For the male athlete, getting in the weight room to improve strength and performance is a no brainer. On the other side of that there is still a stigma that female athletes should stay away from the weight room, because they will become too “bulky” from weight training. However, just like male athletes, female athletes can greatly improve improve their athletic performance by incorporating a strength and performance regimen.
Train your “Go Muscles”, Not your “Show Muscles“
Many female athletes are wasting their time in the weight room, by lifting light weights to “tone” instead of doing multi-joint movements to increase strength and athletic performance. Sure toned arms in a tank top look good, but toned arms are not going to improve your athletic performance very much. We have a saying here at Phase 6 ” Train your Go Muscles, not your Show Muscles. The “Go Muscles” or the posterior chain, mainly your back, glutes, and hamstrings are the horsepower of your body. In other words, these muscles are what make you “Go”. Hip, leg, and back strength are the most important to athletes performance, thus make up the bulk of our programming. We don’t neglect the “show muscles”. They are important in developing well rounded strength. So we do train them, typically towards the end of our training sessions after all of our main movements for that day.
Build a Solid Foundation of Strength
By incorporating squat, deadlift, and unilateral strength variations, rows, and plyometric variations into your training program, you will be training the movements that will improve the strength and power in the posterior chain or ” the horsepower” of the body. Building this horsepower will help you run faster, jump higher, and protect your body from injury.
Make Injury Prevention a Priority
The female athlete is 6x more likely to suffer an ACL injury than a male is. Anatomy plays a role in this, with females having wider hips than males. Female athletes also tend have weaker glutes and hamstrings that can lead to injuries. So, having a program that focuses on strengthening that posterior chain is important to the prevention of injuries. Also incorporate dynamic warmups and prehab movements prior to training to improve mobility and pliability, to help build your resiliency.
Train like an Athlete, period.
There are no female athlete vs. male athlete specific works. The female athlete can and should train as the male athlete does. We use the same movements, jumps, and throws with our female athletes, as we do with our male athletes. The benefits are increased strength, improved speed, agility, jumping ability and reduced risk of injury. The female athlete can improve their strength and performance in the weight room, and will not look like a middle linebacker in the process.