A typical strength training program for women should almost always include compound free weight lifts like squats, bench press, shoulder press, pull-ups (wide grip), and dips. The amount of weight used for each, the amount of reps, and the frequency of training, will obviously be customized to suit your body type, current strength, and strength training goals.
However, it’s also important to note that training too often is both dangerous and counter-productive. More training does not equal more muscle--the body does not become stronger during exercise; it actually becomes stronger during the repair period between exercising. This is rather non-intuitive, but it’s a basic scientific fact. As such, it’s critically important for women to avoid over-training and to build in appropriate rest periods between reps, sets, and workouts.
Although a consistent approach of training and rest are required for a successful workout routine there are also other factors that contribute to long term success.
Intrinsic Motivation and Keeping Up Progress
This may be the most neglected component of an effective weight-training/weight loss system, as any people have the will and desire to start a program; at least, they do for the first few times. Where motivation makes – or breaks – a training program is when it comes to monitoring progress and maintaining muscle gain.
This doesn’t imply that people are weak or uninterested in progress; actually, it’s rather more complex than that. The dilemma is that people may start doubting the validity of their program when their progress (or lack of progress) does not mirror the results achieved by someone else. Or worse, some people may truly start doubting their own ability to reach their goals when they see someone else making apparent progress towards their goals relatively quickly.
The remedy to this dilemma is contained in the term “follow-through”. The key to success lies fundamentally in one’s ability to follow-through with a program, and to stick with it, while at the same time making appropriate adjustments to exploit gains, and avoid disappointment. Ultimately, if the nutrition and strength training components are in place, achieving fitness goals are merely a matter of time and effort; and that is where motivation plays its most important role.
Typical proven strategies to ensure motivation remains high and continuous include:
- Adjusting workouts to add some variety and avoid boredom
- Using visuals (such as a before and after picture, or a video) to monitor progress
- Writing down (realistic) goals
- Measuring physical improvements on a bi-weekly basis
- Measuring mental/psychological improvements on a bi-weekly basis
- Staying focused, and of course, taking breaks when necessary!
Putting it All into Place and Taking Action
The key to any successful workout regime (whether weight loss, weight gain or muscle building) is to a combination of proper nutrition, effective strength training and self-motivation. Ensuring that these three elements are present is the unifying theme that is common to almost every success story.