One of the most important things I have learnt since becoming coach is how differently women respond to training than men. Let me be very clear in this opening paragraph, this is not me saying that women are any less robust than men in any way!
The number 1 problem you run into when training women is that their powers of recovery are drastically reduced by the lack of testosterone (an essential hormone in the body for recovery), so where you can usually put a fit male through 4 hard training sessions per week you would be lucky to get 3 hard sessions in with a female, unless you are training an elite athlete of course. This means that training has to be squeezed into less time, with less overall volume.
The second major difference between training women and men is that the difference in strength between their upper and lower body is usually drastic, with upper bodies generally being a specific weak point. During childhood very few women take part in sports requiring large amounts of upper body strength and therefore the ‘use it or lose it’ principle comes into play. They just need to start lighter and build up gradually.
The final thing I have learned about training women is that they often need far more rest than men but will be regularly choose to take less, chomping at the bit to complete their next set WAY before their energy systems are fully recovered from their last big effort. This is when the role of a coach really comes into play, encouraging them to take their time, relax and not worry about getting on with the session until they are fully recovered.
So women reading this, just remember:
- You will not be able to train hard more than 3 times per week unless you are a seasoned athlete.
- Be patient with your upper body training, you will get stronger it will just take a little time.
- TAKE YOUR FULL REST ALLOWANCE!!!