Sunday, December 7, 2008

Female Functionalists?

Not a common sight: a woman doing barbell deadlifts. You'd expect to see a woman in a pristine trendy health club....on an elliptical trainer or holding 5-lb pink rubberized dumbbells, right?  Wrong.

I bring out this topic because more and more women are finding results in functional fitness programs. Every week that passes, I find out of more women participating in the Prison Workout's bodyweight-only system.  They are learning that resistance training does not build nasty, disgusting muscle. They get discouraged due to rarely seeing quantifiable results (both with performance and in the mirror) with traditional cardio machine training. They get bored with the same routine, that again...produces little results. And all the weight machines are intimidating looking.  Conversely, they have found some answers with a functional fitness routine.

About these routines:
  • relatively short in duration (20 minutes)
  • high intensity
  • require almost NO equipment
  • constantly varying
  • scalable (adjustable) to ability levels
  • rarely boring
  • blend cardio and resistance into 1 session
  • build self-esteem
  • cut fat and tone the body
  • increase strength and balance
Ann, Jennifer, and ToughNoodles are three militant participants in the PWO#2:

Ann's energy is contagious, and the perfect example of being thirsty for information. She's always asking questions and researching on her own. She's a cross-trainer who does: stair racing, Zumba, Swiss ball, kettlebelling, and bicycling. Ann finished PWO#1 on schedule and is already talking about what sorts of new movements to add when she's done with PWO#2! I think I've convinced her to start doing heavy deadlifts too! 

Jennifer is a young police detective.  She began the PWO#1, and then advanced into kettlebelling with PWO#2. Her testimony to me has been that she has felt more complete and fitter than with her previous traditional workouts.  She's got a great support group to provide mutual encouragement. As the newest of these 3 women to functional fitness, I think Jennifer's approach to fitness routines has been forever changed. 

Lori (AKA ToughNoodles) has been a long distance runner for more years than I've been alive. Two things that rarely go together are: marathoning and plyometric exercising. She is one of the rare who realizes there's more to long distance training than merely running. She's finding a lot of benefit to core and weight training. One benefit she's shared that I can appreciate is: "more attack power on the uphills on runs." Read about her Prison Workout experiences here

With some of the advantages listed above, it's hard to argue against reality-based functional fitness for females. Begin with bodyweight exercises that require no equipment. It's the perfect way to begin such a journey. Make the commitment today!

NOTE: Funny that the day after I wrote this post, this was the reading of the day on the CrossFit affiliate blog. Timely.  "Elite Fitness for Women" by Adam Stanecki.

Photo credit: MotorCity CrossFit, metro Detroit, MI


Anonymous said...

Correct me if I am wrong, but shouldn't a deadlift be performed w/an overhand/underhand grip?

Anonymous said...

A deadlift can be performed with either the overhand grip (as pictured on the front page) or with the traditional alternating grip (under/over). The first taxes the grip more. The second stops the bar from rolling out of your hands.

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU for this post!! I am a female figure competitor and I train like a "guy" -- if that's the way people interpret it. I do body-weight chin-ups, barbell deadlifts, leg presses with more than twice my body weight, and dozens of push ups. Without the challenge of weight-training, no man OR woman can look strong, cut, and sexy. Nice job! Love the blog!!