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 Strength Through Female Eyes How strong does a woman need to be to be considered “strong”?

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PostSubject: Strength Through Female Eyes How strong does a woman need to be to be considered “strong”?    Fri Dec 14, 2012 8:35 pm

Strength Through Female Eyes

Posted: 13 Dec 2012 09:22 PM PST

By Lauren Brooks, SFG Team Leader

Note from Pavel:

Several weeks ago Lauren asked me: How strong does a woman need to be to be considered “strong”?

I thought it was a question that should be answered by women (strong women, naturally). I asked Lauren to answer it on the StrongFirst blog. Then I asked a few more strong SF sisters for their answers. We will be publishing them—along with training advice for women ready to be strong—in this blog over the next several months.

“Wow, she must be really strong.” When I hear these words I can tell you that heavy presses or heavy front squats are not what first come to mind. What does come to my mind is a person, a female, who overcame a significant challenge. Someone who was forced to deal with a life-altering experience and pushed through it with strength that was found from within. I have stood in the shoes of a shy little girl, of an awkward teenager, a college student, a single woman, a wife, a career woman, and a mother. I remember how it was/is to be in each element clearly. Each one required a certain amount of strength to overcome the challenges and tribulations that were brought to the surface at that time.

As for physical strength, there are women that are born with little and have to work ten times as hard to acquire the same levels as their naturally gifted counterparts. If this so-called “weak” woman decides to train very hard, after many years of perseverance, she can be nearly as strong as the naturally strong woman.

How strong is strong enough? As a female, mother, wife, and coach, I’m here to tell you that strength is relative! The woman in the wheelchair who learned how to walk again, despite three doctors telling her she would be bound to that wheelchair forever, is the meaning of strength! The day you stop working to be strong, is the day you start getting weak.

When defining what is considered to be a physically strong female, there are measurable standards that I personally feel are necessary. Here is the answer in my perspective of what I would consider a strong woman. Below is a list of specific measures of strength that makes a female super strong in my opinion. At minimum going on a percentage of bodyweight.

Dead hang pull-ups — 3 or more
Push-ups — 8 or more
Barbell deadlift — 150% bodyweight
Single leg deadlift — 60% bodyweight
Single arm press — 30% bodyweight
Kettlebell swings — 60% bodyweight
Double kettlebell front squat — least 60% bodyweight
Turkish get-up — 30% bodyweight
Kettlebell snatch — 40% bodyweight

I am providing a simple baseline super strong program to get you on your journey to achieve the standards above of what I consider to be a “super strong” woman. Feel free to follow the simple program I have provided at end of this blog to be on your way to achieving these standards.

Strength is not always about the final product and it’s not always about how much you can lift, but it is about where you started from and where you are now. Strength is a life long journey.

From Weak to Strong Female Program

Choose a challenging size kettlebell for your level.

Rule #1. You must be able to perform a perfect repetition with the size you choose.
Rule #2. Do not go to failure.

Practice Session 1

A. Turkish Get-Ups —2 reps each side
Heavy Swings—10 reps

Rest and repeat for a total of 3 sets.

B. Goblet Squats —5 reps
Pull-ups—1-5 reps

Rest and repeat for a total of 3 sets.

Practice Session 2

A. Barbell or Double Kettlebell Deadlifts—3-5 reps
Military Press—3-5 reps each side

Rest and repeat for a total of 3 sets.

B. Kettlebell Snatch—descending ladder, 6 each side, 5, each side, until you get to one. No rest.

Practice Session 3

Go through each exercise and perform 1 rep. Once you have completed the 5 exercises listed, begin again by performing 2 reps, then 3 reps. Once you have completed 3 reps of each, start again by taking it down to 2 and then 1. You will practice 9 total perfect reps per exercise throughout the entire practice. If you are advanced, you may go up to 4 reps. If you can go up to 5, you may not be going heavy enough.

Turkish Get Up
Double Front Squat
Single Leg Dead Lift

Super Strong Training Week 1-2

Monday: Practice Session 1
Tuesday: Active Recovery i.e. Restorative Yoga or/and Joint Mobility
Wednesday: Practice Session 2
Thursday: Active Recovery i.e. Restorative Yoga or/and Joint Mobility
Friday: Practice Session 3
Saturday: Active Recovery i.e. Restorative Yoga or/and Joint Mobility
Sunday: Walking, Hill Sprints, or Turkish Get Up Practice

Super Strong Training Week 3-4

Monday: Practice Session 1
Tuesday: Practice Session 2
Wednesday: Active Recovery i.e. Joint Mobility
Thursday: Practice Session 3
Friday: Practice Session 1
Saturday: Active Recovery i.e. Restorative Yoga or/and Joint Mobility
Sunday: Practice Session 2

Super Strong Training Week 5-6

Monday: Mobility and Walking
Tuesday: Practice Session 3
Wednesday Practice Session 1
Thursday: Easy Swings followed by Mobility and Walking
Friday: Practice Session 2
Saturday: Practice Session 3
Sunday: Active Recovery i.e. Restorative Yoga or/and Joint Mobility (or easy practice)

Follow this simple program for 6 weeks. Keep a journal and record your practice sessions. Most of all listen to your body. I look forward to hearing about your journey from weak to super strong.

Lauren Brooks, SFG Team Leader, is the owner of On The Edge Fitness in Encinitas, California. Teaching a variety of people, especially females and mothers, how to be strong, empowered, and ready for life is what she does. Lauren, mother of two little girls, continues to lead by example. You can find out more about Lauren by visiting her website ontheedgefitness.com or her blog, kbellqueen.blogspot.com, which includes recipes, workouts, and continued inspiration.

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