muscle soreness and how much you sweat during the workout.

The programs

Below you will find three programs to try out. You should make a choice together with her that takes into account how many days a week she can train and how advanced her knowledge of training is.

Stick to the higher repetition ranges at the beginning, which also applies to the larger multi-joint exercises. She won't be training heavy enough in the beginning to benefit from anything that falls into a sub-5 repetition range anyway. The key is to train the execution of the exercises, and to perform enough repetitions to stimulate her neuromuscular system and induce growth.

The focus should be on strength in the beginning. Only after she has built up a certain strength base can the training be manipulated to fit more specific personal goals. You can't sculpt muscles if there is nothing to sculpt yet.

Therefore, the focus should be on increasing strength through progressive overload to develop a base that is beneficial for whatever type of training style she ultimately prefers and whatever muscle group she wants to modify more later.

Round it all off with short metabolic training sessions like Tabata, HIIT or intervals 1 to 2 times a week to get her sweating and make her feel like she's "worked harder" (one of the reasons women love spinning classes and cardio bootcamps).

2 or 3 days per week - Super basic full body workout

  • 5 sets of 5 to 8 reps with as challenging a weight as possible. Start with 8 repetitions.
  • The number of repetitions can be higher if she needs more time to get to grips with the exercises and internalize the movements.
  • Keep the length of the breaks to 1 to 2 minutes.

Training session 1

Exercise

Sets

Break

A

Squats with a box

5

5-8

1-2 min.

B

Bench press

5

5-8

1-2 min.

C

Push-ups

5

5-8

1-2 min.

D

Planks

5

1-2 min.

Training session 2

Exercise

Sets

Break

A

Trap bar deadlift

5

5-8

1-2 min.

B

Rack Pull

5

5-8

1-2 min.

C

Pull-ups or inverse rowing

5

5-8

1-2 min.

D

Leg lift

5

1-2 min.

Training session 3

Exercise

Sets

Break

A

Goblet squats

5

5-8

1-2 min.

B

Lunges to the back

5

5-8

1-2 min.

C

Dumbbell/barbell shoulder press

5

5-8

1-2 min.

D

Side planks (planks on the side)

5

30-90 sec.

1-2 min.

Program Monday/Wednesday/Friday - Starting Strength Style

  • 5 sets of 5 to 8 reps using the same weight for all working sets of an exercise (3 warm-up sets, 5 working sets), except for deadlifts where you progressively increase the weight so that the last set is the heaviest set.
  • If she can't do pull-ups, start with inverted rows or assisted pull-ups on a machine or with a resistance band.

Monday

Exercise

Sets

A

Squats

5

5-8

B

Bench press or shoulder press (alternating)

5

5-8

C

Pull-ups

3

Muscle failure

D

Push-ups

5

5-8

Wednesday

Exercise

Sets

A

Squats

5

5-8

B

Shoulder press or bench press (alternating)

5

5-8

C

Deadlift

5

5-8

D

Reverse lunges

5

5-8

Friday

Exercise

Sets

A

Squats

5

5-8

B

Bench press or shoulder press (alternating)

5

5-8

C

Pull-ups

3

Muscle failure

D

Glute-Ham Raises

5

5-8

Upper body/lower body split program - PHAT (Power Hypertrophy Adaptive Training) style

  • On power days 3 to 5 sets of 5 to 8 repetitions. On hypertrophy days 3 to 4 sets of 8 to 15 repetitions.
  • The abdominal muscle training includes 15 to 20 repetitions or 30 to 90 seconds of planks.
  • Start with the highest rep/set range on the four big exercises (which will require a lower weight). To achieve progression in the supporting exercises, she should start with the lower repetition range and work her way up to the upper repetition range with the same weight. When she reaches the highest reps, the weight is increased and the reps decreased and the whole thing starts again.

Monday - Upper body power

Exercise

Sets

A

Bench press

3-5

5-8

B

Pull-ups or inverse rowing

3-5

5-8

C

Dumbbell/barbell rowing

3-5

5-8

D

Push-ups

3-5

5-8

E

Planks and/or
Ab Wheel

3-5

30-90 sec.
15-20

Tuesday - Lower Body Power

Exercise

Sets

A

Squats

3-5

5-8

B

Deadlift

3-5

5-8

C

Glute-Ham Raises

3-5

5-8

D

Lunges to the back or Bulgarian split squats

3-5

5-8

Thursday - Upper body hypertrophy

Exercise

Sets

A

Dumbbell bench press

3-4

8-15

B

Dumbbell rowing

3-4

8-15

C

Assisted pull-ups

3-4

8-15

D

Side lift

3-4

8-15

E

Bicep curls

3-4

8-15

F

Triceps press

3-4

8-15

G

Leg lifts and/or cable crunches

3-5

15-20

Friday - Lower body hypertrophy

Exercise

Sets

A

Front or goblet squats

3-4

8-15

B

Trap bar or kettlebell deadlift

3-4

8-15

C

Hip Thrusts

3-4

8-15

D

Kettlebell swing pyramid 10-1 and reverse, 20 sec rest between sets

100 for time

E

Short sprints, tabata, treadmill sprints - 20 seconds sprint, 10 seconds rest or sprints uphill and walk downhill

8 laps

Other considerations

  • Have them do the same program for at least 8 to 12 weeks before you change it too much. Give the program enough time to work.
  • Start at the higher end of reps/sets and gradually move to the lower end as her strength increases and the weight gets heavy enough for her to benefit from lower reps. Make sure she has enough time under tension. Eight reps is a good starting point for the big exercises.
  • Keep her away from cardio - especially on days when she is training with weights. If you want to wean her off excessive cardio, have her end each training session with a short, intense circuit and ab workout.
  • This intense circuit can include sprints on the treadmill, sprints up the stairs, 100 repetitions of kettlebell swings for time, tire flips for time, sled pulls for time and bodyweight-only circuits for repetitions.
  • Something short, hard and fast will encourage weight loss and muscle building and give her the "high" of hard work without compromising progress too much. Or have her do her own cardio workout at a low, consistent intensity on rest days. Keep the intensity low and the duration under an hour. Walking is great for this.
  • Give her a notebook or app to log her training sessions. This is very important for setting goals.
  • Don't increase the weight for each training session until she has internalized correct exercise form. Instead, increase the weight every week. If she is having a hard time learning correct form, keep the weight low and increase the reps to 10 to 12 and let her practice.
  • Connect her to resources that will help her learn more and continue her journey. Don't refer her to women's magazines to learn how to exercise.
  • Providing her with solid information is important to build the internal motivation mentioned earlier. Have them read and follow the same trainers and authors that you follow.
  • There is a variety of good information out there that she can benefit from just like you. Encourage her to become a part of this "culture". Women who train with weights are still in the minority, but they do exist.

Final words

As her interest and progress increases, she will no longer need so much support from you. She will have her own reasons for sticking with it and her passion will be awakened.

She'll build a great body - and you'll get to enjoy it!

By Joy Victoria

Source: https://www.t-nation.com/training/steps-to-getting-your-girl-to-train

Previous article The definitive guide to preventing muscle loss