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Bill

Best Program For My Wife To Strength Train

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Hello again! I had a question for my wife. She's been busting her hump at the gym for quite some time now, watching her calories, low carbs, sodium, all that fun (not!) dieting stuff. She has managed to lose 95 pounds in a period of 8-9 months. This was last year.

She hasn't put on any weight since, and she went back to the gym early spring this year (the reason for the gap away from the gym is because we bought a house and did all that fun stuff that goes with it) and has been going at the cardio machines again like crazy and doing the machines that I won't ever touch all around Planet Fitness. (sorry, not sure if that's a swear word around here yet!)

Here's the thing. She's gotten herself down to around 160lbs. She's 5'3" or somewhere around there. She's majorly plateaued and it's driving her nuts. I never hear the end of it. She lost lots of body fat but she isn't happy yet and wants to do something to tone up her muscles and get a thinner look all around. It also pisses her off that I'm so much stronger than her, but that's a different story. :)

Many people, including myself, have told her she has to get off the eliptical machine and start doing different excersise. I read in a lot of places that strength training is very good for women who want to get the results she's looking for. I recommended a strength training program too because even though I've only been doing it for a month, I love it and it's already starting to show results that will only get more promising in the future.

Can anyone point me to a plan that would suit her well? I wasn't sure if the SS, SL, of the AFP would work the same with her. That's why I wrote down all the stuff above so I can get help deciding with her specific circumstances. I'm still new to this too, so I don't want to steer her wrong and cause a problem.

Thanks!

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Any of those three can be a good start. Do check this thread as well: http://ironstrong.org/index.php?/topic/607-female-lifting-progression-pace/

If she's like my wife, the structure of SS, SL, or AFP would be rather limiting or boring--something to keep an eye on.

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First off, tell your wife congrats on her weight loss! Losing and keeping off 100 lbs is not an easy task.

Any of the programs you listed will work for your wife. Start her off with the bar, and progress as normal.

She may stall a bit earlier on the upper body lifts, because women tend to not have quite as much muscle up there as guys do. You might want to invest in smaller increment plates for microloading. I have a pair of 1.25 lb plates I bought, and they've been rather useful.

If you have any other questions, ask away! There's a few women here, and we're all glad to help. :)

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Thanks for the info! I won't have to worry about my wife getting bored. She stays on an elliptical machine for 40 minutes straight and she tells me she doesn't watch the tv while she does it. I can't see how it can possibly get any more boring than that. haha! She's interested in these programs. I just have to get her over the "But there are mirrors everywhere and people will see me and laugh at the girl trying to lift weights!" I keep telling her to get over it because nobody will care what she is doing. If I was a single guy in a gym, I'd be more impressed by a woman lifting weights! What's there to laugh about, right? You're just trying to better yourself! If anyone laughs at you for that, they are the morons because they are obviously there for the wrong reasons.

She goes to Planet Fitness, which sucks because there are no free barbells there. Only smith machines and dumbells. I'm trying to convince her to go to my gym because it has everything she would ever need, despite not looking fancy and being smaller.

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I don't know if this is an option for you Bill, but if you have the space/free cash it might be worth buying your own stuff and she can train at home/in the garage. My other half wouldn't dream of squatting/deadlifting in a gym full of people, but is more than happy to sweat and grunt in a garage with no mirrors or spectators, and has made excellent progress.

The equipment soon pays for itself as well, considering what gyms charge these days.

Best of luck.

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Yeah I looked into getting our own stuff. She wants to do squats and stuff like me but I would never let her without a power rack. I priced them and man, they are more expensive than I thought! I can't find any used ones in my area either. Maybe when income tax time comes in I can shell out some cash for something decent, plus buying the weights and bar used. My gym membership is only 35 bucks and has everything you need to strength train. I guess I'll keep my eyes open for it.

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Get a squat rack with safety arms. A lot more reasonably priced, easier to find room for it, and you still have safeties to protect yourself. Best investment I've made.

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Throwing this out as a completely 2-cent take it for what it's worth.

She has discipline. Showing up for mind numbing 40 minute cardio sessions and getting/keeping that weight off was strong work--good stuff. She might be a natural cardio person but steady state as being "good" has ben hashed into the ground as not optimal by everyone not an East African Olympic distance runner.

How 'bout 3x's per week solid bar bell complex with the rep ranges designed to ellicit GH release vs. more of a foundational lifting program usually referenced at being better to release testosterone?

She's good on endurance, she gets to learn a handful of quick movements with a big impact and she could still do 10min-20min of cardio after she's done. She might "like" that type more based on the personality type I think you're writing about than a traditional strength training program. At her strength level she could even just take one of those non-adjustable weight curl bars every gym has (or DBs for that matter) into her own little corner, run through one of Dan John's 10 minute killers and be done?

I should stress I don't think there's a thing wrong with her doing a traditional strength program--just saying that if she's geared up mentally to train a certain way and "likes" it then maybe skewing in that direction and gradually increasing her strength by adding weight as the complex's increase.

Just a thought. After watching the WOU guys running a prowler across the field pre-season I swear you could get jacked and strong all over just by increasing weight over time in that exercise alone. It didn't look fun but it looked good.

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My wife is a beast when it comes to working out. She does the cardio stuff at PF because it's what she's used to. She definitly wants to do the strength training like I'm doing. We're past the point where she cares about what people think. She can get over that after just a couple of sessions. Now we're down to getting someone to sit with the 4 year old so I can take her to my gym and teach her how to do what I've been doing.

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It took me a while to convince Ms. Helm to join me at the gym, and it took some more time to build her confidence at the gym, but nowadays it's sometimes her who kicks my butt to go to the gym. I started her on SL 5x5, very slowly to get the techniques right. She's doing very well now, gets a lot of respect from the other guys and enjoys the benefits, e.g. gunz :) - though she wouldn't admit that.

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