Females need to train differently than males.
This is the attitude that many trainers, magazines and programs take when it comes to women lifting weights. However, this is a misleading philosophy that can lead to errors in judgement when programming for female clients.
A more intelligent approach would be that “people in general need to train differently when they have different goals”. One of my soapbox issues is when trainers are too attached to a certain modality or technique and put all of their clients into that box regardless of goal.
That being said, if you are a female and your goal is to attain a slender, athletic physique, the TRX Suspension Trainer is the best piece of equipment you can buy.
Suspension trainers have a myriad of benefits, including a plethora of possible exercises, the fact that each exercise involves the full body, and that the focus is moving your body through space, rather than moving an outside object.
Females generally have a higher strength to weight ratio than their male counterparts, especially in the lower body. Training with the TRX allows you to take advantage of that ratio and build up on an existing base of strength, which will lead to faster progress and more visible results.
By using the TRX, the entire body is involved in every exercise so even while doing legs, the arms and back are engaged.
This “high frequency” type of training works well especially for females, who need more regularity in the smaller muscle groups like arms and shoulders, and can handle less recovery time in order to produce the slender physique that many women desire.
If your goal is to gain the maximum amount of muscle, TRX training is good, but must be supplemented with heavier weights and lower rep ranges. Think of your favorite crossfit diva, who spends a lot of time doing 3-5 rep maxes and working on top end strength in order to be competitive in every aspect of fitness.
While this type of training is beneficial for building muscle, it also takes a degree of patience to work up to respectable weights in a safe manner. So while a beginner male trainee might be able to squat 135 after a month of training, it will take a female closer to a year of dedicated squatting.
However, males and females are roughly as capable at performing bodyweight movements, especially when using a TRX suspension trainer for assistance. So the same female would be able to do a single leg TRX squat for reps after only a month of training, the same as a male.
Those single leg squats will provide much more training stimulus to the glutes and quads after only a few weeks of practice, which will result in a better physique, faster.
Additionally, I’ve found it to be difficult in some scenarios to teach women to value weight training for changing their body. While it’s easy to say “train insane or remain the same” often times the teaching that preempts insane training goes unheeded.
It’s important for lifelong fitness to find something that works well for you and that you enjoy doing, and I’ve seen that more women tend to enjoy TRX training because of the instant gratification of the change in their body, and the ease of learning the exercises.
Not only that, but with a Suspension Trainer, every exercise can be progressed to an advanced version to keep pushing yourself to new limits, or can be regressed to make the exercise do-able for the absolute beginner.
No matter what your end goal is, I always counsel my female clients to set at least one performance goal. Whether that is completing one pullup, 10 pushups, or finally being able to nail a single leg Suspension Trainer Ranger Pushup to Pike, having a goal that is solely physical performance can pay off huge dividends in relation to physique.
Do I have your attention yet?
If you’re interested in pushing yourself to the absolute max, I’ve written out a week long Suspension Trainer workout that you can do at your gym or on your own. Click to download.