Serial Trainer











{January 3, 2011}   For Women Only!

So my most popular post is “Happy National Chest Day” and I thought I’d expand on this one because there are so many people interested in it, but I don’t think there’s enough information out there for women that want to tone up and have no real guidance. The common scenario I get is: “I’ve just been doing my boyfriend/husband/brother’s routine” and I ask, “How’s that going for you?” and they say, “I don’t know, I don’t like it too much” to which I respond, “So are your goals to look like your husband/boyfriend/brother?”

I get the oddest looks to that question. But it makes sense, doesn’t it? Anyone that doesn’t ask what your goals are before designing or suggesting a workout regimen for you needs to NOT be designing your workout regimen.

Most women want a lean, sexy look so that they can fit into their tops and feel confident. They don’t want “big guns” and a “chiseled chest” in most cases. So why on earth are they doing chest presses at max weight for 5-10 reps? It doesn’t even take the stand six weeks to see that you’re looking more bulky and your scale numbers are going up.

One thing I like to recommend to my female clients is Pilates. Integrating Pilates moves into your workouts helps strengthen your core muscles and improve your posture. I also suggest some Yoga moves or classes. Stretching the muscles and improving your balance is also very important. If you mix up your routine to include a little of those two types of exercises, you’ll find that your body will take on some very nice results.

Now, let’s hone in on key problem areas for women and address them!

“The Bra Stuff” — The floppy skin that hangs over your bra. Oh c’mon let’s keep it real! How many times have you gone to put on your bra and a form fitting shirt only to see what didn’t fit, muffin out a little?

How to fix it: Cardio. 30-45 mins and lat pull. A good way to find your right weight is to do a few reps. The last five should be the hardest ones and give you just a little struggle. It’s best to have a trainer (if you belong to a gym) do an orientation with you so we can watch your posture and form. In most cases this is a free service offered by your health club. The purpose of the orientation is to tell us if you’re using the right muscle groups, if you’re compensating with another and most importantly, it helps us protect you from pulling muscles or injuring yourself.

If you don’t have a trainer it’s best to invest in a mirror. Watch your form and be sure that you do your research into exactly how that exercise should be done.

“Soft Fluffy Shoulders” — If your neck slopes down in an hourglass form into your shoulders, this is you.
Some people naturally carry their weight differently than others. That’s just the way it is. Nothing to be ashamed of. How your shaped is your own special look and you cannot change your body shape, only how it looks. If you’re curvaceous, that’s ok! If you’ve got narrow hips, that’s OK too! You can accent different areas of your body to draw attention to where you want it. In this case the “Fluffy Shoulders” is frustrating to females that feel like their built like a football player…gear and all.

How to fix it: Cardio. (some of you are starting to get the hint that there’s a pattern to this by now) In order to accentuate the beautiful line of the neck and sexy shoulders. There are a few exercises that can enhance the look but the key is to be careful that you do them correctly or else you’ll end up with an even bulkier look.

Shoulder Raises: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. You should have two light dumbbells in your hands with palms facing down. Take a deep breath and exhale slowly as you raise your arms in front of you to chest level, inhale again as you bring them down and then repeat but bring your arms out to either side (again, to shoulder level). A good hint is to do this exercise slowly..count 1-1000, 2-2000, 3-3000 etc..up to 5-5000. Do a set of 12-15, rest and repeat 2 more times. Be careful not to use your neck!

“Gravity” — Does this need further explanation? In order to give you a lifted look, doing chest presses in a slightly angled position works the chest to give you your own “wonder bra” effect. You can do this on a bench or on a fitness ball. If you this is your first time, start on a bench because the fitness ball will throw off your balance. You can use your dumbbells, bands or barbell. I usually prefer to train female (and male) clients with bands because there is equal resistance throughout the motion and it’s harder to cheat.

Start with your hands at chest level, take a deep breath and exhale as you push upward. Your arms should make a large arc, hugging motion as you bring them upward, then meet in the middle above your chest. Give an extra squeeze and then release to repeat. If you’re trying to tone the muscles and not bulk up, do the same repetitions/sets as the previous exercise.

“Got Cleavage?”Who doesn’t want a nice cleavage when wearing V-Neck shirts or the cute babydoll tops that are all the fashion?

How to fix it: Push-ups!..and Cardio. (did you think you were getting away with it??)

Push ups can be done several ways. Arms wide for more chest isolation and arms closer to work them triceps! Try changing it up and do three sets, working up to 20. Once you get more advanced, try doing them at an incline by raising your feet on a chair or bench, you can also do them with your hands on a dynadisk or fitness ball (be careful!). I also throw in a change here and there by having clients keep one hand on an elevated surface (like a book or small ball) then alternate each rep from side to side. Get creative and challenge yourself. Push-ups work more than your chest and triceps, so you’ll start seeing the difference in your posture as well.

There’s a lot more I can put in here but I’ve decided to break it up. Stay tuned for part 2 and give me some feedback or questions!

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