Jun 25th, 2011
This installment is the last, or maybe next to last, in an occasional series about putting on muscular bodyweight. For those that would like a refresher, you can read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 by following the conveniently linked text. Today, we will focus on females, a training population that generally does not want to make the numbers on the scale climb higher.
First, however, I have a barely related story to share. I was in the closet-sized kitchen in my office eating a large portion of pot roast as I am wont to do around 3 PM. Let’s face it, three meals a day may not be enough if you wish to put on weight. I like to think of it as early dinner. A gentleman with whom I work came up to me while I was feeding and said, "My arms and my legs are strong enough, but I want some abs. How do I get them?" The irony of asking someone (me) who does not and never has had six pack abdominals about how to get them while I was eating a large slab of beef was apparently lost on my coworker. I replied that I don’t really have any advice on that topic and he looked genuinely hurt and asked, "Why?" I replied that if he asked me about how to get his squat over 400 pounds, I might have some advice, but abs aren’t really my department. My coworker then asked, "Who in the world would want to squat over 400 pounds?" So begins our topic.
Trying to convince people of the utility of strength is often an uphill battle and, especially with coworkers, not one in which I would engage. If a trainee values strength, or sees its utility in the pursuit of their other goals, then that is the audience in which I am targeting today. For many, getting stronger is an irrelevancy. That’s a shame, but it’s not my goal with this article to argue in favor of getting stronger. I’ve already done that previously.
Instead, I’d like to address the topic of women who wish to become stronger, but are having some trouble doing so. I am going to assume that these hypothetical women understand that squatting is the cure to almost all of life’s problems and that they are not overtraining their conditioning. What do I mean by overtraining conditioning? Beating themselves into the ground with frequent, highly demanding conditioning workouts would count. If strength is the goal, then training must support that goal. Trying to squat big weights while doing five or six conditioning workouts a week that leave a trainee nauseated will not result in squatting big weights. Sad but true.
Of great importance will be setting a quantifiable goal for strength. This goal can and probably should include numbers for more than one lift. Once those numbers are set, the work must begin to meet them. Setting aside some time to focus on getting stronger will necessitate deemphasizing other training goals. This does not have to mean no conditioning, just less conditioning.
Eating and sleeping must also comport with these goals. Training for strength gains will involve putting on muscular bodyweight. Sorry, but someone needs to say it. Females benefit from muscular bodyweight gains just like males do. However, I am already above 500 words, so I will stretch this series for one more installment. Until next week…