February 6, 2015 | 1 Comments

Female Strength Fundamentals: Setting Initial Goals

 Why Strength Training?

So you are new to lifting and up until this point, your only goals have been akin to “I want to complete my first half marathon”, or “I want to weigh 130lbs”.* Perhaps you suddenly find yourself injured, no longer able to run, and you are looking to strength train in order to elicit a training effect but you have no idea where to start. Stacey Schaedler Strength to the rescue 😉

*Keep in mind there is nothing wrong with having these goals, I am simply trying to make you aware of different ones…and get this… you just MIGHT find them more rewarding!

Now, I may be a bit biased, but I think STRENGTH-BASED GOALS FOR WOMEN ARE AMAZING. First and foremost, it gives us something to focus on…other than our weight.  With tangible strength goals, we are able to focus on the things our body can DO, rather than obsessing on appearance. In fact for the past 6 years I have intentionally trained my clients in a studio without the distraction of mirrors. I have found it much more effective to develop body awareness and truly learn to “feel” the movements while the positive physical changes evolve over time (with appropriate nutrition of course).

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For a woman with zero strength training experience, establishing strength goals can seem overwhelming.  Furthermore, with the explosion of CrossFit, competitive group exercise classes, and social media bravado, women may find themselves comparing their own performance with professionals or individuals with a different injury history and subsequently feel discouraged.

What’s Involved During Training

I use a variety of basic equipment and methods with my clients, progressing them accordingly in order to achieve FUN, ATTAINABLE goals.  From body weight, bands, and suspension trainers, to kettlebells, dumbbells, and barbells – you don’t need crazy machines or technology in order to actively advance towards a strength goal!

Your goals will depend upon several variables.  In order to choose what’s right for you, together we’ll take into account your experience, age, weight, as well as commitment level. In running my business out of a yoga studio many women come to me thinking that they will never be able to do real pushups… we prove that wrong pretty fast!  

In my professional experience, I believe there are several integral components that together combine to create a successful beginner female strength training program:

  1. 3 total body lifting days.  Monday Wednesday Friday or Tuesday Thursday Saturday sound like great options to me 🙂 I am all about the minimum effective dosage and 45min-1 hr per session is all you need.
  2. Workouts comprised of multi-joint compound movements that give you the most bang for your buck 🙂 We want that metabolism revving!
  3. Lifting weights that are actually challenging with correct form. You will learn to select the appropriate levels of resistance: able to complete 8 repetitions successfully but not more than 12 with ease. You need to work HARD and SMART or you aren’t actually the program justice.

Setting Strength Goals

One great goal for beginners is 5 quality pushups.  You will find that learning to control your own body has HUGE carryover in many aspects of your life outside the gym life along with future strength training goals.

My clients learn to do push-ups, front squats, body rows, split squats, bent over rows, deadlift variations, hip thrusts, chin ups as well as Turkish Get Ups, Swings, Snatches, and Clean +Presses, to name a just a few. I have always found women to be intrigued by the kettlebell…especially when the bells are friendly colors. There is just something about the shiny colors reduces some of the preconceptions associated with strength training. When they find out they just did squats with 35+ lbs or pressed 20+lbs overhead they are pleasantly surprised. And I get wicked fucking excited.    

Beginner strength goals:

Can be as simple as performing any of the exercise variations used in my training programs at a weight that they never thought possible!

Can revolve around strict pressing, swinging, performing a Turkish Get up or snatching with the 8,12, 16, or 20kg kettlebell. 

Once women feel comfortable with basic bodyweight exercises and have them nailed down using the kettlebell we can progress to goals such as:

A  bodyweight deadlift with flawless form.

Or perhaps one of the more rewarding achievements – a woman’s first bodyweight chin up!  Although the first one is the most difficult to achieve, with the right progressions and consistent perfect practice, WOMEN CAN INDEED DO CHIN UPS!

No matter what your individual goal(s) turn out to be, I’m here to make sure you have the means to achieve them safely while enjoying every moment of your own unique physical journey.

Just Do It!

A client of mine, who I took from 231 to 135 pounds, wrote to me at the end of her fat loss journey:

“It’s so counterintuitive!  I think of everything I’ve gone through, and it’s just the absolute opposite of everything you’re taught!  It’s eat more, not eat less.  Same thing with weights: it’s you lift more, not less.  People will guess what I weigh and it’s consistently 15 – 20 lbs. less!  But it’s not actually more or less – it’s a shift in my composition.  You shift your protein intake, you shift exercise time from pure cardio to lifting etc etc etc… and now the heavier I go the more my body comp changes FOR THE BETTER. “

I am telling you strength training changes everything for the better! It will improve your running, your yoga, your snowboarding as well as your day-to -day activities! Strength training changes your life and your body in ways you never thought possible 🙂  Give it a shot!

xoxo

Stacey

Feel free to shoot me an email at stacey@staceyschaedler.com with further questions!

 

 

 

1 Comment

  1. I have such a hard time getting my female clients to set strength goals…its always well I want to lose 10lbs and I say why is losing wt your only choice of goals? Yes I also have those who say I want to run a 1/2 marathon or I want to be ripped (whatever that means)
    Even those who have been training with me for months using all types of equip and learning how to lift still struggle with setting a goal that is not appearance related. I’m glad to see other female trainers out there thinking along these lines!! Great article

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