In my extensive forum activity, I am frequently met with the situation of a woman looking to get lean. She already has a great diet set up, and does regular cardio, and has also been convinced (not entirely by my own rhetoric) of the value of lifting weights. But how can she implement resistance training into her routine? Here is where I step in. I will now diagnose the target areas and rationalise the training approach. It’s all about target and attack.
Exercise selection, periodization
It is common for women to not want to get as muscular as possible. Due to this the plan is not to build maximum muscle tissue, but rather to maintain and strengthen what is already there and stimulate maximum metabolic output, then “isolation” exercises are essentially unnecessary for this programme. Big, compound, and largely full-body movements will be the backbone – and the flesh – of this awesome lifting routine.
The lower body will lead proceedings but the upper body won’t be totally neglected. Training the upper body allows the lower body to recover whilst still creating a metabolic demand. It will also improve the overall look of your physique: lean, toned arms and well-shaped shoulders.
Daily Undulating Periodization (DUP) will allow you to recover, by approaching lifting in different ways across the course of the week. This programme is all about that; the more work you can do, the more fat you can burn and the more muscle tone you can develop.
This programme is hard. It will kick your butt like no cardio ever has before. I made this programme deliberately hard because I know that women usually train harder than men (especially those willing to lift weights).
Furthermore, because most of these workouts involve complex lifts, I would say that it is absolutely necessary to be guided by a professional, at least until you have the form nailed. Don’t attempt the intense programme until you are confident in the safety of your movement.
Day 1 – loading, strength
Exercise 1 – Barbell squat – 5 sets – 5 reps – 120sec rest between sets
Exercise 2 – Romanian deadlift – 5 sets – 5 reps – 120sec rest between sets
Exercise 3 – Smith machine lunge – 4 sets – 6 reps – 100sec rest between sets
Exercise 4 – Bent over dumbbell row – 4 sets 6 reps – 100sec rest between sets
Day 2 – contrast training, plyometric
Superset* 1 (3 supersets/6 sets; 90sec rest between supersets)
A – Goblet squat – 5 reps
B – Vertical jump – 5 reps
Superset 2 (3 supersets/6 sets; 90sec rest between supersets)
A – Barbell deadlift – 5 reps
B – Horizontal leap – 5 reps
Superset 3 (3 supersets/6 sets; 90sec rest between supersets)
A – Chest/bench press – 5 reps
B – Medicine ball chest pass – 5 reps
Superset 4 (3 supersets/6 sets; 90sec rest between supersets)
A – Assisted pull-up/pull-down – 5 reps
B – Medicine ball slam – 5 reps
Day 3 – moderate loading, strength and metabolism
Exercise 1 – Hack squat – 3 sets – 8 reps – 90sec rest between sets
Exercise 2 – Sissy squat – 3 sets – 10 reps – 80sec rest between sets
Exercise 3 – Hanging leg raise – 3 sets – 12 reps – 70sec rest between sets
Exercise 4 – Overhead barbell press – 3 sets – 8 reps – 90sec rest between sets
Day 4 – burn sets, strength endurance and metabolism
Exercise 1 – Barbell deadlift – 3 sets – 15 reps – 60sec rest between sets
Exercise 2 – Barbell squat – 3 sets – 20 reps – 60sec rest between sets
Exercise 3 – Chest/bench press – 3 sets – 20 reps – 60sec rest between sets
Exercise 4 – Assisted pull-up/pull-down – 3 sets – 20 reps – 60sec rest between sets
*A superset is two different exercises performed back-to-back without rest; the rest period is taken after a set of each exercise has been performed (that equals one “superset”)
As always – research the best ways to do these lifts.
We have a few guides on the below lifts – but feel free to comment below if you have any questions