Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Myth: Women Who Strength Train Will Get Big

Question: I am a 17 year old gymnast who is beginning to look at the possibility of NCAA offers and progressing my training far beyond what I have done up until this point. I have been following a lot of bodyweight routines and feel as if strength training would help me but I am afraid of the bulky look. Do you have any tips of how to not gain that size? 

Anna-Texas USA. 

TWM Response:

It is great to see that you are trying to take your training seriously and it is a very common question that I get asked by many females. I would like to address a few things on this subject so I hope this helps out.

Myths behind women who strength train

More commonly for women, the amount of weight you choose does not correlate to muscle bulk and will not effect you the same way it does for men. Repetitions are the cause of this and transfer to the training effect you will see. Lifting heavy has many transferable athletic attributes and also improves stress management, quality of life and overall athleticism.

Hypertrophy (training to build muscle at a high rep range to promote growth) in women is dependant on a few things:

1.Heredity (the percentage of fast twitch vs. slow twitch muscle fibres that you are genetically predisposed to and have developed throughout training). The more fast twitch muscle fibres you are predisposed to the greater the likelihood of hypertrophic potential. This is generally and easily noticeable in world class sprinters who have the right build to preform at such a high level-we will address this below.

2.Body Type- Their are three types of body types. Mesomorphic, Endomorphic and Ectomorphic.
Mesomorphs have a greater potential to build muscle due to genetic makeup of the frame and muscle fibre type. See image below to refer to your body type.

3. Type of Diet- During hypertrophy training (for males AND females) a high protein intake in necessary for muscle growth. The average athlete does not take in quality protein in solid form and therefore over trains the body and does not supply it with a good enough fuel source to see any benefits yet alone achieve an anabolic state of growth. 

4. Level of Adrenal Secretion (Testosterone)- This one is simple. Women who naturally produce more testosterone will be able to build muscle at a greater rate than those who do not. This is very genetically based and therefore does not effect most females the way it does for some elite athletes who have been "gifted" with this ability to produce the hormone necessary for adequate muscular growth. 

5. Birth Control Use- Birth control increases natural testosterone. Studies have shown this MAY provide a training/recovery advantage due to the increase in T-Levels being secreted. 

Repetitions, intensity, time and rest between sets and the energy system targeted for your specific sport are generally the indicators of whether you will be training in a hypertrophic state. 

So to get away from the scientific basis-women who train will not only see athletic benefits-but do not need to worry about gaining "bulk" or being too muscular. Train to be an athlete, train smart and see the health benefits that come along with it. 

Whether you are an athlete or just want to be in shape-strength training for females has countless benefits and is generally misinterpreted by most. Eat properly, train properly and let the work get you that scholarship Anna. If you/anyone else needs more information just send another email and I will send a couple research papers and sources that will thoroughly prove what I stated. 


Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Just something to think about

For all those who say they don't have time some days or are too tired or have too much to do. Read this. Pretty inspirational from one of the best in the Business. 

"One thing that no one talks about is how walking into a weight room tired, over-worked, stressed, and f***ed up but then succeeding is a true lesson in mind strength. I don’t always recommend it, but at certain times of your life you’ve got to quit being such a slave to your pussiness and step up and see how well you can do under shitty conditions.

People have always been working labor jobs for long hours. There are single mom’s working two jobs and still finding time for their kids. There are soldiers that fought for our country that were hungry, tired, thirsty, and with pieces of steel stuck in their bodies, but somehow they were able to pull it together in combat. Why can’t you get your shit together for an hour and do a couple sets of squats?" -Jim Wendler

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Toughness Vs. Technology

Toughness vs. Technology 

Complex does not mean great. 

Sophisticated doesn't mean challenging. 

Revolutionary does not always equate to success. 

     Most of these statements contradict themselves in everyday life, yet in my life and the life of many strength and conditioning coaches around the world simple is better. Athletes strive to become the best and are subject to new training techniques, fads and myths, and more technology in some training centres than electronics store. The idea behind these new training methods is that the athlete will somehow become better through a system of pulleys, buttons, compression systems and computers and monitors. The sad truth behind this is; not only is the athlete wasting time and money, "dynamic and cutting edge"is misleading and a sad misfortune.

    The "favour" is that the workload is lessoned, the training methods are subpar and you'll leave the gym in a light sweat, short of breath and somewhat less of a man than before you entered. I know the cliche is inevitable but it must be said. "Why fix something that isn't broken?"
Perfect example is the video above, and we all know how that one turned out.

"He's not human-he's like a piece of iron"-Ivan Drago

There are a few simple things that every great athlete does to train:
-Lift Heavy

    One of the biggest preachers of this type of training is Zach Even-Esh. The man is a genius. Joe DeFranco is another one of the greats in the industry who NEEDS to be mentioned in this article. What do both these men have in common? They produce freak athletes and have a no bullshit approach to training. Their athletes lift and pull heavy things (bars, tires, sleds, atlas stones, sandbags, yokes, etc), preform freakish bodyweight exercises, run fast & jump. They don't need calibrated machines, compression devices, treadmills, and all the other marketable necessities sought after by some athletes & training facilities.

  Focus on being able to control your body through all ranges of motion and being able to be functional as an athlete. Pack on muscle and strength through lifting properly and become fast, agile and explosive through running and jumping. Save money, save time and save a headache and train PROPERLY. Old school training never got old. Time to man up and take responsibility and realize their are millions of athletes in the world and the ones that make it to the top are the ones who bang out that extra rep, don't skip over the mobility and rehab sessions, put blood sweat and tears into their workouts and would actually embarrass any gym rat/wannabe bodybuilder when it comes down to pure strength, power and speed. This simple, barebones training turns you into a man and into an athletic freak.

One of the easiest ways to look at it is this...
When in sport are you ever strapped down, sitting down, slowly moving, and able to control the pace of the opposing athlete in sport? NEVER. So don't train sitting down, do not train attached to machines and do something applicable to your sport. The bar isn't going to get up unless you pull it up, the dumbbells do not have a lever that you can just push out to save yourself from getting through that last tough rep and you control the speed and direction of the squat and whether or not it gets up. Speed, plyometrics, agility as well as mobility are constantly evolving but for the better. You need to train smart and you need to training properly.

I am sick and tired of hearing about all these revolutionary programs that will pack on 30lbs of muscle in only two months and that because its working for one athlete it is going to work for everyone. Heres an idea, stop subscribing to mens health and get into a gym where the athletes, PERFORMANCE coaches and atmosphere will challenge you.

"Pick up heavy shit, put it over your head. And do it often, and you will get stronger"-Rob Orlando

Off-Season has officially begun!

 Train Hard.