Hard Body Training for Women

The 10-Week Transformation Program

Hard-body-training-for-women

Here's what you need to know...
  • Women tend to have a higher pain tolerance when it comes to training, can recover faster between sets, and are able to sustain a higher volume of work. Men are welcome to try the program, but they may not be able to hang!
  • This program has you training the same muscles two days in a row: heavy lifting the first day and pump work for the same muscles the next day.
  • Training the same muscles two days in a row facilitates recovery and lengthens the duration of the anabolic phase.
  • The workout plan calls for five mandatory training days per week with an optional sixth day. That extra day will help you get leaner super fast, but you'll get amazing results with just the five main workouts.

What To Expect

Figure Competitor

This program will be uncomfortable at times, painful at others. It will force you to focus on performance.

You'll get stronger, faster, more powerful, and more resilient. The end result will be fat loss, more muscle in the right places, and a strong body.

This is the type of training I used with one of my clients who won her first two physique competitions this year, training without drugs, while having two kids and a full time job working construction.

Can Men Do It? Maybe, If They're Woman Enough

Female Squat

Can guys do this program? Sure, they can try.

Muscle is muscle and we're all the same species, but women don't have the same needs when it comes to building an aesthetic physique. They don't need to emphasize building the pecs. Instead, they need more focus on the glutes. And since they need muscular but not massive arms, tons of direct arm work isn't necessary.

Women also tend to have a higher pain tolerance when it comes to training. Females can recover faster between sets, and are able to sustain a higher volume of work during a session. So if you're a guy, you're welcome to try the program, but it will be even more uncomfortable for you!

The Basic Structure

Dumbbells

The program calls for five mandatory training days per week with an optional sixth day. That extra day will help you get lean faster, but you'll get amazing results with just the five main workouts.

This program uses a cool concept: train the same muscles two days in a row. You hit them hard with heavy lifting the first day and then you do pump work for the same muscles the next day.

This actually facilitates recovery and lengthens the duration of the anabolic phase. Protein synthesis stays elevated for 24 hours post-training, but by having a second session the next day that's less traumatic, you extend protein synthesis significantly, thus building more muscle.

It's important that the second session is pump work and not heavy lifting, though. We don't want to cause any muscle damage on that second day. We only want to activate the cell signaling responsible for stimulating hypertrophy and pumping nutrients into the muscles.

Related:  3 Complexes for Rapid Female Fat Loss

I also include metabolic conditioning (metcon) to get you lean fast without risking the loss of muscle mass. The metcon will actually help you build more muscle while getting leaner.

Explosive work also plays a big role in the program. It increases the insulin sensitivity of muscle, making you more prone to storing ingested nutrients in the muscles instead of the fat cells. Additionally, explosive work gives the body a harder, more sculpted look by improving myogenic tone.

The schedule looks like this:

Monday: Lower body strength/hypertrophy work
Tuesday: Lower body pump complex/lower body metcon
Wednesday: Upper body strength/hypertrophy work
Thursday: Upper body pump complex/upper body metcon
Friday: Optional sprint/energy systems session
Saturday: Whole body explosive work
Sunday: OFF

Load Progression

Leg Curl

The program uses two main systems of progression: programmed progression and double progression.

Programmed progression refers to a cycle where the weights are planned in advance based on your 1RM. So you'll need to establish your maximum load for one technically solid rep on the back squat, push press, and power clean from the hang.

The percentages used during this whole program are all based on that 1RM.

Double progression is a system where you have a target rep range instead of a precise number of reps to do, 6 to 8, for example. You will use the same weight for all your work sets.

The goal is to be able to do all the work sets with the upper limit of the range (8 in our example) with the same weight. When you're able to do that, you increase the weight at your next session. If you can't get 8 reps for all of your work sets, that's fine, but it means that you'll keep the same weight during next week's workout.

So when you see a percentage given for an exercise below, it uses the planned progression. When you don't see a percentage, it means you'll use the double progression approach.

The Program

Monday

Exercise Wk Sets x Reps %1RM Rest
A Box Jump 3 x 10
B Back Squat 1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
5 x 4
5 x 5
5 x 6
3 x 3
5 x 3
6 x 3
3 x 3
3 x 2
3 x 3
Test Max
80%
80%
80%
90%
90%
90%
95%
100%
100%
75 sec.
90 sec.
2 min.
2 min.
2 min.
90 sec.
90 sec.
2 min.
2 min.
C1 Superslow Eccentric
Back Squat *
squat down in 6 seconds, stand up fast
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
5 x 4
5 x 5
5 x 6
3 x 3
5 x 3
6 x 3
3 x 3
3 x 2
3 x 3
None
60%
60%
60%
70%
70%
70%
75%
80%
80%
30 sec.
30 sec.
30 sec.
30 sec.
30 sec.
30 sec.
30 sec.
30 sec.
30 sec.
C2 Dumbbell Jump Squat *
using 20-30% of your body weight
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
5 x 4
5 x 5
5 x 6
3 x 3
5 x 3
6 x 3
3 x 3
3 x 2
3 x 3
None
20%
25%
30%
20%
25%
30%
20%
25%
30%
90 sec.
90 sec.
90 sec.
90 sec.
90 sec.
90 sec.
90 sec.
90 sec.
90 sec.
D Barbell Hip Thrust * *
with 3 second hold at peak contraction
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
4 x 6-8
4 x 6-8
4 x 6-8
2 x 6-8
4 x 6-8
5 x 6-8
6 x 6-8
3 x 6-8
2 x 6-8
None
75 sec.
75 sec.
75 sec.
60 sec.
60 sec.
60 sec.
45 sec.
45 sec.
45 sec.

* Perform one set of C1, rest 30 seconds, then perform a set of C2, rest 90 seconds and repeat.
* * Utilize the double progression method, which means the goal is to do 6-8 reps on all your sets using the same weight. If you can complete 8 reps on all your sets, you increase the weight by 5, 10, or even 20 pounds at the next workout. If you do something like 8, 8, 7, 6, that's fine, but it means that you keep the same weight during the next session.

Tuesday

Circuits Sets Reps Details
Lower Body Pump
Lying Leg Curl
Leg Extension
Walking Lunge

3 rounds

10 - 15

Rest minimal between exercises and 90-120 sec. between rounds.
Metabolic Conditioning *
Bike Sprint
Body Weight Squat
Vertical Jump

1 min
30
10

* Number of times to perform:
Week 1 3 rounds
Week 2 4 rounds
Week 3 5 rounds
Week 4 2 rounds
Week 5 4 rounds
Week 6 5 rounds
Week 7 6 rounds
Week 8 3 rounds
Week 8 5 rounds
Week 10 2 rounds

Wednesday

Exercise Wk Sets x Reps %1RM Rest
A Medicine Ball Throw,
wall slams
3 x 10
B Push Press 1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
5 x 4
5 x 5
5 x 6
3 x 3
5 x 3
6 x 3
3 x 3
3 x 2
3 x 3
Test Max
80%
80%
80%
90%
90%
90%
95%
100%
100%
75 sec.
90 sec.
2 min.
2 min.
2 min.
90 sec.
90 sec.
2 min.
2 min.
C1 Superslow Eccentric
Push Press *
lower the bar in 6 seconds, especially from forehead to clavicle
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
5 x 4
5 x 5
5 x 6
3 x 3
5 x 3
6 x 3
3 x 3
3 x 2
3 x 3
None
60%
60%
60%
70%
70%
70%
75%
80%
80%
30 sec.
30 sec.
30 sec.
30 sec.
30 sec.
30 sec.
30 sec.
30 sec.
30 sec.
C2 Overhead Medicine Ball Throw * 1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
5 x 5
5 x 5
5 x 5
3 x 8
5 x 8
6 x 8
3 x 10
3 x 12
3 x 15
None
90 sec.
90 sec.
90 sec.
90 sec.
90 sec.
90 sec.
90 sec.
90 sec.
90 sec.
D Bent-Over Barbell Row
torso parallel to the floor
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
4 x 6-8
4 x 6-8
4 x 6-8
2 x 6-8
4 x 6-8
5 x 6-8
6 x 6-8
3 x 6-8
2 x 6-8
None
75 sec.
75 sec.
75 sec.
60 sec.
60 sec.
60 sec.
45 sec.
45 sec.
45 sec.
E Lat Pulldown * * 1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
4 x 6-8
4 x 6-8
4 x 6-8
2 x 6-8
4 x 6-8
5 x 6-8
6 x 6-8
3 x 6-8
2 x 6-8
None
75 sec.
75 sec.
75 sec.
60 sec.
60 sec.
60 sec.
45 sec.
45 sec.
45 sec.

* C1 and C2 are a contrast superset. Perform one set of C1, rest 30 seconds, perform a set of C2, rest 90 seconds and start over.
* * This movement utilizes the double progression method. That means your goal is to do 6-8 reps on all your sets using the same weight. If you can complete 8 reps on all your sets, you increase the weight by 5, 10, or even 20 pounds at the next workout. If you do something like 8, 8, 7, 6, that's fine, but it means that you keep the same weight during the next session.

Thursday

Circuits Sets Reps Details
Upper Body Pump 1
Dumbbell Lateral Raise
Lying Dumbbell Triceps Extension
Dumbbell Shoulder Press

3 rounds

12 - 15

Rest minimal between exercises and 90-120 sec. between rounds.
Upper Body Pump 2
Lat Pulldown, wide behind neck
Lat Pulldown, wide in front
Lat Pulldown, hands supinated as in chin-up position

3 rounds

12 - 15

Rest minimal between exercises and 90-120 sec. between rounds.
Metabolic Conditioning *
Rowing Ergometer
Push-Up

500 m.
10

* Number of times to perform:
Week 1 3 rounds
Week 2 4 rounds
Week 3 5 rounds
Week 4 2 rounds
Week 5 4 rounds
Week 6 5 rounds
Week 7 6 rounds
Week 8 3 rounds
Week 8 5 rounds
Week 10 2 rounds

Friday (Optional Session)

Circuit Sets Reps Details
Medley *
Farmer's Walk or
Prowler Pushing
Walk Back
Sprint
There's no rest between activies (the active rest is the walk to the start line for the sprints). After the sprint you rest 90 seconds.

* Number of times and distance to perform:
Week 1 5 rounds 50yd.
Week 2 6 rounds 50yd.
Week 3 7 rounds 50yd.
Week 4 5 rounds 60yd.
Week 5 6 rounds 60yd.
Week 6 7 rounds 60yd.
Week 7 5 rounds 70yd.
Week 8 6 rounds 70yd.
Week 8 7 rounds 70yd.
Week 10 Off

Saturday

Exercise Wk Sets x Reps %1RM Rest
A Power Clean from the Hang 1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
10 x 3
10 x 3
10 x 3
5 x 5
5 x 5
5 x 5
3 x 3
3 x 3
3 x 3
Test Max
80%
80%
80%
90%
90%
90%
95%
100%
100%
75 sec.
90 sec.
2 min.
2 min.
2 min.
90 sec.
90 sec.
2 min.
2 min.
Whole Body Power Complex *
B1 Dumbbell Lateral Raise 5 70% 30 sec.
B2 Box Jump, shoot for a 20" box 10 30 sec.
B3 Overhead Medicine Ball Throw, push press action 10 30 sec.
B4 Broad Jump 10 30 sec.
B5 Medicine Ball Slam 10 30 sec.
Circuits Sets Reps Details
Metabolic Conditioning
Bike Sprint
Rowing Ergometer
Push-Up

1 min
250 m.
10
Perform as many times as possible in a 12-minute time frame. Try to increase your workload every week.

* Number of times to perform:
Week 1 3 rounds
Week 2 4 rounds
Week 3 5 rounds
Week 4 2 rounds
Week 5 4 rounds
Week 6 5 rounds
Week 7 6 rounds
Week 8 3 rounds
Week 8 5 rounds
Week 10 2 rounds

Can I Add Cardio?

Old habits die hard. Women tend to hold on to the belief that cardio – the steady-state moderate intensity version – is the best way to get leaner. You really don't need it with this program!

Sure, women can benefit from cardio more than men when it comes to getting leaner. They tend to have more vascularization in their lower body and the cardio helps them mobilize lower body fat. Women are also less at risk of losing muscle from doing cardio compared to men.

This program will get you lean without cardio, but include some if you enjoy it. Just don't do anything more than 15 minutes of steady-state cardio or seven minutes of interval training 2-3 times a week at first. Less is better.

Related:  More Articles for T Nation Women

Only consider adding more cardio at the mid-point of the program, when your body is used to the workload or if fat loss slows.

If you decide to add extra cardio at the mid-point of the program, do so gradually. Don't go crazy and add an hour every day! Even with my competitive figure girls I limit cardio to 30 minutes per session (at the most).

What Supplements Do You Recommend?

Lat Pulldown

If you're serious about changing your body, proper supplements are a must. By allowing you to train harder and recover faster, you'll get the most out of your workouts.

I recommend 1 or 2 servings of Plazma™ around your workout (half of it 15 minutes pre-workout, half at the mid-point of the session) and 1 serving of Mag-10® after the session.

Those who are really serious should add another serving of Mag-10® an hour after the first.

Getting the best workout nutrition will allow you to cut carbs during the rest of the day without losing muscle mass while enhancing recovery and performance and still burning fat.

The figure girl who is pictured earlier in the article made significant progress when she started using Micro-PA™ and Indigo-3G®.

She was able to keep building muscle and strength even during the last weeks of her prep when competitors are known to be at their weakest and most tired.

Micro-PA™ will allow you to build more muscle and recover faster.

Indigo-3G® will allow you to store more of the ingested nutrients in muscle instead of fat cells. It will also reduce fat cell inflammation, which often results in a rapid drop in weight My figure athlete dropped 3 pounds within 4 days of starting Indigo-3G and she was less than 10% body fat at that point.

The Head-Turning Benefits

This program will add muscle in the areas that make the female body look its best: An athletic appearance that turns heads.

It's not going to be easy, though. Like any program based on changing the way your body looks, you have to get out of your comfort zone to get impressive results. This is especially true with the met-con sessions where you should go as hard as humanly possible.

08/18/14