Much to my delight, the sport of Strongwoman has grown at a rapid rate in a very short space of time. Gone are the days of this being an infrequent sideshow to the guys. Now we have international titles and even a pro category at the Arnold Classic in Columbus Ohio.
At Spartan we are lucky to work with many top level and aspiring Strongwomen from around the world, not just the UK. These include the current World Strongest Woman and Arnold Amateur HW Champion Donna Moore.
Below are three tips I believe all up and coming strongwoman will benefit from.
IMPROVE UPPER BODY STRENGTH
Some women are genetic freaks and are extraordinarily gifted with their upper body strength. That or they’ve been exposed to laborious hobbies/sports throughout their childhood such as horse riding or gymnastics. Sadly, for the rest of us, we as women are simply not designed to display much in that department.
Women tend to compound this issue by not targeting their upper body muscles enough. For a lot of women, the thought of becoming ‘bulky’ crosses their mind and they simply choose not to train upper body as much as they may do their legs and ass in case one day they wake up in a dude’s body.
Well, what can I say to that except, GET OVER IT!
Strongwoman requires you to train for strength, strength training requires you to build muscle and personally I see that as a pretty fucking awesome side effect, looking like a superhero.
As with my clients at Spartan Performance and online I recommend you:
- Include 1 upper body strength session per week
- Include 1 upper body hypertrophy session per week
- Practice 1 pressing event per week.
GROW A PAIR!
I’ll apologise in advance to those this may offend and to those this absolutely doesn’t apply to.
There’s something that the general female population lack and the women at the top possess and that is the ability to work fucking hard in the gym. If you watch these ladies train they’re grunting, pulling angry faces, working their asses off pushing themselves to the limit EVERY damn session.
You will never develop sufficient adaptations if you don’t push through that uncomfortable barrier. I can promise you something, beyond that barrier, IF you dare to break through it, is glorious gains. THAT is the difference between Shero and zero.
GET A GRIP
Strongman/women is a sport that tests every aspect of strength and one of the most important of those is grip strength.
For the female athlete, there is a slight problem, we aren’t exactly renowned for our enormous hands, are we?
Sure, there are exceptions, myself included, but if you typically have tiny kitten hands then you’re going to have a bad time. But don’t panic! Grip is actually something that you can get away with training nearly every day one way or another, and you absolutely should. See below for the methods I have found effective over the years:
- Stop relying on those straps for deadlifts. Train your double overhand just as seriously as you would your mix grip.
- Add variation by training with an axle/fat gripz on assistance exercises.
- Add timed hangs to the end of all heavy sessions not only for extra grip work but all-important post training spinal decompression too.
A coach at Spartan Performance, Jenny is also the current and 4x England’s Strongest Woman and 2017 Arnold’s Amateur Strongwoman Middleweight Champion. To learn more from Jenny and our methods for training Strongwomen at Spartan, join Jenny for her upcoming Strength Workshop on November 12th .
(Jenny Todd (MW Champion) & Donna Moore (HW Champion) at the 2017 Arnold Classic)