#SquatEveryDay and Women

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#SquatEveryDay and Women

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I coach some of the top women lifters in the country. Personally I enjoy coaching women. As a whole they tend to listen better, and they follow plans better. Coaching men and women can be quite different. I say, “can be” because all athletes are different, and there are exceptions to every rule. That is where coaching comes in. If you have the privilege of coaching an athlete for several years, you should be able to formulate the perfect plan.

I collect data from each athlete after each training block. That data helped me formulate the following theory regarding women. Several of my female athletes just completed the first version of “squat every day”. All of them saw results, but they didn’t see the results that some of the men saw.

This led me to develop the “Mash Squat Every Day” version II. Universally all of my girls have noticed much more success on this plan. There are some distinct differences in the two plans that I am going to outline for all of you. These differences have proven true with all of my plans, so they are applicable to all programming for women. Here is what I have noticed:

1. Women thrive with volume! Women are just more durable than men. I suppose God made them that way to survive childbirth. A workout that brings a man to his knees will gather nothing more than a smirk from a woman. Here are some of the changes that I made to Version II:

• 5 and 3 Rep Maxes
• Multiple down sets
• More practice of their sport’s lifts (powerlifting, weightlifting, etc.)
• More assistance

2. Smaller competition tapers! Guys seem to need the deload to recharge the body, but women don’t respond as well to a big taper. Here is an example of a typical taper week for a male in Olympic weightlifting:

Taper Week
Day 1 Week 12
Warm Up with OH Squat Variations Snatch Grip Thruster to OHS work up to 70% of Snatch
Snatch Snatch Opener
Clean & Jerk Clean & Jerk opener
Front Squat Work up to 90% of Beltless Max x 1

Day 2
Front Squat Work up to 85% of Pause with belt x 1
Power Snatch Work up to 85% of Power Snatch
Power Clean Work up to 85% of Power Clean

Day 3
High Bar Back Squat Work up to 80% of paused Squat with Belt x 1
Snatch Snatch last warm up
Clean & Jerk Clean & Jerk last warm up

Day 5
Snatch Max Snatch 60% for 3×1
Clean & Jerk Clean & Jerk 60% for 3×1

Day 6
Compete

Here is what a female’s might look like:

Taper Week
Day 1 Week 12
Warm Up with OH Squat Variations Snatch Grip Thruster to OHS work up to 70% of Snatch
Snatch Snatch Max
Clean & Jerk Clean & Jerk Max
Front Squat 1RM but no misses

Day 2
Front Squat Work up to 90% x 1
Power Snatch Work up to 90% of Power Snatch
Power Clean Work up to 90% of Power Clean

Day 3
High Bar Back Squat Work up to 90% of paused Squat with Belt 2×1
Snatch Snatch Opener
Clean & Jerk Clean & Jerk Opener

Day 5
Snatch Max Snatch 75% for 3×1
Clean & Jerk Clean & Jerk 75% for 3×1

Day 6
Compete

The same goes for a Powerlifting Taper. A man’s taper might look like this:

Week 9-12
Day 1 Week 12
Back Squat Work up to 90% for 1
Bench Press Competition Grip and Pause Work up to 85% of max for 1 rep

Day 2
Front Squat Work up to 85% of Pause with belt x 1

Day 3
Back Squat Work up to 80% of paused Squat with Belt x 1
Bench Press 65% for 6×3 work up but no misses
Deadlift EMOMs 70% 5 x 1 work up but not past 85%

Day 4
Front Squat Work up to 80% for 1

Day 5
Competition

However a female’s will look more like this:

Week 9-12
Day 1 Week 12
Back Squat 1Rep Max but no misses
Bench Press Competition Grip and Pause 1Rep Max but no misses
Deadlift Work up to opener
Seated Rows 3×10

Day 2
Front Squat Work up to 85% of Pause with belt x 1

Day 3
Back Squat Work up to last warm up
Bench Press Competition Grip and Pause Work up to last warm up
Deadlift Work up to last warm up

Day 4
Front Squat Work up to 80% for 1

Day 5
Competition

3. Women need more attention to their muscular imbalances. All of us need to pay attention to any imbalances that we might have, but women seem to have more severe imbalances. In Olympic weightlifting especially, they get strong enough in their hips and legs to hoist massive weights above their heads. However, if their upper bodies aren’t prepared for the loads, it can cause disastrous results.

Rebecca Gerdon broke her wrist from the wear and tear of training. That was my wake up call to get my girls stronger and more muscular in their upper bodies. We use heavy carries, pressing variations, and rowing variations to strengthen our female athletes.

We also target glutes in our women lifters to help stabilize the knee joint. Women have wider hips than most men to accommodate childbirth. This causes a steeper angle from the hips to the knees, which puts them at risk for knee injuries. The best way to counter this issue is direct glute work. Improving the strength of abduction in the female lifter will help reduce the risk of injury.

Female lifters are some of the greatest athletes that any of us will ever have the privilege of coaching. Making a few of these changes will help them reach their goals at a much higher rate. Paying attention to number 3 will help them avoid major injuries, which is a big part of the process that most people don’t talk about.

I believe that women can see results at a much higher rate than men simple because they can tolerate more work. I have watched Rebecca Gerdon grind her way to the top of women’s weightlifting in the 75k class. Rebecca is like a piece of steel. The more that you beat it just causes it to get stronger. I have noticed the exact same thing training my wife, Emily Drew. If I drop the volume too much, she will get weaker. If I beat her up with volume, she gets stronger.

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At the end of the day these are just guidelines. The best way to develop the best program for any of your lifters is to communicate with them, and to develop data from their response to training protocols of the past. These two principles will help make you a great coach because they will help you to develop the best-personalized program for all of your athletes.

“SquatEveryDay II: Variations in Intensity and Volume” drops this weekend.

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