Different Training Styles & All Produce Incredible Results
I’m super excited to share today’s article with you.
The following information reveals how some of the most incredible women in the fitness industry train. And what I love about this article is that most of the following ladies train in a completely different way. BUT, they all look absolutely awesome.
Some ladies prefer a structured, organized program. Others opt for constant change to keep them interested. Some include things like yoga and cardio into their training program, while others avoid it.
This proves that there isn’t one “right way” to train — it’s all about doing what works for YOU, and ultimately what you enjoy doing.
Bottom line — There’s more than one “right way” to Lift Like a Girl!
In no particular order, let’s get started!
I train 4-5 days per week and my goals are to be hot, healthy, and strong. While I love working on my strength, it’s also important to me to look good and feel confident. To accomplish both, my favorite way to train is to start with a bigger lift (squat, bench, deadlift, front squat, front loaded barbell lunges, etc), and then move on to faster paced circuits.
I prefer to use bodybuilding type work for my circuits in order to give my body the shape that I desire, plus I enjoy the challenging pace and the metabolic push that circuits can offer when set up properly. I incorporate plenty of outdoor walking as a form of low intensity cardio, which also nourishes my soul. I do conditioning work a few times per week immediately after I train which typically includes grassy hill sprints, kettlebell work, bleacher sprints, sled pushes, battle hose, and jump rope.
I take yoga at least 5 days per week, which not only keeps me mobile, but aids my recovery and refreshes me mentally. I love staying active and keeping my body moving makes me happy!
Most recently I’ve been training with upper/lower splits– but I always have at least one glute exercise with my upper body workouts. For upper body, I spend one day working on cleans, jerks, and presses with a couple of accessory movements. The other day I work more for hypertrophy with higher rep exercises and more isolation movements toward the end of my training. I always begin with 2-3 compound movements that may include pull-ups, rows, military presses, bench press variations, ect. I am also really into kettlebells right now and include 1 to 2 KB exercises in each workout.
For lower body I typically begin with either a loaded bridging variation or a deadlift. I do loaded bridges with every lower body workout, and at least one squat and one deadlift variation a week. In addition, I work in some unilateral exercises, abduction work with bands, and often finish with either a back extension on the GHD or 45-degree hyper. I don’t do many (if any) lower body isolation movements like calf raises or leg extensions because I feel these exercises overly develop my legs. Right now I am really striving toward balancing my upper and lower body symmetry, so I’ve been conscious of not lifting incredibly heavy with my legs.
I don’t do cardio– not that I don’t enjoy it, I just don’t have much time for it right now and it’s incredibly hot outside. Some days I ramp up the rep range and do supersets to increase my conditioning. I have no plans of competing in any sort of sport/show so I am just training because I love it right now.
Amber of Go Kaleo
My approach to lifting is probably a little nontraditional. I’m not built for the sport (I’m all long and gangly), I got started late (never touched a dumbell until I was 36), and my knees are shot from decades of obesity and poor diet. So needless to say, I’ll never win a competition and to tell the truth I’m not interested in competing anyway. Deep down, my primary training goal is to not ever be obese and unhealthy again, and staying active is my first line of defense. I lift because it’s what I enjoy, and enjoying what I do is what keeps me engaged and motivated to stay active.
That said, I do want to get stronger and maintain my flexibility and functionality as I get older, and lifting supports those goals very well.
I lift almost every day. I usually spend about 30 minutes in the weight room. I focus on 1-3 lifts per day, either deadlift or squat (or a variation) plus one upper body push and one upper body pull (or I’ll mash everything together and spend the whole workout working on my clean and jerk or snatch), and then I’ll add in a circuit of complementary exercises for conditioning. I stick to compound, multi-joint exercises. 2-3 times a week I’ll do a straightforward heavy 5 x 5, the rest of the time I mix it up with lower weight/higher intensity circuits and bodyweight exercises.
My routine isn’t terribly organized because I get bored with routine. I tend to make up my workouts on the fly, but stick to the format I described above to make sure I’m working my whole body. I acknowledge that I might make faster strength gains if I followed a more formal program, but every time I’ve tried I’ve felt bored and unmotivated. In the end, I’ve built a fairly decent foundation of strength and conditioning, all things considered, following this format.
I rarely do dedicated cardio beyond a 10-15 minute warm up and cool down. The bodyweight circuits I do keep me in great cardiovascular shape though: when I do decide to do a long cardio session, my endurance and performance are as good as they were a few years ago when I trained for triathlons.
My philosophy is simple: the best exercise is the one you enjoy and will continue doing. Staying focused on that and not comparing my progress to others has really been the key to my ‘success’.
Since I believe every Coach should have a Coach, Mike Robertson of IFAST does my programming for me. When I first went to see Mike almost 3 years ago, I was a complete disaster. Needless to say, we spent the first year or two doing a lot of “corrective” exercises and just trying to get my body healthy again.
My main goal has always been to get as strong as physically possible, while maintaining a nice, feminine physique. I typically lift weights 4 days a week, usually with 2 upper body days and 2 lower body days. My main movements are typically some variation of: bench press, chin-up, squat, deadlift and are typically done in the 2-6 reps range. My accessory work is typically comprised of: push-ups, face pulls, split squats, cable rows, good mornings, romanian deadlifts, planks, GHRs, floor press, and other large compound movements and are typically done in the 5-10 rep range.
I also do my fair share of exercises in the half-kneeling and tall-kneeling positions, and lots of core work designed to resist movement (anti-flexion, anti-extension, anti-lateral flexion, anti-rotation, & neutral spine with hip flexion). I do cardio/conditioning whenever I have the time and energy (usually 2-3 times a week). Often times that means intervals right after my training session. My favorite exercises for conditioning would be KB swings, Battling ropes, Prowler pushes, and Sled Drags. I also take light walks on a regular basis, but I don’t consider those “cardio.” Currently my best lifts are a 275 lb squat, a 165 lb bench press, and a 341 lb deadlift, and I would love to hit a raw elite powerlifting total in the 165 weight class this year!
Also, my training focus has varied lately, I don’t think my contribution would clarify anything for anyone but rather confuse them, ahha. I do however operate with four week training blocks… My training all depends on my goals (ie: photo shoot prep, building strength / athleticism, etc).
Some training blocks I weight train 4 days per week where I split with two upper body emphasis days and two lower body emphasis days. Sometimes my 4 week block includes training weights 3 times per week with total body days .. all are usually incorporating big lifts though, balanced movements patterns, muscles groups, unilateral and bilateral work. Somewhere between 3 and 12 reps, 2-6 sets. My training days / weeks also include accessory work to make sure I get the appropriate work for my hips, posture (mid and lower traps), ab work, etc.
I always have some sort of conditioning whether it be sleds, heavy carries, med ball work, etc.. over the past 2 months, I’ve incorporated and enjoyed a day of hill sprints and another day of the week with a boxing coach. I also run about 45 minutes outside for personal time/enjoyment several days per week… so my training includes just as much energy expenditure work as it does strength training. Equipment in my “gym” workouts include mostly free weight work or whatever tools I use for conditioning as well.
Also an emphasis on recovery work since I train pretty frequently.. tissue work, massage, epsom salt baths, appropriate nutrition, supplementation and sleep.
Generally I love variety in my training, but what I have come to realise is that if I want to get better at something, I have to stick with it for a while and stop chopping and changing my training all the time. So, instead of just winging it in the weights room as I did for ages, I have actually started to follow my own program.
Twice a week I try to make it to the gym to do full body strength workouts. These will consist of:
- o 1 quad dominant exercise (front squats usually)
- o either 1 or 2 hip dominant exercises (Sumo Deadlift and Hip Thrusts)
- o or, I will add an odd-lift such as the Jefferson Deadlift into the mix
- o 1 Upper Body Pulling exercise (Single arm Row, Wide-Grip Pull Ups or Prone DB Row)
- o 1 Upper Body Pushing exercise (Bench Press, Dips or Military Press)
- o 1 bonus exercise (lateral raises, bicep curls, tricep push-downs, hanging leg raises)
These gym session typically last from 45 – 60mins (I have managed to reduce the time from 90mins simply by knowing what I am doing in advance and doing less total sets).
However, that is not all I do throughout the week. As you may know from my home workouts, I LOVE conditioning and I LOVE my Kettlebells. So, I aim for 2 full body interval workouts each week. For these workouts to be challenging, fun and effective, they must:
- o Be short (on average, 24mins)
- o Be intense (short rests between exercises, using challenging weights and doing the most advanced variation of an exercise I can manage safely)
- o Contain at least 2 dreaded/evil exercises … such as Burpees, Stand-Kneel-Stands, Thrusters, Super Plank Climber etc etc ;)
- o Cover the essential movement patterns (squat, hip hinge, upper body pull, press, core etc)
- o Result in me Sweating, Swearing and Smiling (you see, if you strike a balance between loving and hating your workouts, you will reach your goals faster LOL)
My main fitness goal is to remain strong and get better at the basics, while maintaining my body composition. That being said, I hope to add a little more power training in to my training by incorporating Olympic Weightlifting and also a few more “odd” lifts … so stay tuned for that in the near future.
And Last . . . My Turn
My training these last couple of months has been quite different from how I’ve trained the past several years. Right now I’m getting over a nagging lower-back injury, and I’ve had to adjust my training accordingly to help this process move along.
Right now I’m doing mostly bodyweight exercises and fun things like sprints and pushing a car. Just because I said I’m performing mostly bodyweight exercises, don’t for a second think I’m doing plain ole push-ups and squats.
Far from it.
I’ve been progressing to more difficult bodyweight movements like handstand holds and I’m working my way towards handstand push-ups. I’m also doing more difficult push-up and pull-up variations along with various jumps, bridges, and other movements.
Even though I’m staying away from really heavy barbell exercises right now, I’m still training hard. I’m just doing so in a different way.
Right now I train on an almost daily basis rotating between strength work (negative handstand push-ups, pistols, challenging pull-up variations), higher rep work, and sprinting.
I’m enjoying the challenge and the change of pace, and it’s fun working towards some new training goals like the handstand push-up.
I hope you enjoyed this article as it highlighted and revealed how some incredible ladies in the fitness industry are training!